On September 6th, 1991 I went to see Los Lobos at Barrymore’s with my good friend and long-time bandmate JP. I’m not really sure why we were at the show; I was wholly unfamiliar with the band aside from their cover of La Bamba and as a student I didn’t have a lot of money to throw around on bands I had only marginal interest in, but one way or another we were there.
Come to think of it we probably got comped in to the show due to JP’s regular contact with Gord Kent, one of the bar’s owners. JP worked at the bank that Barrymore’s dealt with, and he he was our band’s contact person for our many, many gigs in the bar so he saw Kent all the time.
Anyway, we were on the floor for this show – it must not have been that well attended – and I had a good time. But really, this whole show centres on one single memory for me, and one that still makes me laugh to this day.
I can’t say for sure, but I think this concert might have been the first time JP started what would become a concert tradition for him. During one of the lulls between songs, at just the right moment when you could hear a pin drop in the big theatre, JP boomed out “Zeppelin!!!” as loud as his powerful, lead singer-lungs could bellow.
The hilarity of yelling out something that anyone who’s played in a bar-level cover band has heard a million times to a band of Mexican troubadours with their fat guitars and flamenco-style rhythms hit me like a Muhammad Ali uppercut and I doubled over in laughter.
Come to think of it, it was likely my over-reaction to his little absurdity that fuelled JP to continue yelling out his “Zeppelin” request at every concert or live performance we’ve shared since (if occasionally meekly and with great respect, like when we saw Oscar Peterson together).
I’m laughing right now thinking about it. I guess you had to be there.