Crackdown Concerts

Madison Square Garden, City and County of New York, State of New York 10001 Friday October 31, 1986

Felt Forum, City and Couny of New York, State of New York 10001 Saturday November 1, 1986

About the Shows



About the Shows

The Venues

Madison Square Garden Santana Dates: June 27, 1975 - March 15, 1979 - September 18, 1982 - October 31, 1986 - February 23, 2003 - June 15, 2005 - April 8, 2008 - April 13, 2016

Felt Forum Santana Dates: October 14/15/16, 1971 - November 1, 1986

Originally called Madison Square Garden Center, the Garden opened on February 11, 1968, and is the oldest major sporting facility in the New York metropolitan area. It is the oldest arena in the NBA and the NHL. As of 2016, MSG is also the second-busiest music arena in the world in terms of ticket sales. Including two major renovations, its total construction cost was approximately $1.1 billion, and it has been ranked as one of the 10 most expensive stadium venues ever built.

The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden (formerly the Felt Forum), is a theater located in New York City's Madison Square Garden. It seats between 2,000 and 5,600 for concerts and can also be used for meetings, stage shows and graduation ceremonies. When the Garden opened in 1968, the theater was known as the Felt Forum, in honor of Irving Mitchell Felt, a New York businessman who led the drive to build a new Madison Square Garden.

Bill Graham revisited his old Bronx neighborhood in August 1986 and, appalled to see that the drug culture had effectively wiped out the local culture, foresaw a menacing problem in the crack craze. He teamed with David Maldonado to stage a Crack Benefit in the city, but scaled back plans several times since few shared his apprehension. Ultimately, two concerts were held; one in Madison Square Garden on October 31, 1986, and the other, an all-Latin show at the Felt Forum the following night. Santana played on both evenings.

About the Poster

The poster was designed by immensely popular pop-artist Keith Haring. In 1984, Haring had employed a young assistant who became addicted to crack. His struggle with the drug prompted Haring to come up with an idea for a large-scale mural in East Harlem, directly on the FDR Drive. The poster was created at the same time, and was used to help promote the 1986 "Crackdown on Crack" benefit concert in New York City.

Pop: Crack-Down, an Eclectic Benefit Concert. Jon Pareles. The New York Times November 2, 1986

Heavily policed and not quite sold out, the Crack-Down concert Friday night at Madison Square Garden was more like an indoor rock festival than a concert for a cause. The show - an ambitious bill with 1960's bands, African drumming, salsa and the rap trio Run-D.M.C. ran about six hours. No figures were immediately available on how much was raised for the Artists for Crack Education program, which plans to recruit celebrities to speak against the use of crack. For the occasion, Madison Square Garden's concession stands did not sell beer. Only a few performers mentioned the show's purpose - to raise money for anti-crack education programs. Only one, the salsa songwriter Ruben Blades, had much to say about it. ''Sooner or later,'' he said, ''the conditions that create the need to escape through drugs will be better understood, but in the meantime it's good to see people caring.'' The audience shrugged off such statements. Most of the crowd simply hunkered down and awaited favorite groups from the turn of the 70's, with sentiment running highest for the reunited Allman Brothers Band and for Crosby, Stills and Nash. It was a hit-and-miss concert - one that would have been better with four one-hour sets than half a dozen 35- to 45-minute ones.

The Allman Brothers Band, which has played only one other show this year and has no further plans to tour or record, was in good form. The group stuck to old material, reviving "One Way Out," "Stateboro Blues," "Blue Skies" and "Midnight Rider" - appropriate for a set that began at midnight. Those songs are blues-based, country-smoothed and laced with bits of jazz and gospel from the pianist Chuck Leavell. The high points of Friday's set came in Dickey Betts's guitar solos, with his ringing tone and slowly spiraling phrases, and in the crossfire between the drummers Jai Johnny Johanson and Butch Trucks. But a shortened set meant that a band that made its reputation with extended jams had to hold back.

