Our doomed Sergio Mendes concert trek

Mike Blakesley

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Any longtime readers here will know that seeing Sergio Mendes in concert is one of those bucket list items for me, and the chances that he'll ever get anywhere near my location (eastern Montana) are pretty slim.

So, a few things happened recently to suddenly make it doable for me to see Sergio. On a recent trip, we'd gotten "bumped" off one of our flights, so we suddenly had a pair of free airline tickets available, and my buddy and co-Corner moderator Harry had previously told me that there was a Sergio show coming up on April 13 in Orlando. He agreed to go to the show with me (my wife is not a Sergio fan, but I still love her anyway) and we love visiting the Orlando area in general, so it all just fell into place. The airline tickets were booked, hotel and car rental reservations made, and we were all set. We even booked our flight for two days before the concert, to allow for any transportation foul-ups.

About two weeks before the trip, the first "bad sign" came when the concert in Orlando was cancelled. The only reason given was "scheduling conflicts," but to this day I don't know if Sergio cancelled, or the venue did. But either way, the show was off.

Not to worry, though.... after looking at the tour itinerary I found another show in Miami, taking place the night before the Orlando show, and that one was still on. The best news was, great seats were still available. I asked Harry if he'd be up for the 3-hour-plus drive from Orlando to Miami, and he was, as long as he didn't have to drive. So, tickets were purchased and we were all set again.

Then, the weather changed. Even though conditions in our area were beautiful, the Minneapolis area (where we had a connection) was hit with a spring blizzard that dropped about a foot of snow. Our flight was delayed an hour, then delayed another two hours, then delayed until that evening, and then finally canceled altogether. The airline automatically re-booked us for the next day...which was the day of the concert. We wouldn't even arrive in Orlando until almost midnight.

So my wife began a frantic series of attempts to find us another flight -- she called Delta reps, talked to other airlines, just looking for an earlier flight to Orlando, or even a flight direct to Miami (we'd figure the rental car out later). Nothing was available...over 900 flights into Minneapolis were cancelled that day. And if you live in Montana, you don't have a lot of options. You have to go through Minneapolis, Salt Lake or Denver to get to any other major city, and there's usually only one or two flights out per day, and virtually everything was booked up due to all the cancellations.

So finally we threw in the towel and resigned ourselves to the fact that I wasn't going to see Sergio this trip. I changed our hotel and car rentals to move everything back by a day, and we still went to Orlando and had a great time doing other things, including spending half a day visiting and seeing some sights with Harry and Marie.

The concert just wasn't in the cards. However I just found out that Sergio's going to be in Seattle this fall, so....
 

Rudy

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Funny, I'm listening to Stanley Clarke at the moment, and I just recalled that back in the 80s, my buddy and I had tickets to see Stanley Clarke and George Duke. We get to the venue, and the lot is maybe 20% full. The doors to the Masonic were closed up tight, and a drive around the block showed there were no tour buses or equipment trucks anywhere in sight. So it was cancelled...and thanks to the radio station for not letting us know. We got a refund of the only concert that had been cancelled on us.

But at least you can see Sergio in Seattle, so that's a plus!
 

Mike Blakesley

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I've had a few concert cancellations in my life, but not all that many, considering how many I've been to.

One time I had tickets for a concert but opted not to go... it was in the pre-internet days. I found out Journey was going to be in Denver, so I called a friend there and had him get me some tickets. He was an older guy and didn't understand concert seating, I guess...the tickets arrived in the mail and had "OBSTRUCTED VIEW" printed across them. Turned out they were behind-the-stage tickets. So I didn't want to drive all the way to Denver to look at a partial view of the backside of Journey!
 

DeeInKY

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Sounds like it wasn’t meant to be.

The only “obstructed view” seats I’ve ever had were for an NFL game. Turns out they were behind the scoreboard. Not as bad as it sounds though - we could see the field and only lost sight of the ball on high punts.

The only cancelled show we ran into was Bob Newhart. The cancellation wasn’t announced on the radio and we drove to Cincinnati and stood around on the sidewalk in front of the venue with a crowd until someone finally told us.
 

Captaindave

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If my memory is correct, I saw Sergio Mendes and Brasil 66 in late 1969. Lani Hall was singing with them at the time. Dom Um Romao may have been the drummer.

It may seem strange to remember such a thing, but I'm pretty sure I remember them using the old Shure Vocal Master column speakers. I think those things may have been close to state of the art back in those days.

On the other hand, in the later 1960s, the Tijuana Brass used a system based on Altec Lansing components. I think the horn players were using Shure SM57s with the wind screens that are made for that mic.

In both cases the sound was really excellent. But I didn't know much about sound equipment at that time, other than the systems they used seemed to make them sound really good in concert. And, these were some of the first live, highly professional concerts I had ever seen in my life at that time.

I'm a fan of clean, pure, balanced sound and these groups really had that kind of sound in concert. I was amazed.
 
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Harry

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I saw them in 69 or 70 too. I know it was Lani and Karen Philipp singing leads, though we were so far back from the stage, high up in the last row of the Academy of Music in Philadelphia, I could barely tell it was Brasil '66, let alone who was there.

I remember there were free opera glasses in the seat-back in front of us, and I joked that if you looked through them, it made it seem like you were one row closer...

Manhattan Transfer opened for Brasil '66, and they were fun too.
 

Rudy

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That must have been the early version of Manahattan Transfer with Laurel Massé (vs. Cheryl Bentyne who would replace her a few years later).

I think I saw the TJB around maybe '67 or so, probably in the old Cobo Arena...I don't remember anything except sitting among a bunch of bodies and standing up at one point, being told that Herb was "way down there" on the stage. Sergio many have opened for the Brass at that point.
 

Mike Blakesley

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I don't remember anything except sitting among a bunch of bodies and standing up at one point, being told that Herb was "way down there"
That reminds me of when a friend and I went to an outdoor concert once, and I said "Man, we're so far away, I can't see jack sh!t" and my friend said "I didn't even know Jack was playing!"
 

Brasil_Nut

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I remember, years ago in the 1980's -- long before the Internet and social media -- we bought tickets to see Brasil '88 at the Concord Pavillion in Concord, California. A good two-hour drive from our home in Cupertino.

We left early, as rush-hour traffic is horrible in that part of the Bay Area. We arrived in Concord and drove up the hill toward the Pavillion to be greeted with a marquee stating: Show Cancelled. We were pretty upset that Ticketron hadn't notified anyone of the cancellation. We drove back to Cupertino and had dinner at the Peppermill, calling it a night.

A year later, we finally saw Brasil '88 as the opening act for Herb Alpert's "Bullish" concert -- at the same venue.

Those were the days, they were!! 😊
 
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