I Just Want to Celebrate a Rare Earth Occurrence

While not quite as dramatic as Lazarus being raised from the dead, my 2018 summer concert experience twitched imperceptibly and showed a faint pulse this past weekend after I left it for dead in this blog post. Why did I end the post with a tease like I did? Did I know that Rare Earth defibrillator paddles would jolt my 2018 summer concert experience back from the dead?

By Rare Earth, I am not referring to a rare earth element like the 15 lanthanides, or even perhaps scandium or yttrium. I am referring to this Rare Earth …

Rare Earth

However, I think the really hairy dude in the center is named Joe Scandium. Regardless, I am talking about the band Rare Earth that opened up the California Jam music festival in 1974 in front of 300,000 people …

California Jam

Here’s how the California Jam crowd looked to them as they played I Just Want to Celebrate in front of hundreds of thousands of people.

The guy playing tambourine and providing some vocals in the video is Gil Bridges. He also played sax and flute. Gil went from 300,000+ people at California Jam in 1974 to 800+ people at my local Arcada Theatre this past weekend. Ticket sales were not brisk, so there was a giveaway. I grabbed mine.

Rare Earth Tix

By the time I arrived, it was almost sold out, although if many of the tickets were given away, does it still count as a sellout?

Gil Bridges is the lone original Rare Earth survivor left in the band from when they started playing together in high school in 1960 as The Sunliners. If my math is correct, and it rarely is, that means Gil was born towards the end of WW2. Yikes! But Gil has made progress in 50+ years of Sunliners/Rare Earth. He is the babyface on the left in this pic …

Rare Earth

But these days he is front and center on stage …rare-earth-1.jpg

Gil still has the great hair despite being in his 70’s. His vocals were excellent as well as his sax playing. And can you say “flute solos?” The band that accompanied Gil was super-tight, and they played some Motown classics along with their hits like Get Ready, I Just Want to Celebrate, Born to Wander, and Hey, Big Brother. Rare Earth was actually one of the first white acts that Motown signed, so they have an affinity for the Motown R&B funk sound, as evidenced by recording Motown songs like the Temptations’ Get Ready and (I Know) I’m Losing You. 

Was the show good? Well, it was certainly worth the price of admission, and my foot was sore from excessive toe-tapping. There were even people in psychedelic t-shirts dancing in front of the stage.

Rare Earth 2

For their first Motown album, they were a little short on songs. Their solution? One side of the album was one song – Get Ready with lots of jams and instrumental solos. In concert this past weekend, they played that 21 minute jam, or a version of it. It was long. I much prefer the edited version of that great song.

The video fades out on them just before the 3 minute mark. For all we know, that went on for another 18 minutes.

I did not stay around for a band meet & greet after the show. I had grocery shopping to do. I have my priorities.

Interestingly enough, there was a California Jam 2 which featured Dave Mason as one of the headliners.

california jam 2

Dave Mason provided one of the other few concert experiences I had this summer.  I kind of wish there had been a California Jam 3. Maybe that would mean I would have seen another show this summer. Maybe I still will …

There I go again.

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