January 11, 2015

Concert #734 - Barry McGuire & P.F. Sloan at the Coffee Gallery Backstage (January 8, 2015)

The above photo is dated 1965. It shows Barry McGuire and P.F. Sloan riding a motorbike. At that time, their careers were closely intertwined, but that closeness ended soon thereafter, when their career paths took them in totally different directions. I don't think the two have seen each other for fifty years or so, but I know for a fact that they have not performed together since 1965.

Thursday night's concert at the intimate Coffee Gallery in Altadena marked Barry and Phil's first time together on a stage in fifty years and I'm super-happy to say that I was there. Being part of such a historic event gave me a thrill that I will not forget anytime soon. Their joint effort consisted of lots of songs and stories, with lead vocals duties going back and forth between the two.

Barry McGuire (left) and P.F. Sloan at the Coffee Gallery (2015)

The concert kicked off with "Green, Green", "The Times They Are A-Changin'" and "Blowin' In The Wind", performed by Barry with competent support provided by John York. At that point, Barry introduced P.F. Sloan, who took the stage to a loud welcome. The Dylan-theme continued for one more song with the singing of "Mr. Tambourine Man", which then turned seamlessly into "Turn, Turn, Turn". Next came the immortal "Eve of Destruction", the song written by a teenage Phil and recorded by Barry in 1965.

The other four songs we heard before the intermission were "What's Exactly The Matter With Me", "California Dreamin'", "Where Were You When I Needed You" and "Secret Agent Man".

P.F. Sloan at the Coffee Gallery (2015)
Barry McGuire at the Coffee Gallery (2015)
The second set kicked off with CCR's "Proud Mary" and ended with Barry's barely whispered rendition of "Try To Remember". In addition to the songs listed in the photo below, we also got to hear "Blue Suede Shoes", which Phil dedicated to birthday-boy Elvis Presley.

The set list (second set)
The evening's one-song encore, Little Eva's "Locomotion" was, in my opinion, the best moment of the show, with Barry's strong voice and contagious joie-de-vivre taking over the concert room. In his eightieth year of existence, Barry continues to impress me with his seemingly unchanged voice, not to mention his boundless energy and charisma. His exuberance worked very well with Phil's more restrained stage presence.

Barry McGuire, John York & P.F. Sloan at the Coffee Gallery (2015)  
The stage
Concert poster

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