There were a couple of cool shows I caught this spring as a warmup to the upcoming summer concert season. To celebrate the release of its self-titled CD on Tapete, Bambi Kino played a three-night residency at Bowery Electric, in Manhattan. I caught the group’s April 20th show and it was even better than its performance last summer at a private party that I attended. The group is tighter and more comfortable as a band and was clearly having a great time. Its set still consists of music that the Beatles were performing in their early Hamburg days. Some of the people from the Slipper Room (which is closed for renovations) added a seedy, yet fun Burlesque feel to the proceedings and made the evening a great night out musically and visually.
Raphael Saadiq played the Westhampton Beach PAC on May 21st in support of his new release Stone Rollin’ (Columbia). Saadiq is the lone American spearheading the r&b and soul revival that has been going on for several years, but which has been dominated by British artists. Saadiq’s newest band is real tight and provides a crack, guitar-based foundation for his sound. The show primarily consisted of material from Saadiq’s latest album and previous breakthrough, The Way I See It, although “Anniversary” from his earlier solo period received a great reaction. Saadiq puts on a great concert and shows flashes of Stevie Wonder, Sam Cooke and Smokey Robinson. Oddly, there was no encore, but the audience definitely left pleased.
As a kickoff to the summer concert season, let’s take a look at some recent live CDs, CD/DVDs and DVDs. The Dave Matthews Band continues to release live CDs and DVDs at a fairly consistent rate. Live In New York City (Bama/Rags/RCA) is a double-CD set of the group’s historic concert at Citi Field on July 17th, 2010 as part of its continuing Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King tour, its first tour without the late LeRoi Moore. This is the third live release since Moore’s death (Live at Wrigley Field is also just about to be released). As it has done throughout this tour, the band makes music that simultaneously celebrates and remembers Moore, while moving ahead with its new lineup.
Live concerts, recorded many years ago, that have never been released before, have just come out on CD. Bob Marley and the Wailers Live Forever (Island/Tuff Gong), is a double-CD set recorded at the Stanley Theatre, in Pittsburgh, in September of 1980. The concert was the last recorded of Marley live and includes stellar support from his late-period incarnation of the Wailers. This is a must-have for serious reggae fans. Long Island music fans will be thrilled to know that Emerson Lake & Palmer’s 1978 stop at the Nassau Coliseum has now been released. Live at Nassau Coliseum ‘78 (Shout Factory), a double-CD, captures the band at the height of its prog-rock rule. Fans of classic English folk-rock will no doubt race to their local music store to pick up a copy of Ebbets Field 74 (Itsaboutmusic.com) from Fairport Convention With Sandy Denny. This Denver, Colorado, recording features Denny’s time in Fairport Convention when Richard Thompson was not in the group. This single-CD, intimate club performance is a thing of true beauty and yet another unearthed musical remembrance of one of the greatest voices in English music history and the single greatest English folk-rock band. The band Gram Parsons formed after leaving The Byrds and a group that included a future Eagle (Bernie Leadon), was The Flying Burrito Brothers, who, even without Parsons made some great music. Authorized Bootleg/Fillmore East, New York, N.Y. – Late Show, November 7, 1970 (Hip-O Select/A&M) is a single CD that features the Rick Roberts-led era of the band at its best at Bill Graham’s East Coast palace of rock. This limited-edition package is an excellent addition to the Burritos’ exalted musical legacy and thankfully yet another living musical document of one of the great rock music halls of all time. To launch their label Blue Castle Records, Graham Nash and David Crosby have put out their inaugural release, Another Stoney Evening, of a concert they performed at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in 1971. While listening to this mellow, acoustic recording made during the height of their musical powers, one can almost smell the incense and patchouli.
