Madison Reunion part 2

Yesterday I posted about an upcoming concert. This harkens back to my youth when some concert became (usually after the fact) the concert of the year. (For example: April 29, 1975, Bonnie Raitt at the Capitol Theatre. Between songs, someone came out on stage and whispered in her ear. She went on to sing one more song and then announced “Saigon has fallen!” The party went on for hours after the concert ended. Or the night in 1970 the Jefferson Airplane played the Field House, then turned up at the Nitty Gritty to play all night.) I expect this week’s concert to become one of those.

The concert is just part of a bigger commemoration of 1968. 1968 was a turning point. We had “Prague Spring“, the rise of the Situationist International in France, LBJ choosing not to run for re-election as president and Gene McCarthy as the front runner for a time. Martin Luther King, Jr and Robert Kennedy were assassinated.

Mexico City was the site of the Olympic Games, boycotted by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the greatest college basketball player in the US. Sprinters John Carlos and Tommie Smith were at the forefront of statements by US athletes at the games.  Judges appeared to give a gold medal to a Russian gymnast to keep a Czech from winning all of the gymnastics gold. Czech gymnast Věra Čáslavská was an outspoken critic of the Soviet invasion and staged her own podium protest, looking down and away when the Soviet anthem was played. Unlike Smith and Carlos, her country did not ban her from the remainder of the games.

Prior to the Games, a Mexican student protest movement was crushed when hundreds were massacred by government troops, in an action that included troops killing other troops in an effort to place the blame on the students.

1968 also saw the Tet offensive, considered by many to be the turning point in the war.

The Yippies (Youth International Party) arrived on the scene in 1968, running Pigasus (an actual pig) for US president. The movie “Wild in the Streets” arrived in 1968, lampooning the youth movement with the slogan “14 or fight”, an effort by the fictional movement to lower the voting age.

The year saw student strikes worldwide and enough actions around the globe to spawn its own Wikipedia page. It saw  the maturation of a movement in Madison, Wisconsin that had been sparked by the Dow demonstrations in October of ’67. To many, it looked like a return of the European Revolution of 1848,  which I learned about from the great Harvey Goldberg (and to bring cycling into this somewhere, it was at a Harvey Goldberg lecture that I first met Rosebud, my riding partner of the past 45+ years).

The Madison Reunion will also include several panel discussions with a who’s who of local luminaries. If I weren’t riding my bike across the country, I’d be trying to get the week off to go to panels, find old friends, and drink beer on the terrace.People-on-Memorial-Union-Terrace-in-Madison-Wisconsin-000085093295_Medium

Madison Reunion

If you are not in a hotel in Seattle Friday night, as I will be, check out the concert of the summer in Madison, Wisconsin.

Ben and Judy Sidran (p.s. That was a photo of Ben and their son Leo on the Union Terrace in last week’s post) are planning a little party, and you’re invited. There will be workshops and other stuff, but on Friday night there will be a reunion of a legendary band. (OK, never mind. I just looked at the seating chart on February 23 and it is nearly sold out already – back of the balcony only. If you don’t have a ticket by the time this goes on line you will be a few months too late.)

The reunion band includes Boz Scaggs and Ben Sidran (who were in The Ardells with Steve Miller and others before moving to San Francisco [though not all at the same time] as the Steve Miller Band), as well as Tracy Nelson of the Fabulous Imitations, who moved to San Francisco and formed Mother Earth, then moved to Tennessee and stayed there, though occasionally coming home for Christmas and blessing us with a show. Tracy is best known for her song “Down So Low”

(though I have  soft spot for her version of Memphis Slim’s Mother Earth, featuring Mike Bloomfield on guitar and Mark Naftalin on piano).

(And for Memphis Slim songs, I can’t resist “Celeste Boogie”. Who else plays boogie-woogie on celesta?)

I recently learned that Down So Low was written about her break up with Steve Miller.

So those other guys…I’ve always thought of Ben Sidran as the poor man’s Mose Allison

(though maybe less cynical), though he also co-wrote Steve Miller’s “Space Cowboy”. He has worked mostly in jazz and once hosted an NPR jazz show. He’s written a few books and earned a PhD in England.

Boz Scaggs went on to a solo career.

So all these folks are gonna be on one stage together and I’ll miss it. The promo materials say “and others” so who knows? Some of the folks from back then are no longer with us, but a few surprises are probably in store. Someone tell me all about it – either when I get home in two months, in the comments below, or call me Saturday morning, since I’ll still be hanging out in a Seattle hotel.

I ws going to say more about this reunion, so I think we’ll accelerate the pace in this final week before we hit the road and post again tomorrow.