Ramblings 4: Ravi Shankar at Apollo Stadium

Ravi Shankar has just died. Eighty-six. I saw him give a concert at Apollo Stadium in Adelaide once – a basketball stadium! I wonder how many concerts he gave in basketball stadiums.

I didn’t know he was a classical musician then (c1969) and my knowledge of his music was limited to seeing him play during the closing credits of the film of the Monterey Rock Festival.

I guess I thought he was pretty cool and his instrument (sitar) was cool too because George Harrison had taken it up, but I’ve no idea what I expected him to play at Apollo.

His only accompanist was a drummer (tabla) and the tunes (ragas) all lasted about half an hour each. The rhythms were OK I guess except they went on and on. If they’d been five minutes I could’ve hacked that. I just didn’t dig classical music.

Some people probably got doped up before they went. If I had I might’ve said he was suREAL using some groovy/goofy expression of the time.

But no. It was the wrong gig, the wrong venue and, I suspect, entirely the WRONG AUDIENCE.

How many Indian classical music buffs were there in Adelaide in 1969?

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