Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Paha Sapa Festival, Rapid City, SD

Here's another one of those "Did that really happen and was I really there?" kind of events.

The Paha Sapa Music Festival was held July 2, 1989 at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center in Rapid City, South Dakota. On the bill were Willie Nelson, Jackson Browne, Neil Young, John Denver, Kris Kristofferson, Timbuk 3, John Trudell, Floyd Westerman and Buddy Red Bow.

This was a benefit show for several organizations on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation - KILI Radio, Oglala Lakota College, and the Pine Ridge Alcohol and Family Wellness Coalition.

I remember that those of us with media passes spent the entire show backstage except for the first song or two of each performer when we were allowed to move to the front of the stage and shoot pictures. One of the stranger feelings I've had was standing backstage watching John Denver perform when I realized the guy rubbing elbows with me and also watching the show was Kris Kristofferson.

A reporter friend that was with me was a huge Jackson Browne fan and asked him for an autograph. I figured she would like a picture of her standing next to him as he signed her program, so I fired off my flash in the near-blackness of the backstage area. I wanted to be sure I got the shot, so I took another one. That's when Jackson Browne looked up and directly into my eyes and said very slowly, "Don' that...again." I mumbled my apologies and walked away sheepishly.

Here's Jackson in a happier moment on stage.

It's Willie and "Trigger" again!

And Neil Young.

Neil with Willie.

The entire cast of the show gathered on stage at the end to sing a couple numbers.

On the left, that's Timbuk 3 ("The Future's So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades"), Neil Young and Willie Nelson in the center, and Kris Kristofferson on the right.

Again, did that really happen and did I really photograph that much talent on one stage at one time? I wish there was a DVD of that night that I could buy.


Tim said...

How was John Denver. Odd as it may sound, I'm a fan.

Chad Coppess said...

I never knew that! I'm a huge John Denver fan, so to not only see him perform, but meet him backstage was a huge thrill.

This was the second time I'd seen him and he was great both times. A huge talent that the world was robbed of much too soon.

Al Lewis said...

I was the guy doing dressing room security at this concert. I got to help Kris Kristoferson feed his kids in the catering line, had Daisy Duke wrap her arm around my waste and sign my tee-shirt across my belly, chatted with Jackson Brown and John Denver, took Willie to his press conference, and escorted Neil Young over to Willies RV the Honeysuckle Rose for a little pot. I still have the tee shirt I had them all sign with a laundry marker. First time I ever met Billie Nelson. He came back the following year and I got him a hot date from the audience both years. He was a really cool and friendly guy. One of my highlights from this was chatting with him. BTW John Denver walked in with his dog and the first thing the dog did was lift his leg and piss on one of the concrete supports. LOL

Chad Coppess said...

Thanks for the stories Al. Fun to hear from someone else who was there that night.

Jennifer Ponce said...

I was there! I was 16 at the time. The biggest thing I remember is being supremely disappointed when Kris Kristopherson got on stage and said Sting was supposed to be there, but he was in South America saving the rain forest. LOL