Bonnie's Pride and Joy

Fansite with ALL the news about Bonnie !

All-star concert honors life of Norton Buffalo

on January 25, 2010 No comments

Joel Selvin, Chronicle Senior Pop Music Correspondent
January 25, 2010

Maria Muldaur and Bonnie Raitt perform as part of the Tribute to the life of Norton Buffalo at the Fox Theatre on January 22, 2010 in Oakland, California.Maria Muldaur, left, performs with Bonnie Raitt during a benefit tribute show for harmonica player Norton Buffalo at the Fox Theater in Oakland, Calif. on Friday, Jan. 22, 2010. Buffalo, who was born in Oakland, appeared on more than 180 albums in his career and spent 33 years with the Steve Miller Band. 100% of the concert proceeds will go to the Buffalo family. Buffalo died from cancer on Oct. 30.Bonnie Raitt and Roy Rogers perform as part of the Tribute to the life of Norton Buffalo at the Fox Theatre on January 22, 2010 in Oakland, California.Bonnie Raitt jams with Roy Rogers during a benefit tribute show for harmonica player Norton Buffalo at the Fox Theater in Oakland, Calif. on Friday, Jan. 22, 2010. Buffalo, who was born in Oakland, appeared on more than 180 albums in his career and spent 33 years with the Steve Miller Band. 100% of the concert proceeds will go to the Buffalo family. Buffalo died from cancer on Oct. 30.Bonnie Raitt jams with Steve Miller during a benefit tribute show for harmonica player Norton Buffalo at the Fox Theater in Oakland, Calif. on Friday, Jan. 22, 2010. Buffalo, who was born in Oakland, appeared on more than 180 albums in his career and spent 33 years with the Steve Miller Band. 100% of the concert proceeds will go to the Buffalo family. Buffalo died from cancer on Oct. 30.Bonnie and Steve MillerBonnie Raitt jams with Steve Miller during a benefit tribute show for harmonica player Norton Buffalo at the Fox Theater in Oakland,Calif.on Friday, Jan.22, 2010Bonnie Raitt and Steve MillerSteve Miller from the Steve Miller Band performs with Bonnie Raitt at the Fox Theater in downtown Oakland, CA during a tribute concert for the late Bay Area harmonic legend Norton Buffalo.  January 23, 2010Bonnie Raitt and Tom Johnston of The Doobie Brothers perform as part of the Tribute to the life of Norton Buffalo at the Fox Theatre on January 22, 2010 in Oakland, California.Bonnie Raitt and Tom Johnston of The Doobie Brothers.Bonnie RaittElvin Bishop, center, takes a solo as he jams with Bonnie Raitt, Steve Miller and Charlie Musselwhite, left to right, during a benefit tribute show for harmonica player Norton Buffalo at the Fox Theater in Oakland, Calif. on Friday, Jan. 22, 2010. Buffalo, who was born in Oakland, appeared on more than 180 albums in his career and spent 33 years with the Steve Miller Band. 100% of the concert proceeds will go to the Buffalo family. Buffalo died from cancer on Oct. 30.Bonnie Raitt jams with Elvin Bishop, Steve Miller and Charlie Musselwhite during a benefit tribute show for harmonica player Norton Buffalo at the Fox Theater in Oakland,Calif.on Friday, Jan.22, 2010Charlie Musselwhite and Bonnie Raitt during a benefit tribute show for harmonica player Norton Buffalo at the Fox Theater in Oakland, Calif. on Friday, Jan. 22, 2010Bonnie Raitt greets the crowd during a benefit tribute show for harmonica player Norton Buffalo at the Fox Theater in Oakland,Calif. on Friday, Jan.22, 2010.Bonnie Raitt jams with Steve Miller and Charlie Musselwhite during a benefit tribute show for harmonica player Norton Buffalo at the Fox Theater in Oakland,Calif.on Friday, Jan.22, 2010A crowd member applauds as Steve Miller, center left, jams with Bonnie Raitt, Charlie Musselwhite and Roy Rogers, left to right, during a benefit tribute show for harmonica player Norton Buffalo at the Fox Theater in Oakland, Calif. on Friday, Jan. 22, 2010. Buffalo, who was born in Oakland, appeared on more than 180 albums in his career and spent 33 years with the Steve Miller Band. 100% of the concert proceeds will go to the Buffalo family. Buffalo died from cancer on Oct. 30.Bonnie Raitt sits in with the Doobie Brothers during a benefit tribute show for harmonica player Norton Buffalo at the Fox Theater in Oakland, Calif. on Friday, Jan. 22, 2010. To the left is Patrick Simmons and to the right is Tom Johnston. Buffalo, who was born in Oakland, appeared on more than 180 albums in his career and spent 33 years with the Steve Miller Band. 100% of the concert proceeds will go to the Buffalo family. Buffalo died from cancer on Oct. 30.Maria Muldaur and Bonnie Raitt perform as part of the Tribute to the life of Norton Buffalo at the Fox Theatre on January 22, 2010 in Oakland, California.Bonnie Raitt points to the heavens as she and Steve Miller from the Steve Miller Band along with Doobie Bros performed in a tribute concert for the late Bay Area harmonic legend Norton Buffalo Saturday night Jan 23, 2010 at the Fox Theater in downtown Oakland.Tribute to Norton Buffalo at the Fox Theater in Oakland, Calif. on Jan. 22 & 23, 2010Tribute to Norton Buffalo - Poster

