Every once in a while, something lives up to the hype.
Shit, those dudes could PLAY!
Sure, listen for the Hendrix. But be surprised by the Lighthouse cover of "Eight Miles High". And even the Doobies’ "Black Water".
But what made me write this now is Cream’s take on "NSU" from March 1968. It’s FEROCIOUS! For the youngsters out there, you won’t BELIEVE it’s only three players. With Ginger pounding and Eric proving why so many THOUGHT he was God back then. He doesn’t play like this anymore. Now he grimaces and looks towards the heavens. Back in the day, when he was in this band, EC stood almost stock still. And just WAILED! Pulling shit from his guitar that must have come from somewhere deep inside. Because there was evidence of almost no external movement.
And the other highlight so far was James Taylor singing "Fire and Rain" from May 1970. Although I wasn’t at THIS show, I did see him TWICE on that same endless tour. April in Cambridge, Mass., and May in Port Chester, New York. Just him and his guitar. Wow. JT doesn’t even SING the same way anymore. Now he’s a crooner. Whereas back then he was like Eric, channeling from somewhere deep in his soul. It was like watching a movie. With someone else’s life unfolding in front of your very eye. But BETTER than a movie. Because music penetrates you, is alive in a way no film can ever be.
I have no idea how this dude got the rights to play this stuff. Maybe it’s in the original Bill Graham contracts.
I’m not saying that compilations from this era would sell five million copies, but THIS is the real music. Grace Slick singing with Great Society. Neil Young playing a tune from "Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere" before almost ANYBODY knew who he even was, back in March of ’70. Quicksilver Messenger Service tearing it up.
Unfortunately, you can’t fast-forward, you’ve got to listen to everything. And every time I’ve launched, it’s started at the same Miles Davis tune. So, when you’ve got a few hours, when you’re in front of the computer, dial this up. I guarantee you there will be moments that reach you.
Shit, you can hear the energy and passion not only in the PLAYING of Cream, but in the audience response. This was BEFORE "Sunshine Of Your Love" broke on AM radio. The band’s playing like it has something to prove. And let me tell you, they pass the audition.