Phoenix Sound Co.

Long, long ago (April 29, 1973), at an outdoor Fleetwood Mac concert, far, far away... (Stockton, California, USA). A view from the sound mixing "tower".

Stockton 1

The entire venue as seen from the top of the grandstands.

Stockton 4

The concerts two opening acts had performed and Fleetwood Mac was playing their second number when the power quit. I felt just a bit of responsiblity in this area as, in addition to the PA system, we had provided the power distribution (breaker boxes & cables) for the stage.

I made my way from the mixing tower to the backstage area where we had tapped into a 240V feed and found the concert's promoter engaged in a discussion with a policeman who was holding the 240V 50A (...back when a mere 12KW was sufficient to power a rock show) main power plug in one hand.

T he upshot of the conversation was that the police were terminating the concert giving the reason that the city use permit only allowed for a daytime performance. I interjected that there was a pretty good PA system available and that someone could make an announcement to that effect. The officer replied that it wasn't necessary.

H is meaning became clear momentarily when the officers assaulted the audience, without warning, employing several tear gas generators, blanketing the stadium from the upwind fence. The audience began moving en masse toward the opposite field. I don't have shots of the start of the gassing as I was backstage and my camera was on the mixing tower in the middle of the audience. The shots following were taken after I ran the gas gauntlet, retreived my camera and returned to the stage.

Stockton 3

The remainder of the audience exiting downwind after having flattened the chain link fencing.

Stockton 5

The last of the tear gas...

Stockton 6

The police gather up a few souvineers...

Stockton 7

Then, they proceed to start a night of rioting...

Stockton 8

Below you may review the quality news reporting wherein I learned that newspapers are not to be believed...

Specifically, there were very few people outside the stadium, not several thousand as reported.

This was a Fleetwood Mac show... with a very mellow audience. There were no significant disturbances inside the stadium, even after the power was pulled, until the police attacked the audience.

Isuspect that all of the police injuries were sustained in the several hours of rioting, which they instigated, that lasted well into the night... by which time Phoenix Sound was long gone from Stockton.

Recall that this was back in the times of Me Lie, Kent State & Watergate... Now, in the 21st Century, only minor facts such as weapons of mass destruction are fabricated.

Incidently, the City of Stockton owes me a Shure SM-57 mike which disappeared in the melee though, I suppose I should count myself fortunate that no other damage nor loss was sustained to the sound equipment.

Stockton News