John Sebastian - acoustic guitar, vocals, harmonica
Originally, Sebastian was booked to open a three night run for Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Tragically, on September 30th, a few days prior to the beginning of this run, David Crosby's girlfriend, Christine Hinton was killed in a car accident. Crosby was understandably distraught and unable to perform, so at the last minute, the shows were postponed for mid-November. With the exception of Thursday night October 2, three replacement shows were held that weekend but were moved to the smaller Fillmore West venue. John Sebastian opened these shows as originally scheduled, with replacement artists filling in as headliners.
Having recently dissolved his partnership with the very successful mid-1960's band, the Lovin' Spoonful, John Sebastian's solo career received an unexpected kick-start in August of 1969, at the legendary Woodstock Festival. Sebastian had been living in a tent on the Grateful Dead's ranch at the time, writing new songs that would eventually comprise his first solo album and as is obvious from any photos of him from that era, learning all about tie-dying techniques from the Dead's family and friends.
These sets, recorded approximately six weeks after Woodstock, capture Sebastian at the transitional point of becoming a solo artist. Some of his new songs that would soon be recorded for his first solo album are performed including "Magical Connection" and "Red-Eye Express," but he was also performing many of his more introspective later period Lovin' Spoonful songs, as well as stripped down solo acoustic renditions of some of their most popular hits.
Sebastian's introductions to songs and between-song monologues are often just as entertaining as the songs themselves. As these sets so clearly demonstrate, he had a lot of stage presence and an innate ability to relate to the audience on a personal level. The popularity phase of singer-songwriters in popular music was still a year or two away from taking hold, but Sebastian was there at the beginning. These sets not only bring back feelings of a long lost era, but clearly show him to be one of the most charismatic and captivating singer-songwriter's to emerge from a commercially successful 1960's band.