The first experience I had with the Mind Garage was in the summer of 1967 when I took my buck and a quarter gallon of beer and headed to the Pleasant Valley Volunteer Fire Hall to hear the Glass Menagerie. The bands that played there were the usual fraternity party/sock hop style bands that you normally heard during that era. There were some pretty talented bands taking shape in the Fairmont area during the "summer of love" but I was blown away by the sound of the band that night. My gallon of beer never left the trunk as I just stood and listened and watched the Glass Menagerie perform. And I was not alone. Many others did the same. The general comment that seemed to float around while the band was on break was "man these guys are fuckin' good."
Later on at a Fairmont club called "Bunny's" where I used to frequent, a band was set to play called the Mind Garage. When I asked if they were any good a friend told me they were that Glass Menagerie band that played the fire hall. When I listened to them that night I was amazed that they were a whole lot better than before. I saw them a couple more times at "Bunny's" and it was a better performance every time. They packed the house wall to wall, something that the "Zombies" of "She's Not There" and "Time of the Season" fame was unable to do.
The absolute best show the Mind Garage put on that I was witness too was in November of 1968 at the Fairmont Theater in Fairmont West Virginia. The Show was billed as "a Celebration of Life" and a "Total Electric Happening." I picked up my girlfriend, Donna, now my wife, and went over two hours early because I wanted a good seat. When I got there several were already gathered in front of the theater. As time passed the entire street filled up and the police gave up trying to make people line up and just routed traffic around the main street.
This was a large old style theater with a balcony that held a lot of people but I could see it was going to be packed. Donna was knocked down once from the pushing crowd and things were starting to get pretty hairy when they finally opened the doors and let us in. When we entered the lobby out of the corner of my eye I could see someone in a tub taking a bath so I knew this was not going to be a routine thing.
There were other performers and acts (the band that opened was The Overwhelming Odds ) including a bizarre psych fashion show and dancers but the Mind Garage was the show. They performed with a light show and they were great. And you could not ask for a better way to watch their show because you could just set back and take it all in. The acoustics were just perfect and the sound was mind blowing.
The Mind Garage not only had the right sound but the band had a spark or charisma or magic. They just clicked. We have seen many other rock concerts by bands much more famous both indoors and out, but perhaps because It was the first real rock concert for us, the Mind Garage at the Fairmont Theater is the one Donna and I look back upon as the most memorable. They were far out in front of the curve and ahead of their time.
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