The Masonic Temple and Coliseum Ballroom – Places for Silver Laughter Influences

Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix

As I am sitting here on vacation, it occurred to me that I had previously mentioned seeing a lot of bands at the Masonic Temple with Jon. The first group I remember seeing was Jay and the Americans who I was not too crazy about and thought, “I can do that.” At that point I had been writing songs for several years already.

As I have said elsewhere on this site, later on we got to see groups like The Turtles, Lovin’ Spoonful, The Yardbirds and Buffalo Springfield, to name a few. What I didn’t mention was this friend we had by the name of Don Carstens, who happened to look a lot like John Lennon during his “Sgt. Pepper” days with the short hair and glasses, was able to make his way backstage on several occasions. I mean he looked important for a guy who was two years younger than Jon and me.

A couple of years later, Jimi Hendrix came to town to play at the Coliseum Ballroom. The opening group was Soft Machine, a three-piece band that were so loud, people were moving back. As they moved back, Jon and I were able to make our way to the very front of the room just off the railing and were right in front of Jimi when he came on stage.

I don’t remember much of the concert except that we looked over and saw Ken Wiles near the front on the other side in front of the bass player, Noel Redding. Ken had worked his way to the front as well.

One of the interesting things about Jimi was that he played a right-handed Fender Stratocaster turned upside down. I had originally thought the guitar was still strung for a right-hander, but in looking at photos of him playing, it appears as though the guitar was indeed a right-handed Stratocaster, but strung with the low E on top.

I remember learning “Foxy Lady” and “Fire” and playing them live with Jon before he ever came to town. This was way before Silver Laughter was formed, probably during the Assassination of Sound period, Not too long after the concert, we were sad to hear news that Hendrix had died.

Mick Orton

Categories: History

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