Fu Manchu Masks and Drug Busts at Nassau Coliseum
1974-01-28/9, Nassau County Coliseum, Nassau, NY
Today, Tour ’74 enters its brightest spotlight to date: New York City. Bob Dylan and The Band eased in with two shows at Nassau Coliseum out on Long Island, before three at Madison Square Garden.
While no doubt many actual Long Islanders attended, no shortage of NYC types made the short trip out from the city (it’s not far—I saw Dylan at Nassau Coliseum myself in 2017 and was back home in Brooklyn an hour after it ended). On night one, Cher, Carlos Santana, and Joni Mitchell were spotted in the audience. Long Island’s favorite son Billy Joel was on tour himself, or he surely woulda been there too. Here’s Joni backstage:
And sitting in the crowd with Cher and Louie Kemp:
Also spotted: Sara Dylan! She and the kids flown in from Malibu for the New York shows. They were apparently seated on the couch onstage. From this photo during Bill Graham’s introduction (at a different show I think), hard to tell whether the couch is the best seat in the house or if you’d mostly be looking at Richard Manuel’s back.
New York media was out in force too. Local TV station WNBC even snuck a video camera past the guards and captured bits of two acoustic songs, “Gates of Eden” and “Just Like a Woman.” Per Rolling Stone, “The footage was aired on the station’s parent network, NBC, on two newscasts and on the Today show. Filming of Dylan had been forbidden, according to [David] Geffen, and at press time, he was still threatening legal action against WNBC.”