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Arts & Entertainment Presented by Santa Barbara Center for the Performing Arts

Jeff Moehlis

Jeff Moehlis: Hale! Hale! Rock ‘n’ Roll

Hale Milgrim, former president of Capitol Records, shares some of his favorite music at the Lobero Theatre

By Jeff Moehlis, Noozhawk Contributing Writer |

Hale Milgrim is a lifelong music fan whose jobs have ranged from working at Discount Records in Isla Vista to being president of Capitol Records from 1989-93. He currently hosts a Sunday morning program from 8:55 to 10:05 a.m. called “Go to Hale” on 99.9 KTYD.

On Friday night, he treated the house full of Lobero Theatre donors, volunteers and subscribers to choice videos of live music that he has collected over the years. These reflected many acts that have passed through town in recent years, and showed how incredibly lucky we are to live in such a desirable place for artists to visit.

The first clip was vintage concert footage of Buffalo Springfield at the Monterey International Pop Music Festival in 1967, which Milgrim (and his future wife) attended (although not together). A reunited Buffalo Springfield played two memorable shows at the Santa Barbara Bowl last summer, and quite recently band member Richie Furay performed at the Maverick Saloon as part of the Tales from the Tavern series.

The Buffalo Springfield Monterey Pop performance was notable because David Crosby filled in for Neil Young. Of course, Crosby often plays here in his “backyard,” for example with Graham Nash at the Arlington Theatre last March and with Nash and Stephen Stills at the Bowl in 2009.

Milgrim also showed videos by other recent Santa Barbara Bowl performers: Paul Simon playing “Mother and Child Reunion” live at Webster Hall in New York City from a few months ago (Simon played at the Bowl last October), Jackson Browne playing “Crow on the Cradle” from the 1979 MUSE (Musicians United for Safe Energy) concert with Nash on background vocals and David Lindley on violin (Browne played at the Bowl in summer 2009) and at the Arlington Theatre last year, and Lindley played at the Lobero Theatre as part of the Sings Like Hell series last April).

There was also a great video of Emmylou Harris in 1977 singing “Pancho and Lefty,” which she also did when she opened for Don Henley last September, plus Harris with Mark Knopfler at the Santa Barbara Bowl in 2006 performing “Our Shangri-La,” Bonnie Raitt singing “Angel from Montgomery” (Raitt played at the Bowl with Taj Mahal in 2009), and Crowded House performing “Don’t Dream It’s Over” (the band played at the Bowl in summer 2007, and frontman Neil Finn played at SOhO while in town for the Santa Barbara International Film Festival in 2010).

Milgrim also had clips of incredible duets of “Crazy Love” and “Foreign Window” by a pair that he dubbed “Zimmie and the Belfast Cowboy” — that is, Robert Zimmerman (i.e., Bob Dylan, who played at the Bowl in summer 2009 and summer 2011) and Van Morrison (who played at the Bowl in October 2010).

A not-so-recent but hugely notable Bowl performer was also featured: Bob Marley, who played at the Santa Barbara County Bowl in 1979. In the 1973 clip that Milgrim chose, Marley and The Wailers sang “Stir It Up” on The Old Grey Whistle Test, back when The Wailers included Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer. Amazing!

There was also a video from a band once scheduled to play at the Bowl in 1972, but never did: the Grateful Dead playing “Uncle John’s Band” in 1987 at the Marin Civic Center. Jerry Garcia, who did play at the Bowl in other incarnations, passed away in 1995, and further, with former Dead members Phil Lesh and Bob Weir, performed at the Bowl in September 2010. Milgrim admitted that he was a Deadhead, having gone to every Grateful Dead New Year’s show.

Other performers highlighted by Milgrim who have played in these parts were Wilco performing “Impossible Germany” with a great guitar solo by Nels Cline as for their recent performance at the Arlington Theatre; guitarist/singer Richard Thompson, who has played many times as part of the Sings Like Hell series; and fellow Sings Like Hell alums David Ford, whose song “Go to Hell” was built up in layers in truly amazing fashion, and Maura O’Connell (with James Grant) performing “Blue Train” from a show called Transatlantic Sessions.

Other Transatlantic Sessions were Rosanne Cash and Radney Foster performing “Seven Year Ache,” and the amazing, late John Martyn singing “Excuse Me Mister.” Newcomers to Martyn’s music are advised to start with his underrated 1973 album Solid Air.

Some more cool clips were Leonard Cohen’s mesmerizing “Dance Me to the End of Love” with background singer (and local resident) Julie Christensen, John Lennon performing “Stand By Me” in 1975 on The Old Grey Whistle Test, the couple Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson from Australia performing “Monkey on a Wire,” and “Glimmer Twins” Mick Jagger and Keith Richards and the rest of the Rolling Stones performing “Beast of Burden” from 1978.

Milgrim clearly loves music, Santa Barbara, and his friends and family, many of whom were in the audience, and it was a true pleasure to share an evening of great music with him.

Noozhawk contributing writer Jeff Moehlis is a professor of mechanical engineering at UCSB. Upcoming show recommendations, advice from musicians, interviews and more are available on his Web site,

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