On this 44th anniversary, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young appeared at Woodstock on August 18, 1969, only their second public appearance as a group. Here’s a look back at how one of our more popular series in Baby Blues came to be.
In early 1992, my wife and I went to a concert—possibly the first since our second child had been born—to see Dan Fogelberg at the Celebrity Theater in Phoenix. My wife was a huge fan, and I had become one through her. We drove to the concert in our brand new minivan, which we’d purchased after selling our Volvo; we now had two children and needed the extra space to haul all the supplies and kid-paraphernalia and to give us room to manage car seats. The concert came on the heels of a three and a half year stretch of our younger one not sleeping through the night. We were overdue and primed for a concert date night.
When we pulled into the parking lot, we noticed we were far from the only concertgoers arriving in a minivan. The lot was packed with minivans. And Volvos. It was then that we realized we had hit that certain age, the age when we cared less about looking cool and more about safety and getting the job done. We melded into line with all the other thirty-ish and even forty-ish ticketholders who wore similar I-can’t-believe-we’re-out faces.
Once inside, there was an amazing feeling of relief, of escape, like slipping into an old memory. The theater had a bar, so we bought drinks. With alcohol, no less. My wife was happy—no, ecstatic—to oblige when she’d been carded by the bartender. We settled in for a couple hours of music bliss in-the-round. This was before we had cell phones, so there wasn’t the temptation to call home to check on the kids every few minutes. Actually, this was a time when I knew only one person with a cell phone, my art rep, who had one installed in his Beemer. It took up his entire console between the front seats.
So there we were, sipping our drinks and waiting for Dan Fogelberg to come out and sing to us. After a while, our drinks were getting low. I checked my watch. People around us checked their watches. We were past the start time of the concert.
Ten minutes, still checking my watch.
Twenty minutes, still no Dan Fogelberg. We were now restless and fidgeting.
Thirty minutes past due and our collective I-can’t-believe-we’re-out faces were turning into I’m-paying-for-a-babysitter-so-what’s the-hold-up faces.
At forty minutes, my wife suggested we start chanting just that. I was about ready to lead the audience in a rousing round of “We’ve got babysitters!” complete with footstomps, but Dan Fogelberg took the stage and we all sunk back into our bliss. At least partially back into our bliss. First we had to calculate how much the delayed start had cost us and determine if we had to find an ATM on the way home to make up the shortfall, or leave early to make it back before the sitter’s curfew.
Fogelberg was fantastic and chagrined over the late start. All was forgiven.
On the way home, an idea formed about how we could make hay out of the event in Baby Blues. I regaled Jerry with the saga of our concert experience and how it might make a good series of gags. He set to work, taking the highlights and separating them into five installments to create the story. Jerry needed a way to tie the story more into the world of Baby Blues, and thought the song, “Teach Your Children,” by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young would be perfect.
Because space in comic strips is limited, and we need to keep things as short as possible, the group had to be cut to Crosby, Stills & Nash.
Not long after the series ran, a producer acquaintance of ours had the idea to fax CSN the strips they were mentioned in. We heard back that they were very pleased by the series. Coincidentally, they were coming to Phoenix on August 9th for a concert. We and the producer were given backstage passes to meet David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash.
On the night of the CSN concert, we entered the parking lot in our minivan.
Déjà Vu—more minivans and Volvos than you could shake a stick at.
Jerry and I brought originals of the strips in the series to give to the group after the concert. Stephen Stills didn’t stick around long…I think he went off to ice his hand after the concert. As it turned out, David Crosby’s wife was a fan of the strip. He and his wife and Graham Nash talked with us and our wives for a little bit in the stark room backstage. Photos were taken.
So ended our little brush with icons of the Woodstock era.
We drove our minivan home and paid our sitter.
And I quietly thanked Dan Fogelberg for not starting on time.
(Sadly, Dan Fogelberg passed away December 16, 2007)
View the strips below: Darryl and Wanda see Crosby, Stills & Nash (Click to biggify.)