“Where Were You?” Talking Heads at San Francisco Civic Center [December 6, 1983]

 

This post concerns a group that I had wanted to see for years, but who did not pass through Kentucky throughout the 70’s, so it would only happen after I moved to the West Coast. I had not seen any ads, at the time, that they performed, to the north, at my fave club there – Bogart’s – in Cincinnati, until it was much too late.

This would be one of the many larger concerts that I would have to sneak my camera into, especially once I would start attending shows in the SF Bay Area, and so, these images were captured from a distance, well back in the very enthusiastic audience.  Luckily, I was attending with a small “circle” of friends, who actually formed a small circle for me for the duration of the show, so as to prevent the occasional dancers who would be bouncing in every direction, at certain moments during the performance, from crashing into me while I was attempting to focus on a shot…. Fred & Candace, I owe you, “big time” for arranging that, and so much more!

 

Little did anyone know that this show would be less than a week before the late director, Jonathan Demme Robert Jonathan Demme at Wikipedia, filmed three successive nights in Los Angeles, at the Pantages Theatre Pantages Theatre at Wikipedia. Anyone who is familiar with the concert film of the Talking Heads’ “Stop Making Sense”, knows that the band started the performance with one-member-at-a-time coming on stagebeginning with David Byrne and his acoustic guitar. This was a very effective device, as it allowed for the group to perform a nice cross-section of their work, starting with stripped-down numbers, and building the energy and anticipation of what would come next, as they eventually started to dip into their most recent release, “Speaking in Tongues”. 

 

The album was a very strong release, as everything had been, up to that point in time, in my humble opinion.  I even picked up the special edition of the lp; a collaboration in design, with the artist Robert Rauschenberg Talking Heads and Robert Rauschenberg. While no longer owning that edition of the lp, I still routinely listen to their catalog, up through the live release of this tour, “Stop Making Sense”.

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Chris Frantz & David Byrne horizontal Co

Michael Conen - [PROOF] David Byrne & acoustic vertical Color LG

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Tina Weymouth & green bass vertical Colo

 

 

Once Jerry Harrison had made it onto stage, the auxilliary members of the group also lent their voices and musical talents to the complete band sound. I managed to capture images of nearly everyone, except the extra guitarist, Alex Weir Alex Weir bio at Wikipedia, and unfortunately, no clear images of the late Bernie Worrell Bernie Worrell official, of P-Funk renown, on keyboards P. Funk discography link

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Jerry Harrison, Edna Holt & Lynn Mabry h

Edna Holt and Lynn Mabry provided backing vocals 

Edna Holt assisting David Byrne on vocals, and Steve Scales in the background, adding percussion, while Tina Weymouth is in the bright foreground.

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Tina Weymouth, Edna Holt & Lynn Mabry ho

Tina Weymouth, Edna Holt and Lynn Mabry

Backing vocalist Edna Holt appears in both of the above snapshots.

David Byrne at different points during the show.

Michael Conen - [PROOF] David Byrne leans into the light LG [Tal

David Byrne leans toward the footlights

Edna Holt sings alongside Tina Weymouth, on the left, while Bernie Worrell appears to look for visual cues from David Byrne.

Michael Conen - [PROOF] David Byrne at mic eyes closed [Talking

Michael Conen - [PROOF] David Byrne & electric profile Color no

Michael Conen - [PROOF] David Byrne & electric singing Color no

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Tina Weymouth big eyes, Edna Holt & Lynn

Edna Holt and Lynn Mabry sing while Tina Weymouth appears alarmed at something

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Lynn Mabry vertical color LG [Talking He

Lynn Mabry, a very active session vocalist, and former member of the Brides of Funkenstein, a P-Funk satellite group, if I can call it that?

Lynn Mabry, seen in the above image, has had quite a career Lynn Mabry at Wikipedia.  Even today, she is quite active in the music community, in the SF/Oakland Bay Area Sheila Escovedo & Lynn Mabry’s “Elevate Hope” Foundation.

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Edna Holt & Lynn Mabry horizontal LG [Ta

Edna Holt and Lynn Mabry

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Jerry Harrison, Edna Holt & Lynn Mabry h

Jerry Harrison, Edna Holt & Lynn Mabry

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Tina Weymouth and electric bass closeup

Michael Conen - [PROOF] David Byrne dances with lamp horizontal

Michael Conen - [PROOF] David Byrne dancing with lamp vertical L

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Jerry Harrison, Edna Holt, Lynn Mabry &

Jerry Harrison, Edna Holt, Lynn Mabry and David Byrne

And to end the series of photos, one that was hanging on the wall in the small second-hand record store that I was employed at, for a number of years, when David Byrne happened to come in, to have a peek at some international records.  He apparently was a little nervous at being recognized, and did not stay long. As it turned out, he came back the next day, when I wasn’t on duty, and made his purchase.  Missed my chance to ask him if he liked the image or not……

Michael Conen - [PROOF] David Byrne running in place LG [Talking

I hope to have another set or two of shows to post, in the coming weeks, if time permits.  Constructive criticism is always welcome, concerning my work. Should you have questions, please write me at

michaelconen@tutanota.com

NOTE:  A FEW WORDS ABOUT THE WATERMARKS ON MY WORK

While many of you who arrive here, to look at these photographs may get turned off to my use of watermarks [thinking they ruin the image], let me explain why I choose to do this.

No one paid for my camera equipment but me. No one paid for the film I used to take these photographs.  On occasion, when I free-lanced for a free monthly newsletter, and they published a photo of mine, the payment for each photograph barely paid for the fuel to get my vehicle to the show [when I *did* have a vehicle], and the film I used on that night. 

Not too many of my photos were published, at the time, because the artists I chose to capture images of, were not hugely popular then.  Hence, the old dictum, “Supply and Demand”; I had the supply, but the demand [pre-Internet], was not there. You can argue the relative merits of the quality of my work, and that is precisely what a blog offers:  a venue for discussion.

Back to the watermarks: no one is subsidizing my time to scan and then clean up the images I am presenting here. Start to finish, each negative will take approximately an hour-and-a-half to reach “proof” quality – which is what you will see here.  This is my labor of love, and until there is some measurable return on my efforts, what you see is what you get.

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