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Chapter 28 - HUMPHREY'S

'Humphrey's' is a very unique venue and I always look forward to playing there. It's a typical sprawling California style two-story complex with walkways through the beautifully maintained gardens and a huge courtyard in the center which is turned into a concert venue every summer. The courtyard is equipped at one end with a large outdoor stage, while hotel rooms at the other end and on one side of the courtyard wall it in. The remaining side is open to the local marina and San Diego harbor. This is also an area where the local yachtsmen come to anchor their boats and catch the concerts for free. Well, it's not exactly free; first you have to go out and buy a yacht!

Anyway, as luck would have it, I had a great second story room, with a huge balcony, at the other end of the courtyard and it had a perfect view of the stage. It was way better than a box seat. Michele and I could watch the show that evening from the comfort of our balcony with no driving, no lines and no parking hassles. Plus, how many times do you have room service available during a concert? Too cool!

The concert that night was a double bill, Sam Moore, of "Sam&Dave" R&B fame, and 'Taj Mahal and his Hawaiian Blues band.' So in addition to having two wonderful days in San Diego with Michele, we were getting the extra treat of a great concert right outside our room. And since I'm a big R&B fan it made the evening even more special.

Michele finally arrived at about noon; she had called me on her cell phone just a few minutes before she got there so I could meet her in the lobby. There I was, standing in the lobby like a schoolboy, anxiously waiting for his Christmas present to walk through the door. I won't go into what happened next, I'll just say that Michele and I finally had lunch at around three in the afternoon. I'm sure your imagination can fill in the rest. Like I said, the reunions are absolutely amazing!

I had called McEntee and Photoglo and invited them up to see the show from the balcony with Michele and me. The San Diego climate was perfect for an outdoor concert, especially when you could catch it all from your balcony while relaxing in a lounge chair and sipping a Gin & Tonic with friends. Of course, it was quite ironic that, of all things, we would choose to attend a concert on our day off. A Busman's holiday, I know, but still a genuine pleasure.

It was almost sunset when the show started and Sam Moore hit the stage. It was really a treat to hear him singing classics like "Soul Man" and "Knock on Wood." He was a little older now and had a little more gray around the temples but when you closed your eyes, his voice sounded just like it did in the sixties when "Sam & Dave" first hit the scene. And he had no trouble in getting the audience off their butts and on their feet, they were revved up and rockin.'

Then came Taj Mahal and his Hawaiian blues band! I knew it was going to be different when Taj came out dressed in white slacks, a Hawaiian shirt and a huge white Panama hat, then greeted the audience with a big "Aloha"! Now hearing delta blues played in a Hawaiian slack style is pretty cool but I couldn't begin to explain it to you. He had a typical blues rhythm section but he also had a guy playing steel guitar and three ukulele players. Songs like "Dust My Broom" and "Diving Duck" sounded very different but somehow the musical cross pollination actually worked.

Although we thoroughly enjoyed the concert, I have to admit it felt kind of strange for us to be watching someone else perform. You get used to playing on stage every night and after a while it feels odd to be part of the audience. Of course, things would be back to normal the very next evening when it would be our turn on stage once again.


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