John McLauglin With Mahavishnu Orchestra (Spectrum, May 2, 1975)

John McLaughin elevates his conciousness during a guitar solo at The Spectrum. © ROGER BARONE 2009

John McLaughin elevates his conciousness during a guitar solo at The Spectrum. © ROGER BARONE 2009

Johm McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra: Spectrum, May 2, 1975

John McLaughlin’s Mahavishnu Orchestra opened up for the Jeff Beck band. The arena was configured in the  more intimate “Theater” setting. A large orange drape, spanning the width of the seating area,  sealed off the darkened backstage  area from the Flyers’ blue line back to the delivery tunnel.

The crowd was mellow, security was lax. I sat on the stage, in the shadows  just off to the side of the drummer.

Earlier in the evening, I had taken some backstage shots of McLaughin playing with a young girl, and Jeff Beck posing with my peers. Dinky Dawson, celebrated as the “sound man to the stars,” worked with McLaughin on this tour. Read his comments about the Philadelphia show:

On May 2nd, we played the Spectrum in Philadelphia. On a previous tour with the Kinks and Loggins and Messina, I had gotten into such a loud fracas with the unions that Topeka had to step in and settle the confrontation. This would be the first time back at the arena, and I felt a little nervous but resolved to hold my tongue if anything came up. Fortunately, the guys had a short memory, and my three-year-old daughter, Amanda, charmed the stagehands and teamsters with her singing and dancing. When the load-in was completed, they gave her a tour of the venue, lavishing sports swag to her delight. Even Jeff [Beck] and John [McLaughlin] were laughing as she danced with the stagehands during sound check. I was relieved! By the end of the show, they couldn’t do enough for us.

Read Dawson’s account of life on the road in “Backstage Scenes From a 1975 Tour.”

Amanda Dawson, three-year-old daughter of Dinky, is now a Harvard graduate. Amanda is pictured at The Spectrum on May 2, 1975, backstage with guitarist John Mclauglin, who is giving her a wooden toy. © ROGER BARONE 1975

Amanda Dawson, three-year-old daughter of world renowned soundman Dinky, is pictured backstage at The Spectrum on May 2, 1975. Guitarist John Mclauglin, is giving the young child a wooden toy. Amanda's mother, Nancy, is pictured on the right. Amanda Dawson is a Harvard graduate now working in the technology industry. © ROGER BARONE 1975

I found a box of John McLaughlin’s guitar picks alongside his opened guitar case. There were about 100 of them packed tightly in a clear plastic case.

They were uncomfortable to hold and difficult to use. They were white,  textureless and slippery, extra hard and unusually small with a tapered round shape, about the size  of a finger nail.

McLaughlin’s picks were some of the many special souvenirs I accumulated while working at the Spectrum. Special thanks to the Statute of Limitations!


~ by photosfromphilly on May 14, 2009.

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