Santana, which combines a Latin percussion section with a rock band, introduced an unexpected vocalist, Buddy Miles, whose career dates back to the late 1960's. Mr. Miles didn't do much with the Santana band's songs, but he delivered an impassioned version of his own "Them Changes," complete with flashy guitar solo. Santana, featuring Carlos Santana's lead guitar, worked up a percussive momentum during instrumental sections, particularly the climactic "Black Magic Woman." The harmonica player Paul Butterfield made cameo appearances with Santana and the Allman Brothers.

David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash performed at the Woodstock Festival in 1969, as did Santana; they have not aged as gracefully. Mr. Crosby was recently paroled from a jail sentence for drugs and weapons possession, and he responded to the crowd's affection by shouting himself hoarse by the end of the group's set. Although the trio's three-part harmonies were fairly ragged, every song was met with a roar of affection, and Stephen Stills came up with new, propulsive guitar parts in "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes."

Run-D.M.C. were greeted with open hostility from nearly half the audience; a scant majority chanted and shouted and waved along. But where an audience of fans turns Run-D.M.C.'s raps and braggadocio into community celebrations, the divided crowd reduced songs like "King of Rock" to self-assertive shtick.

With his band of keyboards, bass and percussion, Ruben Blades blends salsa and jazz-fusion; he writes story-songs and pan-American anthems that are both thoughtful and danceable. The audience didn't seem to understand his lyrics, which are in Spanish, but his impassioned singing and the music's catchiness bridged the cultural divide.

Babatunde Olatunji and Drums of Passion, a troupe of about a dozen drummers and dancers, opened the night with explosive West African rhythms. Mr. Santana sat in with Olatunji and Mr. Blades; the percussionist Tito Puente also joined Mr. Blades for a flamboyant timbales solo.

Madison Square Garden


Poster © Keith Haring
Friday October 31, 1986 Poster #1
Friday October 31, 1986 Poster #2
Friday October 31, 1986 Ticket
Friday October 31, 1986 Program (front)
Friday October 31, 1986 Program (back)


The Band: Santana #35

Carlos Santana (guitar/percussion/vocals), Alphonso Johnson (bass), Graham Lear (drums), Raul Rekow (percussion/vocals), Armando Peraza (percussion/vocals), Orestes Vilato (percussion/vocals), Chester Thompson (keyboard/vocals), Tom Coster (keyboard/vocals), Buddy Miles (guitar/vocals)

Friday October 31, 1986: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

Exact Set List. 38 minutes: Brotherhood - Primera Invasion - Open Invitation - She's Not There (1) - Them Changes/We Gotta Live Together (1) - Songs Of Freedom - Savor/Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen

Guest: Paul Butterfield (1)

Note: Before the Santana set, Carlos Santana is guest of Babatunde Olantunji. Carlos Santana, Tito Puente are guests of Ruben Blades for 13 minutes on: Muevete. After the Santana set, Carlos Santana plays with an All-Star band featuring Greg Allman, Dickey Betts, Paul Butterfield, Felix Cavalieri, David Crosby, Graham Nash, Babatunde Olatunji, Stephen Stills, Mick Taylor and various artists for 26 minutes on: Key To The Highway - Got My Mojo Working/Jingo. Broadcast live on American radio.

Saturday November 1, 1986: The Felt Forum, New York, NY

Exact Set List. 56 minutes: Serpentine Fire (1) - Incident At Neshabur (1) - Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen (1) - Oye Como Va/Evil Ways/Jingo/Once It’s Gotcha (1)(2) - Savor (1)(3) - Samba Pa Ti (1)(3)

Guests: Mike Stern (1), Tito Puente (2), Paquito D’Rivera (3)

Note: Before the Santana set, Carlos Santana is guest of Eddie Palmieri for 15 minutes on: ?, and guest of Ruben Blades for 17 minutes on: Muevete.


Friday October 31, 1986 Photos by Ebet Roberts

© Ebet Roberts
© Ebet Roberts
© Ebet Roberts
© Ebet Roberts

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