Sunday, July 6, 2008

When I was 17 ...

I can hardly believe it was 30 years ago this month that I went with my then boyfriend Tony and his friend Lester (known as ‘Mo’) by train into the depths of Surrey for the now legendary ‘Picnic at Blackbushe’.

It was July 15th 1978. I was 17. The show featured Eric Clapton, Joan Armatrading, Graham Parker and the Rumour amongst others, and was headlined by Dylan - my hero (he hadn’t yet turned to God - that happened in ’79).

Yes, thats me in the black t shirt. Playing with my camera, not rolling a joint!

I was so happy I managed to get the tickets. The fact that he had not toured in the UK since 1966 apart from a one off at the Isle of Wight in 1969 meant that there was huge interest. I had tried to go to the Earl’s Court gig the month before but they sold out within hours -the queues seemed to stretch across London.

The enormous crowd made it difficult to see the stage, the wind was blowing the sound around, (there were no large video screens in those days), finding your way to the loo and back was a dangerous mission and it took several hours to get out of the site due to lack of organisation. Still it was an amazing experience, my first large music festival and the camaraderie in the audience was fantastic.

Blackbushe remains the largest crowd Dylan has ever played to, at around 200,000+ and he performed a huge set that went throughout the evening comprising 34 songs. This was to be, although we didn’t know it, one of the last appearances of “Dylan-as-we-knew-him” as later that year in the USA he picked up a cross thrown onstage and therein began another chapter in his musical direction.

Many of the posters at ‘Expecting Rain’ must be younger Bobfans as they sometimes say things like “I’ve heard about Blackbushe, cos my uncle was there and he said it was magic” etc

I still have the ticket and programme. Recently, due to the wonders of the net, I managed to find a reasonable sounding bootleg recording of the Dylan set and downloaded it to my ipod. Reliving my 17th summer - in NZ 30 years on.

Here’s another view of the day.

This link has more info about the gig, and a photo gallery with quite a few pics of Bob in his top hat

1 comment:

Peter said...

Ha. I remember you looking like that!