John McLaughlin has been my favorite musician for the past 35 years. He is one of the most accomplished and respected guitarists in the world. He is astoundingly proficient technically on both acoustic and electric guitar. He has a profound grasp of music and guitar theory. He can play world-class jazz, rock, blues, and world fusion music. His groups and compositions over the course of his career show remarkable creative diversity. To my mind, he's an indubitable genius who has given me and countless others innumerable hours of joy and inspiration.
And at no time did I feel more joy and inspiration from his music than I did at a concert at the Warfield Theater in San Francisco on a Saturday night in December of 1980, when he, Al DiMeola, and flamenco guitar legend Paco DeLucia put on an acoustic guitar concert for the ages. In fact, it, or, rather, the previous night's showing has been preserved for the ages in one of the most popular guitar albums of all time--Friday Night in San Francisco . But I saw them the next night, and, if anything, they were even better. Never have I attended a concert that swept me and the rest of the audience away with so much impassioned virtuosity. It was magical and one of the greatest experiences of my life.
I have just discovered video from that concert on YouTube, and I'm in heaven when I watch it and relive the bliss of that night. Here is a video of a McLaughlin solo from that night. I'm looking forward to seeing more of that concert on YouTube or somewhere else if and when it becomes available.