The Vancouver Province, Saturday, 9 August 1969
Blind Faith - Rock concert
8:30 p.m. PNE Coliseum
The Vancouver Province, Monday, August 11, 1969
'Blue Meanies' restrain enthusiasm for Faith
By MICHAEL QUIGLEY
Before the Blind Faith concert Saturday night, someone must have given the Coliseum security staff an overdose of ugly pills. Now I have nothing against security at a rock concert, but in this case there seemed to be two points worth considering:
First, groups like the former Cream and the new Blind Faith aren't turn-on groups like The Beatles or The Doors which can be expected to cause riots either by taunting or just plain teen appeal.
Secondly, the security at recent rock concerts in the Agrodome hasn't been so uptight, with people sitting both in front of the stage on the floor and in the aisles, something to which the security reacted almost violently Saturday night.
In addition to acting like a mini-police force, the ushers also ran around making threats of bodily eviction to those who had committed the heinous crime of smoking and shining their flashlights in the lenses of non-press photographers who came up near stage.
Bolstering the Coliseum 'Blue Meanies' were 20 of Vancouver's finest, who were, by contrast, quite friendly. At one point, though, when they had to clear the space in front of the stage one officer, responding, apparently, to a taunt from someone behind him did take a swing at a customer hitting the kid in the back of the neck.
On stage, one of the people connected with the show commented 'That's what starts a riot.'
In spite of all the hassles, three groups were able to make their Vancouver debuts at The Coliseum.
The first, Taste, from Ireland, had established itself as a bluesy group on its first Polydor album. On stage, the most interesting musician was lead singer and guitarist Rory Gallagher, who engaged in some Jimmy Page effects as well as a musical dialogue with drummer John Wilson.
I enjoyed his sudden going on of blues passages into others containing improvised classical guitar runs, some few which were actually played soft. My main complaint about these improvisations and the group in general was the lack of tightness in their material.
Fellowing Taste were Delaney and Bonnie and Friends, a gospelly-blues white vocal duo backed by a seven-piece group. I found their music curiously unmoving, though it was delivered at a rousing pace and pitch.
My first reaction to the featured group, Blind Faith, was a bit of a shock, even though I knew well in advance that they wouldn't sound like The Cream. The crowd seemed repressed in their response to the new group until it launced [sic] into Crossroads, which provoked a rousing cheer.
One thing that Blind Faith established themselves as was that they are a group mainly for the ear rather than the eye. Their musicianship was generally outstanding, even though their material was subdued.
The result was like seeing a superb symphony orchestra performing some lesser known works supremely well.
Lead guitarist Eric Clapton was, as expected, note perfect. Most of organist Steve Winwood's work, though, seemed to be lost, except in a hymn composed by Clapton, In the Presence of the Lord, but Winwood tackled almost all the vocals with reasonable musicality.
Bass player Rich Grech gave a jazz-oriented solo in Do What You Like, and also soloed on the electric violin (which was excruciatingly loud). Ginger Baker's requisite drum solo in Do What You Like (which he wrote) convinced the crowd that Baker still remains the ultimate rock drummer, both in his unique style and techniques.
In the last number, Sunshine of Your Love, when Blind Faith was joined by Delaney and Bonnie and a couple of friends in an enthusiastic jam, the crowd finally broke through the security line, surged to the front of the stage, and gave the musicians an enthusiastic farewell.
Credit - R. Elliott Collection
Created 11 November 2000
Updated 28 June 2007