[I'm going to take the next few weeks to adjust the current "acts I've seen live" theme. What will follow for a month or so will be artists I've seen, that haven't previously been featured in this long series, who are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They'll appear in order of their induction, and I'll mostly avoid comments ... I'll just post some relevant videos.]
Etta James, inducted 1993. (Villa Montalvo, 1990.) She was 52 when we saw her, and she still had the powerful voice and the sexual stage presence. Clarence Clemons was the opening act. Villa Montalvo is an historic mansion in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Here she is in 1988, with a band that included both Albert Collins and Joe Walsh on guitar:
Van Morrison, inducted 1993. (Concord Pavilion, 1998.) Finally got to see Van, co-headining with Dylan, and Lucinda Williams as the opener. Now that I think of it, he was 53 at the time. I wish I'd seen him in his prime, but he was pretty good the night I did see him. Here he sings the title song from his most recent album at the time:
Neil Young, inducted 1995. (Cow Palace, 1978.) Easy to give this one context: the concert later became the movie Rust Never Sleeps. It may have been the loudest concert I ever attended.
Paul McCartney, inducted 1999. (Cow Palace, 1976.) The only Beatle I ever saw. This was the Wings Over America tour, which also made up the Rockshow movie. It was a good show, if not a great one. I'm gonna cheat, because Ram has just been re-released for its 50th anniversary. Here is my favorite song from that album (although votes for "Smile Away" will be considered):