There are several recent live CD/VD packages worth searching out. Live at Shea Stadium: The Concert (Columbia/Legacy), from Billy Joel, is a double-CD/single DVD package that chronicles Joel’s historic concert at Shea Stadium that marked the final concert at the Mets’ former home. The concert features Joel’s best-loved songs and his crack band, along with such superstar guests as Tony Bennett, John Mayer, Roger Daltrey and others. The real highlight, though, is Paul McCartney’s appearance on Beatle classics “I Saw Her Standing There” and “Let It Be.” Songs From the Road (Columbia/Legacy), from Leonard Cohen, is a DVD/CD of performances from Cohen’s triumphant comeback world tour. The performances, from 2008 and 2009, are accompanied on the DVD by backstage footage. Live In London (Sire), from Regina Spektor, is a CD/DVD release that features a live concert recorded and filmed at the Hammersmith Apollo Theatre in London. The DVD also includes backstage footage, sound checks and more.
Several recent releases feature live concerts and can be purchased as either a single CD or a single DVD. The Avett Brothers Live, Volume 3 (American), captures the group in concert just before it was to release its major label debut and breakthrough album, I and Love and You. This North Carolina homecoming concert shows just how amazing this band is live. Rock ‘n’ Roll Party Honoring Les Paul (Eagle) is yet another chapter in the great re-birth of Jeff Beck. Recorded at the Iridium Jazz Club in Manhattan, the concert also features guests Brian Setzer, Gary U.S. Bonds and Trombone Shorty. The real discovery here, though, is Imelda May, who not only does justice to the Mary Ford vocal tributes here, but who is an extraordinary vocalist and yet another great Beck discovery.
Finally on DVD is Hendrix (Experience Hendrix/Legacy). The one and only concert captured on film of the great Band of Gypsys is presented here in its original black-and-white glory from the Fillmore East on New Year’s Day 1970. This concert documentary also includes Hendrix, Mitch Mitchell, Noel Redding, Billy Cox, Buddy Mules, Vernon Reid, Slash, Lenny Kravitz and engineer Eddie Kramer discussing the band and its legacy.
Rockin’ The Fillmore
There is also the original Band of Gypsys album, which was one of the many albums released of a concert recorded at one of the two Fillmore Auditoriums. This month marks the 40th anniversary of the closing of the two Fillmore halls in New York and San Francisco. To mark this sad date, I’ve assembled a list of the live albums released of concerts recorded at either the Fillmore East or the Fillmore West. I have not included any bootlegs, recent CD-age issues, or reissues. If I’ve missed anything, or if you’d like to comment on your favorite album from the list or recall a favorite Fillmore show you might have attended, drop us a line.
4 Way Street – Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
At Fillmore East – The Allman Brothers Band
Eat A Peach – The Allman Brothers Band
Bless It’s Pointed Little Head – Jefferson Airplane
Elegy – The Nice
The Album – The Nice
Fillmore East, June 1971 – The Mothers
Flowers of Evil – Mountain
Grateful Dead, Bear’s Choice – Grateful Dead
Happy Trails – Quicksilver Messenger Service
In Concert – Derek & the Dominoes
Mad Dogs & Englishmen – Joe Cocker
Black Beauty: Miles Davis at Fillmore West – Miles Davis
Miles Davis at Fillmore: Live at the Fillmore East – Miles Davis
Performance Rockin’ the Fillmore – Humble Pie
The Real Thing – Taj Mahal
Sometime In New York City – John Lennon
The Turning Point – John Mayall
Wheels of Fire – Cream
Live Cream – Cream
Live at Fillmore Auditorium – Chuck Berry
Golden Filth – The Fugs
Joplin In Concert – Janis Joplin
The Live Adventures of Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper – Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper
Live at Bill Graham’s Fillmore West – Mike Bloomfield
At Fillmore – Don Ellis
Bach Live at Fillmore East – Virgil Fox
Live at Fillmore West – King Curtis
Aretha Live at Fillmore West – Aretha Franklin
Love, Peace and Happiness – The Chambers Brothers
Live Johnny Winter And – Johnny Winter
Live at Fillmore East – Buffalo Bob Smith
Last Exit – Traffic
Fillmore: The Last Days – Various Artists