The John Fahey concert Friday night was, as expected, well worth the price of admission. What was not expected, however, was that there would be an abortive attempt to make what would amount to musical history for Santa Barbara - Joni Mitchell almost played in Robertson Gym!
Arriving late for his engagement, David Blue brought along a friend or two, including Joni Mitchell, John Hartman (manager of Eagles, Jackson Browne and Blue) and Elliot Roberts (manager of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, and partner in Asylum Records).
Hartman upon arrival asked Jim Curnutt and the A.S. Concerts Committee for a piano for Joni Mitchell to use. However, Peg Armstrong of Arts and Lectures refused to authorize the use of the Campbell Hall grand piano, terming Joni Mitchell's performing "not serious music." However, permission to cut the locks on the piano was finally obtained through Kati Perry, coordinator of facilities. By the time the piano was moved into place, Fahey's road manager had refused to allow Mitchell to perform although she had only planned to appear as a surprise guest with David Blue. In the flurry of exchanges backstage between Fahey's management and Blue's friends, it soon became obvious that Mitchell would not play for the Campbell Hall audience.
When Blue finally appeared, he established himself as an adequate guitarist and a good pianist. Following his well-received set, Fahey entered without a word and began his always-great guitar playing. Rising to the occasion, Fahey quickly overcame the back-stage encounter and proceeded to complete a serious set of guitar.
"It's too bad things happened the way they did," said Curnutt after the show." It would have been nice to have Joni Mitchell play with David Blue."
Curnutt expressed his thanks to Kati Perry, the Campus Police and UCSB firemen for "helping to liberate the piano during this incredible Friday night." He also announced that tickets are now on sale for the Nov. 11 Hot Tuna concert at the UCen booth and Morningglory Music.
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