Nov 5, 2010

Mahavishnu memories

It was your typical high school road trip. Four of us piled into Mullie Mulligan's convertible and hit the southbound Northway lane from Saratoga, bound for that dangersous (to us sheltered types, at least) rat cave known as Troy. Our mission? The still under-the-radar J Geils Band was in town, fresh off their early Full House release. It was time to boogy.

Of course, the two great Unwritten Rules of the day were in effect:

1) If more than three kids were in each others' company at any given moment, it required the lighting-up of funny looking cigarettes;


2) If that event involved an automobile, and the expected travel time was in excess of ten minutes, cheap beer would be served.

Not ones to break established protocol, we were in full compliance. Upon arrival at the old RPI Armory, we walked into this warmup act (see video below):

Being too young, drunk and stupid to quite get it, we shrugged them off, wandering around to check out the girls in the room. After all, we were there to rock and roll. This clip is of the original lineup; the same five who played in Troy on that very night. Rest assured, however, that I got caught up to the Mahavishnu Orchestra a few years later.

After the show (which also included the newly solo Peter Frampton, believe it or not, we somehow ended up at Charlies's Hot Dogs for a round of killing off the munchies. There, we ran into a wild eyed dude who HAD gotten the whole Mahavishnu thing, and was rambling on and on and on about the experience. My only reaction to him was simply: "how many of those hot dogs do you get for a dollar?"

I had an Art History major pal of mine later on in college. He caught a later version of the band during summer break (Central Park in NYC), and came back declaring they were the "most creative expression of humanity -- ever." Now that's quite the review, eh? He soon thereafter quit school and emabarked on a musical career of his own.

Another long lost buddy was seeking a private instructor for bass lessons years later, and dialed up a number he found in the Village Voiceclassifieds. It was Rick Laird, from the Mahavishnu.

The Mahavishnu Orchestra, taking us into the weekend...

1 comment:

Whammer Jammer said...

They were the most far-out stuff I heard in all my college years.

When you first hear them you go "what's this shit?" But, like you said, eventually you GET IT.

Billy Cobham is the greatest drummer ever.

That must have been a strange show, with Frampton, Mahavishnu, Geils all together. It's like a random number egenrator was used to pick the bands,