Live — at a Music Performance

I Saw Janis Joplin Live

By Jeff Salter

Well, in earlier days, I actually did get a chance to see some notables. Before I describe the event which tops all the others, let me list the other groups or individuals I remember:

Glenn Yarbrough (whom I also interviewed), The Rascals, Classics IV, B.J. Thomas, Larnelle Harris, Mouse and the Boys with Brass, The Freddy Ramirez Trio, Ernie Haas and the Signature Sound, Cody Bender, New Song, and others I can’t recall at the moment.

Saw several USO groups at the NCO Club when I was overseas, though their names escape me right now.

And, at Mercer University, these coffee house acts: The Princess and the Frog, Brian Carney (son of Art Carney), and others I can’t recall at the moment.


New Orleans Pop Festival

But the musical event which really stands out (for me) is the New Orleans Pop Festival (Aug. 31 – Sept. 1, 1969) — held at the LaPlace Raceway, as I recall. At this point, large musical events for young people were not all that common — the much more famous Woodstock had been held only a few weeks prior.

Among the scheduled headliners were the Byrds… and Grateful Dead… and Santana … and Iron Butterfly… and the Youngbloods — though I don’t remember (for certain) seeing / hearing them. I’m struggling now to recall whether I went to the festival on both days or just for one long day. I was on a double date with a girl from Gretna and I know we did not stay overnight.

Anyhow, the acts I DO remember seeing / hearing were Janis Joplin (turned out to be just a couple of months before her death), Oliver, and Country Joe and the Fish. All the years since this event, I had “remembered” that the Jefferson Airplane was supposed to appear, but had gotten busted at the airport for drugs. As likely as that last part sounds, their name is not on the bill. Perhaps it was the Byrds who got busted…


NO Pop Fest


My first impressions were about the long line of cars waiting to pay our admission and get in. As we inched forward, I saw several long-haired guys openly selling drugs. [I didn’t want any.] Oddly, I don’t recall seeing any cops, but have to assume some were present.

Once we parked and hiked to the stage area and got situated, I noticed a guy mixing / dissolving something in a large wine bottle. He didn’t tell me – and I didn’t ask – but I’ve always assumed it was acid (LSD), which I had heard was sometimes used that way.

It was sunny and very hot. I had thought to bring a “shelter half” (i.e. half of a pup tent) which I propped up in a way that gave us a little shade. No chairs … we sat on the rock hard concrete. My date must have brought a blanket or something for us to sit on… because otherwise, we would have baked.

Don’t recall which songs Janis sang, but Oliver sang his big Top 40 hit, “Good Morning Starshine” and Country Joe sang “Along Came Jones.”

About half way between us and the stage, some kids were dancing, like you see in the Woodstock clips. Suddenly one girl stood, turned around with a big loopy smile, and whipped off her blouse. Almost immediately, a guy – a short distance away – began leaping over other attendees to reach her. I didn’t see exactly what happened, but there was a bit on TV that night which showed those two huddled on the pavement with numerous attendees looking on. Guess they got really friendly, really fast.

Much of that event is now a blur. I know I drove home, well after dark, across a nearly abandoned Causeway, and I was exhausted, grungy, and sunburned.

But I’m one of relatively few who can say I saw Janis Joplin perform live.



About Jeff Salter

Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Fourteen completed novels and four completed novellas. Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance. "Cowboy Out of Time" -- Apr. 2019 /// "Double Down Trouble" -- June 2018 /// "Not Easy Being Android" -- Feb. 2018 /// "Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 /// "The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 /// "Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015 /// "Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015 /// "One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015 /// "The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014 /// "Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014 /// "Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014 /// "Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014 /// "Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013 /// "Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013 /// "Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013 /// "Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012 /// "The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012 /// Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos. Worked about 30 years in librarianship. Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist. Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland). Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
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23 Responses to Live — at a Music Performance

  1. Wow, those are some names there,Jeff,(although in the first group mentioned, you lost me after B J Thomas). Glenn Yarbrough! He made quite a name for himself doing movie themes there for a while.Not long ago we watched an old, B western and he sang the theme.With his distinctive voice,I knew who it was immediately.
    I never understood why anyone would go to see a performance when they intended to be ‘impaired’ all the way through it.All those great performers and what a wasted…and it’s too bad many of the performers were wasted, too.
    I have no comprehension of this.


  2. jeff7salter says:

    absolutely agree, Tonette. At those large venues, it’s hard enough to see and hear anyway. Certainly don’t need other impairments.


  3. jbrayweber says:

    I’ve been to an event or two similar to your NO Pop Festival. But this was 25+ years later. And they were called Lalapalooza And here in Houston, we have the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. It’s two weeks of rodeo fun plus a nightly performance. So I’ve seen many country greats there like Clint Black, Dottie West, Kenny Rogers, to name a few.

    I’ve been to many, many, many concerts. My first was Night Ranger (Jefferson Starship opened for them). I’ve seen the Beach Boys, Bon Jovi, Metallica, Skid Row, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Motley Crue, Ac/Dc, Pantera, Robert Plant, Poison, The Cult, Billy Squire, Judas Priest, Chicago, Tom Petty, Guns N’ Roses, Iron Maiden, Queensryche, and of course, my favorite band ever, Def Leppard. And this is a partial list with many more bands of which you’ve probably never heard of. 😀

    Ah…good times…good times…


    • jeff7salter says:

      Wow, Jenn. You’re practically a roadie.
      That’s a ton of BIG names.
      Did they all come to your cities or did you have to travel to reach them?


  4. pjharjo says:

    I don’t remember all those you mentioned, Jeff, but, WOW! You certainly did have a lot of interesting things to say in your blog! I would have loved to see a few of those you mentioned! (funny story about who got busted) 🙂


  5. Iris B says:

    I’m glad you mentioned Janis Joplin and Jefferson Airplane, otherwise I wouldn’t have known anybody 😦 But no matter whether I know them or not, quite a few names and that must mean lotsa fun!
    What are USO groups and a NCO Club ?


  6. Kathleen Loyd says:

    i went to one concert, waiting in line for 8 hours to get tickets. The main performers were George Harrison, Billy Preston and Ravi Shankar and the venue was Pete’s Palace at LSU. If you didn’t have binoculars, you really couldn’t see. I guess it was worth it for the experience, but I think I would rather have bought an album that I could have listened to over and over.


  7. Pingback: Music Belongs in the Great Outdoors | Four Foxes, One Hound

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