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(back to Music Travel)
Main Dock, Waldo Point Harbour, Sausalito
Otis Redding wrote his biggest hit, Sitting on the Dock of the Bay, while living in a houseboat moored just across the bay from San Francisco. Sadly, Redding died in a plane crash before the song was released.
Candlestick Park / 3Com Park (off Highway 101)
The Beatles performed their very last public concert at this Stadium (if their short rooftop performance documented in the movie Let It Be is not counted). The stadium is the home ground for football team, the San Francisco Giants
Monterey County Fairgrounds (2004 Fairgrounds Rd, Monterey)
The San Francisco music scene had been quietly developing since the mid 60s. The Monterey Festival was organised to help bring the new music of the west coast to a nation wide audience. The organisers included global musical leaders like Paul Simon and Paul McCartney.
Fifty thousand people attended the 3 day festival in June 1967, to see the cream of San Francisco and LA talent, as well as relative unknowns like The Who and Jimi Hendrix (the festival marked Hendrix’s triumphant return to the USA after 8 months of sky rocketing success in Europe).
The festival was a great success, and the music industry began to pay a great deal of attention to the west coast music scene (which some commentators see as the beginning of the end for that scene)
The band members shared this house from 1983 to 1986, while they rehearsed material for their early records in the garage.
Altamount Speedway (17001 Midway Road, Livermore)
The Rolling Stones had planned a gigantic free concert at the Golden Gate Park in December 1969, as a gesture of thanks to their fans at the end of their US tour. The line up for the day included The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Crosby Stills Nash and Young (fresh from their Woodstock triumph), Santana, and of course, the Stones.
However, there were problems right from the start: the city council would not let the band use the park and alternatives were hard to find. With only a day to go, construction of a stage started at the Altamont Speedway. But the real problems were in the choice of security: the Hells Angels were romanticised as noble outlaws by some hippie idealists; perfect for keeping order among their fellow hippie outlaws.
However, on the day of the concert, the Angels revealed themselves as a poor choice; they intimidated and beat the bands and the 400,000 strong audience into submission, and killed one young fan. Limp pleas from the stage asking them to “cool it” were laughed off by the Angels.
The Altamont concert quickly became a powerful symbol as the anti-Woodstock. It showed the dark side of hippy ideals of liberty and anarchy; whereas Woodstock demonstrated the power of young people to operate as a viable and peaceful community (even in the chaos of a badly organised event), Altamont showed that that the same community had no defense against the darker forces of human personality.
Even a few dozen hells angels were able to pillage and murder without resistance from almost half a million onlookers. Together with the Manson murders in LA a couple of months previously, Altamont effectively killed off the hippie dream.
The Speedway is located near the intersection of Interstate 5 South and 580 East. It is now lonely and deserted, and is surrounded by “no trespassing” signs.
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