On an especially warm August evening 6,000 people milled in and around the Los Angeles Greek Theater. We went into the small park next to the amphitheater and talked and walked and laughed until we found a nice place to spread our blanket. The lawn had just been mowed and with the surrounding eucalpytus [sic] trees' smell, it was hard to tell this was Los Angeles.
The four of us shared two loaves of shepherd's bread, four squares of imported cheeses and a gallon of wine, while the sun became lost over the hills.
Later we entered the theater and waited for Joni Mitchell to sing to us under the stars. She sang and played her meloncholy [sic] and happy songs for just over an hour and disappeared behind the side curtain. She was brought back a couple of times and finally the clapping died away.
Before us now were three guitars standing behind stools. And then "they" walked out into the warm air, tuned, adjusted and burst forth with:
"It's getting to the point, where I'm no fun anymore..."
For so long they played happily together and even more together when the fourth friend was brought on. A fine and unique debut for a city from a group of friends. Altogether they would play:
"Helplessly hoping her harlequin hovers nearby..."
Paired up they would play:
"Guinnevere had green eyes, m'lady like yours.."
Alone they would play:
"Black Queen, don't you know, can't beat aces all in a row..."
"I am a child, I'll last awhile, you can't conceive of the pleasure in my smile..."
They joked and played and had a good time. After a short break they came back with electricity, volume and more showmanship. A 30-minute " Down By the River" ended the "star" filled night, plus 6,000 smiling screams. And all along they were setting a precedent for the other shows.
Many more shows followed, concerts resembling, if not duplicating the format of that summer night. So different and really entertaining. They caught on fast and became the year's phenomenon. Everyone knew them or knew of them.
Material grew and so did the image. Another studio representation was disappointing. Or was it? Ask the throngs. Ultimately they had to play to Los Angeles again. They played once in December but that wasn't like a summer evening under the starry sky - all cold and bundled inside UCLA's Pauley Pavillion [sic]. It had been so long. The town was starved for them.
Finally Jack Kent Cooke and his place obliged to two 20,000 fan-packed nights in June. How could that "blimp hanger" compare to the intimacy of almost a year before? Oh no.
So there everyone was. All those trillions who had picked up on this group over the months had forced them into a blimp hanger. Oh no.
Before us now were three guitars standing behind stools. And then they walked out into the air-conditioned, unintimate atmosphere, tuned, adjusted and burst forth with: " It's getting to the point, where I'm no fun anymore..."
Just like before in the summer, it was so nice. Friends. They talked more now: a little more sure of themselves, a little more polished, but still informal. The fourth "brother" was introduced and they played their newest songs.
Again they took a break to come back and electrify everyone. The impact was almost indescribable.
Gradually, the Forum roof top disappeared, as did the massive walls. I was soon in their living room, at their feet, smiling, listening, clapping. I saw the stars in a warm summer night, smelled the new mowed lawn and eucalyptus trees. I drank the wine.
It was just "Four Way Street."
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Added to Library on March 15, 2019. (2880)
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