Nobody ever knew anybody like Norton Buffalo. It was his gift to make anyone he met feel like his friend. He played on more than 180 albums, and every one of the musicians who hired him thought he was their friend.

When Buffalo was diagnosed with lung cancer in September after getting off his summer tour with the Steve Miller Band, his longtime bandleader and close friend talked to Buffalo about putting together a benefit concert.

Three days before he died, a few short weeks later, Buffalo OKd Miller’s plans to bring some of Buffalo’s friends together for a pair of concerts that took place over the weekend at Oakland’s recently refurbished Fox Theater.

He died knowing that friends and admirers like Miller, the Doobie Brothers, Bonnie Raitt, Charlie Musselwhite, George Thorogood and Huey Lewis agreed to play the shows. He told Miller he wanted the proceeds to pay off his mortgage.

Over the 33 years Buffalo played in his band, Miller did more than 5,000 shows with Buffalo, singing every song together. Miller introduced Buffalo every night as “my partner in harmony.” Buffalo’s death punched a hole in his heart. His widow, Lisa Flores, visited Miller’s hotel room Saturday afternoon and gave him Buffalo’s signature hat, scarf and his favorite harmonica.

“This is hard,” he said, standing on the side of the stage after introducing the opening act, Buffalo’s own band, the Knockouts.

Buffalo’s baby sister Josephine walked up to Miller on the side of the stage and introduced herself. Miller held her in a close embrace and they talked intensely. “I can’t get my head around the fact that he’s dead,” he told her.

Who can? All night, a procession of his musician colleagues took the stage and spoke of his spirit, his generosity, his talent, his goofy humor, his extraordinary love of mankind. Bonnie Raitt delivered extravagant, heartfelt praise and then launched a wrenching bottleneck blues on acoustic guitar, “I Can’t Get Over You.”

After her performance, she huddled with Miller on the side of the stage, their foreheads practically touching, arms over each other’s shoulders. Miller emerged weeping. At that exact moment, Elvin Bishop walked up to Miller with a small gift: a bottle of homemade hot sauce from peppers Bishop grows in his Lagunitas backyard. Miller uncapped the bottle and took a swig, as Bishop’s eyes widened.

“I’ve never seen it done like that,” Bishop said.

“It stopped me from crying,” said Miller, smiling.

Friends of Norton Buffalo

Friends of Norton Buffalo # 2

Bonnie R, Roy Rogers 1-22-10

Friends of Norton Buffalo #3

Steve Miller Band & Bonnie Raitt @ The Fox Theatre

Steve Miller Band with Bonnie Raitt & Charlie Musselwhite- Crossroads

All the musicians paid their own expenses – travel, hotel, food – and some went to extraordinary lengths to be there. Ricky Peterson, Raitt’s keyboard player, missed the Friday show because of weather conditions in Minnesota, where he lives. Marin County utility keyboard man Audie de Lone substituted, but Peterson was there for the second night to play a spectacular keyboard duet with Raitt on “Nick of Time” (Huey Lewis never made it out of snowy Montana).

The shows and silent auction seemed to be on target to raise the $250,000 goal, enough to cover his medical expenses and retire his mortgage.

The five-hour concert laid out a banquet of music. Everybody played with everybody. Bishop joined the Doobie Brothers to sing his song “My Dog” and rattle off some blistering guitar. He came back to play with Miller and add still more blistering guitar. Blues harmonica virtuoso Musselwhite sat in with Raitt, the Doobies and Miller. Raitt traded molten blues guitar solos with the boys – Miller and Bishop – during the Miller band set and sang “Listen to the Music” with the Doobies.

