I do not yet have a firm date, for this performance, but the show had to have happened on either on December 7, 1985, or April 12, 1986. Once again, my notes were not as thorough as they should have been, but I am leaning on this being the winter date, as best I can recall [until I check another source or two – not at hand, at present]. Clarification will follow…
The 10,000 Maniacs had already generated quite a bit of interest on college radio stations, such as KALX-FM, in Berkeley, by the time they appeared at the Berkeley Square, due to their independent releases from years prior, and the recently released “The Wishing Chair”, on Elektra Records.
My own curiosity had been aroused, partly due to hearing the record, but I gave it extra attention because of Joe Boyd‘s name, as producer, on this, and many other releases that I already owned and listened to, in my record collection; bands such as Fairport Convention, the Incredible String Band, Nick Drake, and the original Pink Floyd, amongst others, had already had his guiding hands as a considerable influence on bringing their talents to light, so when he became active again, in the 80’s, and especially his involvement with R.E.M.’s “Fables of the Reconstruction”, it was simply a matter of making sure I took the time to really listen to this band’s release, to see why they had impressed his tastes enough to take on the producer’s mantle with this new group.
Once more, I found myself covering this show for BAM Magazine, in my free-lance role, and all the happier to do so. Arriving early, and setting up in my preferred position at the lip of the stage, I was prepared for the usual low-lit stage, with a flash, but also took several photographs with the available lighting. The results were more or less satisfying; especially those of Natalie Merchant, under the spotlit area, at the center of the stage.
While it was a somewhat crowded stage for so many musicians, there was still plenty of room for Ms. Merchant’s spins and dances.
It would not be long after this tour, that the band would be moving into much bigger venues, and enjoying a great deal more popularity and a higher profile, thanks to appearances on mainstream television, such as the following performances:
Not long after this particular tour [pictured here, and above], John Lombardo would leave the band, and form the duo ‘John and Mary‘, and continue songwriting and collaborations, until rejoining the reformed Maniacs, quite some time after Natalie Merchant departed for her solo career.
Natalie Merchant enjoyed considerable success with a solo career, before taking a step back for some years. A bit on that can be read about, here:
An early performance, while still with the 10,000 Maniacs, which features Ms. Merchant singing simply with a piano accompaniment:
More reading material on live appearances which feature Natalie Merchant, including with the 10,000 Maniacs, can be found here:
More, on the career of the 10,000 Maniacs:
As always, constructive criticism or questions are welcome. You can contact me at email@example.com if you’d rather not leave a comment on this page.
- 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.