I was fortunate enough to have seen Duane’s next-to-last live show. It truly was an honor to have been there, in that small college gym. My buddies and I had wiped up a batch of ‘brownies’ for the show. Luther Allison opened up. Then the reason we attended the show hit the stage.
They opened with Statesboro and it took off from there. To this day, I have not seen a slide player with the combination of quickness AND clarity that Duane possessed. ( I wish I had put together a set list, who knew.) I sat there the whole time thinking ‘this is the band that put out the Fillmore album’ and ‘I’m watching a guy who played with Clapton on Derek and the Dominoes’ and here they are at a small college in Ohio completely kicking butt ! The show ended and Duane led them off the stage to the left, in a single-file line going back to the locker room being used as the dressing room. I stood there about 20′ away as they walked past. After they disappeared into the locker room, I went over to the corner of the gym to where the road cases were stacked. From my seat in the bleachers, I had noticed one of the cases had stenciling on it. I went over to investigate and, lo and behold, it is the case that is on the cover of the Fillmore album ! I’m looking at a piece of rock and roll history when I notice out the corner of my eye someone is about 5′ away from me going through one of the guitar cases. This person has a bass guitar slung over his shoulder, it is Berry Oakley ! I try to say something cool like ‘great show, love your music’. Berry looks up for a second says ‘thanks’, gets what he was after and disappears back into the locker room……….I don’t know how many times I have seen the band since then, too numerous to count. I made it a point to find the photographer for the college newspaper and asked to borrow the negatives. I have a bunch of black-and-white photos from the show. An 8″x10″ of Duane is on my fireplace mantel. I ‘borrowed’ a poster advertising the concert on campus and had it framed. Tickets were $2.50 for students, $3.50 for non-students……..so here we are in 2005 and the band is in peak form once again !! The recent Beacon run was amazing ! I don’t think I’m out of line by saying…Duane would be proud. Sincerely hoping the road goes on forever, Mark J. Nini