ART & GALLERIES How one fan brought classic rock’s iconic shots to S.F.



nakedeye10--- via TheWho thewho at igtc.com
Fri Aug 14 22:55:59 UTC 2015


Thanks to H for this one.

Bay Area friends - go check this out and tell me all about it!

Lauren


Only subscribers to the Chronicle can access the article. So here it is: 

ART & GALLERIES How one fan brought classic rock’s iconic shots to S.F. By Sam WhitingAugust 12, 2015 Updated: August 12, 2015 1:07pm 

When photography dealer Scott Nichols walked into a print shop and saw a picture of a guitar flying through the air at the climax of a Who concert at Winterland, he did not have his eyeglasses on him. So he called the photographer, Michael Zagaris of San Francisco, and a few days later Zagaris brought the image to Scott Nichols Gallery at 49 Geary. Nichols took a huge magnifying glass and went face by face across the audience until he found what he was looking for. “Son of a bitch. That’s me in the front row right next to (Who guitarist) Pete Townshend” was his remark, and three years later, Nichols has built a rock retrospective around that one remark and that one image. “It’s Only Rock and Roll” encompasses 75 prints by 12 photographers going back to Bob Dylan’s “Nashville Skyline” phase and forward to Kurt Cobain. 

The entire scope of American rock from the 1960s to the ’90s is represented in color and black and white, in both concert shots and album portraits. Nichols specializes in classic photography of the West Coast. But he’s also been a rock ’n’ roll boy since he saw the Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl at age 12. So he went to New York to secure images of Joe Cocker at Woodstock by its official photographer, Elliott Landy; the Ramones at CBGB by Ebet Roberts; and John Lennon in his New York City T-shirt by Bob Gruen. Also represented are Baron Wolman, Jim Marshall and Linda McCartney. Prices range from $500 to $7,500. 

Front and center is the 20-by-16-inch gelatin silver print of the Who, which regulars at the Fillmore will recognize as the picture hanging by the merchandise stand. The plaque reads “The Who: the Last Note of the Last Set of their Final Performance at Winterland, March 28, 1976.” The picture was taken from the raised seats behind the stage, and it shows the old Fillmore district ice rink turned concert hall that was Winterland, in its glory. You can see the band and the crowd, all eyes on Townshend’s Les Paul, suspended in midair. There is a lot going on in that picture, and if you stand there and show an interest, Nichols, 63, is likely to tunnel his way out from behind his paperwork and stand there with you. 

He’ll point out a guy who looks like Duane Allman and tell you that’s him. He’ll explain how his face came to be the closest to the bandleader on the last of a two-night stand — the hottest ticket of the year in San Francisco. “It’s kind of emotional,” Nichols says. “It takes you back 40 years.” To the summer of 1975, to start with, when Superb, the student-run entertainment organization at UC Berkeley, first staged concerts at the Greek Theatre. Nichols was the student stage manager, which put him close enough to the talent that an unknown opening act named Tom Waits growled out a request for directions to Telegraph Avenue after his sound check. Nichols was on the stage when Loggins & Messina came back for a second encore to play “Trilogy: Peace of Mind” and when Boz Scaggs came out dressed in white down to the shoes, to announce that he’d gone disco. 

Those Greek shows were produced in partnership with Bill Graham Presents, which brought the Who to Winterland the following year. Tickets were by mail-order lottery, and expectations were high that the Who would make up for its infamous 1973 visit when Keith Moon passed out at the drum kit and hit the floor, causing the concert to be cancelled. Nichols had everyone he knew write in and got enough tickets in return to pack his VW bus with fellow vegetarians from Lothlorien, the student co-op where he lived. He name-dropped his way to the door and was let in ahead of the line, which is how his group ended up in front. It was preferential treatment topped only later that year when Nichols got invited backstage and into the “cocaine room” during the “Last Waltz” concert by the Band. By then he had become interested in photography, and he had money to invest because he was working as a stagehand at all the major concert venues while finishing his undergraduate degree in architecture. A professor introduced him to Ansel Adams and Brett Weston, who were selling their prints for $50 to $100. That was the beginning of Scott Nichols Gallery. He has never offered for sale those Adams and Weston prints, but he is offering the Who picture for $2,000. “I’ve ordered an even bigger one for my house,” he says. “I want to be able to point out to friends where I am without my glasses.” Sam Whiting is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: swhiting at sfchronicle.comTwitter:@samwhitingsf It’s Only Rock and Roll:Through Sept. 16. Scott Nichols Gallery, 49 Geary St., suite 415, S.F. (415) 788-4641. www.scottnicholsgallery.com. To watch a short video of Scott Nichols and the Who at Winterland, go to:http://sfchron.cl/1IZLMXa.


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