Sunday, September 25, 2011

Do You Believe in Magic? (John Sebastian)

Last night I was watching Legends of Folk: The Village Scene, a PBS special. The concerts they showed were a little before my time, but I was always into the music. Dylan. Peter Paul and Mary. Joan Baez. And then, all of a sudden, there was John Sebastian and The Lovin' Spoonful. I had been a big Beatles fan when I was young, but it really was the Spoonful who owned my soul. I'm not sure when it was that I got to see them perform at the New York Coliseum (which is now the Time Warner Center on Columbus Circle) but it was way before I picked up a camera at a concert. The highlight that day wasn't the show (which I LOVED) but when we left the Coliseum we saw the band get into a white van. And we chased that van down the street. It was such a rock and roll moment. 

So it was really no surprise when I started looking for the first rock photos I ever took and found they were of John Sebastian.

John Sebastian at the Schaefer Music Festival
Central Park, 1973
At the time, I only had a little point and shoot film camera, an Olympus Trip 35 (still living in my closet). The 40mm fixed lens didn't get me anywhere near close enough, even though I was standing at the foot of the stage. But I have to admit, I loved it. Not long after, I bought an SLR and started taking photography classes. And a year later, the second show I shot in black and white (contact sheet file number 10005)  featured John Sebastian. The photos were better, but I don't seem to have printed any of them. 

So a few more classes, and another year's summer concert series, and I get to photograph Sebastian again. This time, I'm able to get backstage (though it was before Aztec Two Step and I'm pretty sure I didn't have a photo pass-- but hey, it was John Sebastian-- and if I could chase him down 59th Street in a van with the Spoonful, I could sneak backstage) and I got this shot of him rehearsing in his trailer.

And at this show, I got a little closer (ok, longer lens.)

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