Farewell Johnny! We Knew Ye Well

Sorry to hear of the passing of guitar legend Johnny Winter this last week. I was a huge JW freak back in the day, pretty much learned every song & every riff he played. When I was 13, I made the scene at the Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival, where among the luminaries of the day, Johnny Winter And were scheduled to play. Just for the thrill of it, somehow I worked my way onto the stage and sat right by the amps while Johnny Winter & the “And” played about five feet in front of me for the remainder of the show. It was the first time I’d heard “Rock & Roll Hootchie Koo” which quickly became my favorite jam for the season.

In fact I liked it so much that I more or less strong-armed my father into taking us to see a Johnny Winter concert a few months later in New York City at the Fillmore East. By then I was 14… concerts at the Fillmore NY (I’d been to a few there) generally would start about 8pm and go until midnight or 1am, with at least one and sometimes two warm up acts for the main act. Johnny Winter was the main act at this show, some other band I don’t remember opened, but the second act much to our surprise was the now world-famous Allman Brothers Band.

Duane Allman took the microphone right at the beginning of their set and said something to the effect of “Hey everyone, I hope we do a great show tonight because we’re recording an album here tonight.” I was way more into Johnny at the time – my Allman Brothers days came later. But to this day I am thrilled to be able to say that I was present for the concert that the Allman Brothers Live at the Fillmore East album was recorded. More info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/At_Fillmore_East

And what’s even cooler, is that I can tell you the concert was a Johnny Winter concert, NOT an Allman Brothers concert!