Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Magical Mystery Listening Tour #54

Finishing up the "Fillmore" albums, both East and West (although there are many live albums still to come that were recorded at these venues!)

The Who - Fillmore East, NYC 4/6/68
The Allman Brothers Band - Fillmore East, NYC 6/27/71
The Allman Brothers Band - Fillmore East, NYC 9/23/70
Led Zeppelin - Fillmore West, SF 1/11/69
The Allman Brothers Band - Fillmore West, SF 1/28/71
The Allman Brothers Band - Fillmore West, SF 1/29/71
The Allman Brothers Band - Fillmore West, SF 1/31/71
Led Zeppelin - Fillmore West, SF 4/24/69
Led Zeppelin - Fillmore West, SF 4/27/69 (early show)
Led Zeppelin - Fillmore West, SF 4/27/69 (late show)
The Who - Fillmore West, SF 6/19/69
Santana - Fillmore West, SF 7/4/71

Opening things up with a bang is a blistering Who set from the Fillmore East in early 1968, the day after Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated (which Pete alludes to during "A Quick One, While He's Away").  The show has pristine sound as it was originally recorded for a live album before being shelved, and it is the closest the Who ever came to jamming like Cream or Hendrix onstage; while they would have long jams and improvisations throughout their career, here their jamming is almost completely freeform and several of the long songs (Relax, Shakin' All Over, My Generation) are absolutely fantastic. It also has rare live versions of "Little Billy" and "My Way." A trio of Allman Brothers Band shows are next, including the closing show of the Fillmore East in 1971 and the audio to a professionally filmed video of the band used for a Fillmore East documentary in 1970. Both are just blistering, as are a trio of nights at the Fillmore West show from the band early in '71. Four Led Zeppelin shows follow, including the earliest soundboard recording of them from the Fillmore West in early 1969, a month into their first ever US tour. This is raw, unbridled Led Zeppelin, playing with reckless abandon and winning over audiences and blowing minds...keep in mind that they were at the bottom of the bill at this early stage! Their other three shows from the Fillmore West are from an excellent run of shows they did there in April 1969, including the best version of As Long As I Have You from the early show on the 27th...20 minutes of pure magic. A great Who show from the Fillmore West in June '69 comes next, where they have to cut the encore section short (after a long and amazing concert) so that they can board a red-eye flight back to New York to appear in court the next morning! The story behind this: the last time they'd played the Fillmore East earlier in 1969, they threw what they thought was a stage invader off the front of the stage, only to find out later it was a plainclothes policeman trying to warn the crowd about a fire next door! The last show of this batch is a great live gig from Santana from the closing night of the Fillmore West on Independence Day in '71. And with that, these two legendary venues, by the middle of the summer in 1971, had been closed down. Bill Graham still continued to put legendary concerts on at Winterland in SF for many more years, as well as other venues in the Bay Area and New York City, but two of the seminal venues for live rock music in the 1960s and early 70s were gone.

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