Dave Lee on the best show he ever saw, and his brush with greatness with Etta James

It was in the Spring of 1977 in LA.  

Dave Lee
October 30, 2018 - 2:53 pm

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What is among the best musical performances you have ever seen?  That was the start of an interesting conversation among friends recently.  

As you consider what might rank as among the best or, the best, I will reflect on one of mine.

My standout was the spring of 1977 in LA.  A couple friends and I were at the NBC studio, having just been at a taping of the Tonight Show.  After the Tonight show, someone working on the “The Midnight Special,” a live performance show that aired during the 70s and 80s, approached us and asked if we wanted to come in for the taping.  Having absolutely no responsibility at the time and a matching amount of money, we asked if it was free. Yes, they replied, they just needed bodies and requested that when we applaud and asked that we sit on the floor and put our hands over our heads so the audience would seem larger. (They already had us at free!)  

We had no idea that we were about to see, but it still counts as one of the most memorable performances I ever witnessed.  The performers were a list of legends: George Benson, Van Morrison, Etta James, Dr. John, Carlos Santana and Tom Scott.

We were off to our right in front of the stage, when the legendary Etta James approached the steps.  I rose to assist her up the stairs and when I reached out my arm, security said they would do it. I obliged and sat down.  When she walked on stage she came over to me and said, “Thank you anyway, young man!” A brush with greatness.

A YouTube embed of to that very performance is included here.   As you watch, think about one of your favorites and let us know about it on our Facebook page. By the way, there is no right or wrong answer because it is your experience.  It doesn’t even have to be a favorite band, in fact, as sometimes the best performances are unexpected. Now, see what you think of this: