Introduction

This Mahavishnu Orchestra Gig List is the product of hundreds of hours of laborious research and the hunting down of obtuse clues. The ultimate goal is to verify every single show the original Mahavishnu Orchestra ever presented. In the course of this endeavor an important historical document will be created. The imagery of the poster artwork and ads, the humorous misspellings, the growth from opener to headliner and the universe of diverse musicians sharing the bills paint a vivid picture of the ascending orbit of this truly remarkable band. The gig list also shows just how much this band worked! It was too much, really. How could you not be totally exhausted, physically and mentally, playing this demanding music day after day, night after night in city after city? It amazes me the band was able to keep it together for as long as it did. Every meteor eventually crashes.

The rise of The Mahavishnu Orchestra took place during a period of great artistic freedom and expression in the United States. Yet, the times were also enveloped in social, governmental and militaristic upheaval. It was in this vortex of volatility that Mahavishnu was born and thrived. It was the only time this music could have happened.

Elliott Sears, road manager for the original band, unwittingly gave me the idea of creating the list. I discovered, while interviewing Elliott, that he was one of those guys who saved stuff. In fact, it turns out, that even after 30 years, he still possessed a surprising amount of the group’s tour itineraries. They were chock-full of information which was very helpful for my book, but also offered the possibility of delving even further into the band’s history outside the framework of that project.

After I completed Power, Passion and Beauty, I told Elliott I wanted to compile a comprehensive gig list using his itineraries as a starting point. He very generously spent many hours with me reviewing the details. Over the course of these years, Elliott has been of tremendous help to me on several projects. I thank him for all the support and friendship.

As time passed, I added poster, newspaper ad and ticket images to further verify shows. Most of the posters and tickets had been saved for years by the most affected fans. What fun to discover they exist still! I am indebted to those who contacted me, and to those I found, who have contributed artifacts for this collection. This corroborating evidence adds important context to the Mahavishnu story. Many of the contributors belong to the One-Word on-line mailing list which honors John McLaughlin. One-Word was created more than 20 years ago by Andres Didrik. I thank him and all members of that group.

I was also able to build upon the earlier efforts of Johann Haidenbauer, Graham Crawford, David Graham, Greger Wikberg, Mark Chapman, Rod Sibley, Jeff Frank and Julian Derry. I thank them.

On July 31, 2013, Nat Weiss, the manager of the Mahavishnu Orchestra and the U.S. lawyer for the Beatles, passed away. Journalist and Emmy award-winning TV producer Paul LaRosa had been working on an investigative story about the Beatles and his research led him to Nat Weiss. After Nat died, LaRosa learned of a storage locker that Weiss had in the mid-town Manhattan area. He eventually gained access to this locker. The amazing story of how this all happened, and what was found because of it, can be read in this story at Huffpost.

It turns out that Paul LaRosa went to school with Ted McCallion, well-known drummer and Mahavishnu cognoscenti, who, in addition to being my very good friend, has helped me immensely with Mahavishnu Orchestra research over the years. LaRosa knew of Ted’s affinity for Mahavishnu and contacted him. This led to the Internet world premiere of a long-lost video of a Mahavishnu live performance and to another great find- a 1972 Mahavishnu Orchestra booking calendar in Nat Weiss' own hand..



The discovery of the booking calendar put the gig list project into overdrive. It contained so much new information, even if much of it was illegible, that it acted as a road map for feverish study, interpretation, and implementation. The detective work spawned by the calendar still often goes past midnight. At times, it seems Ted and I are in competition- trying to track down every possible clue. My past life as a newspaper reporter sure comes in handy. New discoveries are exhilarating. Dead-ends are frustrating. I am extremely grateful to Ted for his hard work on numerous fronts.

(A typical page from Nat Weiss' Mahavishnu Orchestra 1972 booking calendar. Photo by Ted McCallion)

My thanks also go to Paul LaRosa for getting in touch with Ted. I also thank Kevan Peterson, archivist Timothy Wood, noted Mahavishnu author Colin Harper and audio wizard Ray Nassr for their recent valuable contributions.

In addition to the special gratitude owed Elliott Sears, Ted McCallion, the One-Worders and others already mentioned, I must emphasize the generosity I have received from Mark Chapman and Johann Haidenbauer for two decades. Their vast collections and knowledge have proved to be invaluable.

There may be some shows we can never verify. (ex: The first outdoor show at Marquette University in August of 1971 was a last-minute opportunity.) However, we are going to all ends to make this list as complete as possible. You can help. Do you have information or artifacts that could be added to this list? Do you have a better artifact to replace an existing one? Is there a show we are missing? Can you prove it happened? Please contact me at walterkolosky@verizon.net if you would like to help.

It is my utmost wish that the work presented on these pages either reminds you of past moments of musical discovery or offers you new ones.

I dedicate this project, a true labor of love, to The Mahavishnu Orchestra, its management, road crew and fans.
 
May I suggest before you dig in, you put some Mahavishnu music on as accompaniment?


- Walter Kolosky

Note: To see images at full-size, use your browser view options.



Jul 21-26  -  Gaslight at the Au Go Go. New York City, NY.  Opens for John Lee Hooker. First Mahavishnu gigs.


Jul 28-Aug 2  -  Gaslight at the Au Go Go. New York City, NY. Held-over. Opens for Spencer Davis and Peter Jameson.

                                                                                                                               (Johann Haidenbauer)

Aug 4-9  -  Gaslight at the Au Go Go. New York City, NY. Held over again as main act. (Name still misspelled!)

 (Johann Haidenbauer)

Aug ?  -  Marquette University. Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Confirmed first outdoor show. Probably not publicized.


Sep 14  -  Beacon Theatre. NYC, NY. Supporting Steve Miller Band and Cannonball Adderley. 2 shows.


Sep 15  -  Beacon Theatre. NYC, NY. Supporting Steve Miller Band and Cannonball Adderley. 2 shows.


Oct  2  -  Baldwin Auditorium, Drew University. Madison, NJ.  (Thanks Marco Anderson.)

                                                            (Matthew Beland - Drew University Archives)

Oct 22  -  Alumnae Hall. Brown University. Providence, RI.


                                                                              (Paul Fernandes)                             (Ted McCallion)

Nov 4-6  -  Jabberwocky Club. Syracuse University. Syracuse, NY.  Tarika Blue opens.


Nov 18  -  University of New Hampshire. Durham, NH. Supporting Blue Oyster Cult and The Byrds.

                                                                                           (Dick Brodeur)    (John Rottet)

Nov 20  -  SUNY- Lusk Field House. Cortland, NY. Supporting Blue Oyster Cult and The Byrds.

 
    
Nov 28  -  SUNY.  Pritchard Gym. Stony Brook, NY. Supporting Yes and the Kinks. (Mahavishnu added to bill.)


Dec 3    -  University of Maine. Orono, ME. Supporting Blue Oyster Cult and The Byrds.


Dec 4    -  Keaney Gym. University of Rhode Island. Kingston, RI. Supporting Blue Oyster Cult and The Byrds.


Dec 9    -  Clarkson College of Technology. Potsdam, NY. W/ BOC and The Byrds. (Edgar Winter replaces The Byrds.)


Dec 10  -  University of Vermont. Patrick Gymnasium Burlington, VT. Supporting Blue Oyster Cult and The Byrds.



Dec 11  -  Pritchard Gymnasium. SUNY Stony Brook, NY. Supporting Blue Oyster Cult and The Byrds. 2 Shows.


Dec 21-26  -  Quiet Knight. Chicago, IL. Tim Weisberg opens. 

 (Ted McCallion)

Dec 29  -  Carnegie Hall. New York City, NY. Supports Its A Beautiful Day…then it's off to the races!