From the first public Mime Troupe events in 1965 to his untimely death in 1991, Bill Graham set the standard for excellence in concert presentations and in doing so, redefined the art of communication for an entire generation. To honor Bill Graham, Steve Kahn and Melissa Gold, the BGP staff organized a free concert in Golden Gate Park for Sunday, November 3. Mother Nature cooperated and provided a comfortable and cloudless day as 300,000 people gathered in the Polo Field of Golden Gate Park.
Although the Grateful Dead were expected to make an appearance, the list of performers was kept well under wraps and few had any idea who exactly would be performing. It didn't seem to matter though, as the feeling that permeated the crowd was one of quiet reflection. This concert marked the end of an era, but also memorialized Bill Graham in a manner that was fitting - a free concert in the heart of where it all started. The sad circumstances aside, this was truly a celebration of Graham's life and as the poster for this event noted, it was to be a day filled with Laughter, Love and Music.
Following Santana's set, while crew made equipment changes onstage, comedian Robin Williams took the stage, with his usual hyperkinetic energy. Williams provides his hilarious perspective on the massive gathering taking place, as well as humorous social and political commentary on current events. He thoroughly engages the audience and frequently works Bill Graham-related content into his monologue.
After Williams brief set, Peter and Bob Barsotti, who worked directly with Bill Graham for several decades, say a few words of thanks to the people involved with making this event happen, before introducing the Mayor of San Francisco, Art Agnos. Mayor Agnos' speech is brief, acknowledging Bill Graham's role as an advisor to the city, before turning the microphone back over to Jerry Pompili, who introduces the next band, Journey, to the stage.