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08 December 2010

Ray Charles Live In Sitges (1976)

From La Vanguardia, Aug. 8.
On 26 July 1976 Ray Charles gave a concert in Sitges, as a closing act of the Primer Festival de Jazz. The show was broadcast live by TVE 1.
As yet, no footage has surfaced.

From Spanish newspaper articles it becomes clear that after the cameras stopped, Ray's manager, Joe Adams, ostensibly said goodbye to the audience, "sowing doubt in the auditorium". Soon after that, the organization announced that the concert would resume after an interval of fifteen minutes. But Adams claimed that the job was done, ordered the orchestra to abandon the stage, and disappeared, "leaving the organizers in a state of confusion". Sources:  herehere and here.

Drummer Scott von Ravensberg remembers: "We were to do two sets at an outdoor stage, right on the coast. We did the first show and the people went wild, they loved it..! Well back in the band tent we were told that we wouldn't be doing the second set and that we needed to pack up and leave... quietly. So we did!
Jim Campbell on bass just to the left of Ray; Andy Ennis just behind the piano,; Henry Coker just above Ray's glasses; Bob Knedlick to Henry's left behind and above Andy; Ernest Vantrease at the far end of the piano. Photo by Josep Maria Alegre.
Apparently Ray had found out that the concerts were being recorded and said 'No second show!' I'm not sure, and won't mention names, but someone told someone else that misunderstood what someone's 'deal' had included, and didn't bother to tell Brother Ray.
I guess everyone in the city must have been at the show... it was kind of crazy because there were NO cabs! So we, I mean every one in the band, the girls AND Ray (that's right, Ray!) had to walk back, a mile or so, to the hotel along the ocean in the dark! [...] Well as it turned out [...] the road crew had to pack up everything and get it back to the hotel. It started to rain at some point, and the people went ape shit when there was no 2nd show. They rioted and bum rushed the stage! They got to the girls' costume & make up bags and threw things all over, and tried to get to the drums and band fronts and the Fender Rhodes piano that we carried, as well as to the bass and guitar amps. I don't know how Harold and Tony [i.e. the road crew] did it, but they beat back the hordes and somehow got our stuff back to the hotel!"

The Sitges stage, just before hell broke out. From La Vanguardia, Aug. 8.


  1. That's about how it went down. I was on the band then. The walk back to the hotel along the beach was "interesting" as angry people driving by threw some rocks and bottles at us.
    Jeff Conrad

  2. Hi Jeff, great to hear from you! Can you please contact me over email: bob[at]result[dot]com ?