George Thorogood played Bo Diddley with Miller, shaking Buffalo’s maracas. Michael Carabello of the original Santana band took over for Buffalo on congas in Miller’s set. Miller himself played the harmonica part to “Livin’ in the U.S.A.” – like he did before and hasn’t since Buffalo joined the band in 1977.

The party flowed backstage. With a couple hundred sporting backstage passes, old friends were seeing one another for the first time in years in every corner. Freddie Herrera, who ran the Keystone Berkeley nightclub through the ’70s and ’80s, a silver-haired fox about to celebrate his 75th birthday, knelt in front of a bench holding George Thorogood, Elvin Bishop and Pat Simmons of the Doobie Brothers and hugged all of them at once.

Attorney General Jerry Brown, who as mayor oversaw the downtown Oakland development that the new Fox anchors, wandered around backstage, looking a little like he showed up at the wrong party. Of course, the entire place did reek of marijuana smoke.

Buffalo was everywhere. His friends told each other stories about him. Thorogood told about Buffalo telling him that he went to prisons to give inmates music lessons on different instruments in his spare time. “Spare time?” said Thorogood. When Buffalo wasn’t with Miller, he did dates all over the country with Roy Rogers and when they weren’t working, he played smaller gigs with the Knockouts. When he was home in Paradise (Butte County), he worked in a trio with his wife.

Miller promised Buffalo he would take care of his music. The Steve Miller Band has a new album in the can with Buffalo on every track. The musicians at the Fox talked about making the Norton memorial an annual event. People are only now beginning to get around to understanding what a huge loss this is.

E-mail Joel Selvin

Source Copyright ©: SFGate
0 0 votes
Article Rating

Related Posts

Take a look at these posts
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Bonnie's Pride and Joy on Facebook

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons

Farm Aid 2021 – September 25 in Hartford, Connecticut ... See MoreSee Less

2 weeks ago
Video image

Comment on Facebook

LARGEST TREE IN THE WORLD

Location : Giant Forest of Sequoia National Park in Tulare County, California, USA.
The General Sherman Tree is the world's largest tree, measured by volume. It stands 275 feet (83 m) tall, and is over 36 feet (11 m) in diameter at the base. Sequoia trunks remain wide high up. Sixty feet above the base, the Sherman Tree is 17.5 feet (5.3 m) in diameter.

It is estimated to be around 2,300 to 2,700 years old.
... See MoreSee Less

3 weeks ago

Timeline PhotosStanding watch over the Sierra forests for thousands of years, the giant sequoias are yet another awe-inspiring sight to behold in Yosemite Mariposa County! 📷 by @colbyoutdoors

📰 | ow.ly/HgB650FdU6V (how to visit Yosemite the summer)

#YosemiteNation Visit Gold Country Visit California California High Sierra
... See MoreSee Less

1 month ago

Timeline PhotosRed Lake Treaty Camp is calling for urgent help. They woke up to movement as their digging getting closer to the river.

“We need people to Red Lake Camp. The equipment they moved yesterday is now moving and working on the side near the river. We need water protectors to come stand in solidarity with us to protect the water and our treaties.”

Riverside Cemetary thief river falls is best GPS coordinates to follow on maps.

11750 MN-32, Thief River Falls, MN 56701, USA
maps.google.com/maps?q=48.04091764200594%2C-96.20955593883991
... See MoreSee Less

2 months ago

2021 Blues Foundation Hart Fund Benefit ... See MoreSee Less

2 months ago
Video image

Comment on Facebook

What Makes This Singer Great? Bonnie Raitt ... See MoreSee Less

2 months ago
Video image

Comment on Facebook

Load more

Recommended Reading

Falling in love with Bonnie Raitt for the first time

Falling in love with Bonnie Raitt for the first time

November 10, 1971

Chris Stapleton, Bonnie Raitt Helm B.B. King Grammy Tribute

February 16, 2016

Jerry Garcia Band with Bonnie Raitt, Berkeley Greek 8.30.1987

September 1, 1987

CMT Crossroads Bonnie Raitt and Lyle Lovett – The Factory – Franklin – TN

December 15, 2005

Norton Buffalo Dies

November 1, 2009

Bonnie Raitt’s Blues

November 9, 2015
Will McFarlane

Talking with Guitarist Songwriter Will McFarlane

November 2, 2009

Stephen Bruton one of Austin’s best guitar players passes away

May 9, 2009

Bonnie Raitt attends the 25th Anniversary Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Concert at MSG – NY

October 30, 2009

Review: James Taylor, Bonnie Raitt deliver summer night delight at DTE

August 9, 2017