This is almost certainly from the first time I attempted to take photos at Rupp Arena. I would not manage many, before being stopped by security, as I was roaming to find a suitable spot to focus my recently purchased Canon AE-1 & Komuranon Telephoto Zoom lens from. It served the purpose of making me somewhat familiar with where I could manage to wander to, including the walkway which would nearly circle back behind the stage area; this would prove to be a “sweet spot” to get a few nice shots of the entire group performing, at times. In this case, I wound up getting the backs of the performers – for the most part – but also a range of faces from the reserved seats, down in front. Also noticeable, looking back, is the fact that the images reveal how the “dressings” of the areas behind the stage, and along the entrance ways on the main floor, were somewhat minimal – you can also see the glow of the brightly lit signs hanging from the rafters in one shot, as well as the portable roll-out bleacher seats, stacked up against the wall, behind the stage, for the University of Kentucky basketball games.

These were the times when I still had a good-sized number of singer-songwriter albums in my collection, along with the various other genres to be found within those wooden melon-crates they were kept in. Over the course of the previous years, I had acquired the first CSN album; the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young album, “Deja Vu“; David Crosby’s “If I Could Only Remember My Name”; Graham Nash’s “Wild Tales”; and numerous Neil Young LP’s. I am still very fond of those aforementioned Crosby & Nash solo recordings, and also had the Jefferson Starship “Blows Against the Empire” album, which I feel is an underappreciated gem from those days, and featured collaborations with Mr. Crosby, as well as Jerry Garcia, and several others from the northern California music scenes…. Others, from those days, that I also owned LPs by, included Jesse Winchester, Valerie Carter, John Prine, Jackson Browne, Joni Mitchell, Dan Fogelberg, Laura Nyro, Bonnie Raitt, Gram Parsons, Emmylou Harris, Van Morrison, Gene Clark, Shawn Phillips, and of course, Dylan. My buddies, Gary and Greg had numerous other recordings by these same artists, and others, which we collectively listened to, up until the mid-70‘s, when we started to go our separate ways. This exercise in recalling artists that I owned recordings of, at that time, is not even crossing the Atlantic and delving into the numerous artists from the British Isles that I was also heavily interested in [or the Country, Folk & Blues artists in those crates, either!] …

The impressions of this performance that stay with me, were that I was becoming further soured by seeing artists perform in such large venues – if you did not have seats near enough to see what model of guitar that was printed on the head stock of the one the performer was using, and / or the sound was echoing off every wall or metal surface, it was surely not going to be an enjoyable experience. Rare, was the occasion, when the performance and / or sound would transcend those impediments; and this evening would not rise above the sound mix, to begin with. There were moments, to be sure, where the song or singing would elevate matters, but I have to admit that I enjoyed seeing Stills-Young Band, at Riverfront Coliseum [a venue I always hated to go to], the year before, a lot more NOTE: Thank you, John, Tom & Wigham for great memories of that evening!

It was about the same point in time that my musical horizons would be forever changed, when an old high school buddy – “Mike Mac” – returned from the service in Germany, with an armload of new releases under his arms. It would not be long before I would start attending shows in much smaller venues, to see an upcoming crop of new talent. For the time being, these large shows would serve as my apprenticeship; working out how to – and how “not to” – use that new camera of mine. One early discovery was that I had to ignore the automatic light meter readings that the camera would show me. I would learn to use it to see whether it registered “enough” light for whatever ISO rating the film I was using would allow [factoring in the “pushing” of the black & white films, in order to get more imagery, while sacrificing that it would mean less detail, and more grain, most of the time]. I was also still using the mounted flash unit, early on, and that would soon be left behind, in many instances, so it would not tip off security – if I did not have a photography pass, which was often the case. As you can see, from the few images that I captured on this night, that the details are not so great. That would improve, over time, with more experience, and also advances in the ISO ratings of films, themselves. At this time, it was hard to find inexpensive color films, for example, with a rating of over 200 ISO, while some black & white films would go up to 400. In any event, here is what “did” turn out well enough to present. You have, no doubt, seen much better, but I am an advocate of the “warts and all” approach, with my photography, in most cases……

CSN Rupp Arena November 1977 David Crosby Michael Conen "Where Were You?"

One of those other shots that features the view from nearly behind the stage, and the faces of those down in front:

Article from the Lexington newspaper, in advance of the show


Since I am getting way too many Captcha’s to be bothered with to add to the post, I will provide the link to the David Crosby & Graham Nash 1970 BBC performance [at least this works, today …….]


David Crosby‘s official site link:


Stephen Stills’ official site link:


Graham Nash‘s official site link:


Jefferson Starship “Blows Against the Empire” (Legacy Edition):


David Crosby‘s “If I Could Only Remember My Name” full album:


Graham Nash‘s “Wild Tales” full album:


As an avid fan of photography, this may not be well-known about Graham Nash‘s other passion:


As always, comments, including constructive criticism, are welcome here.


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 the curmudgeon in 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.