Live At The Fillmore East
Live, 2 CD
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Live At The Fillmore East is the 50th anniversary of these legendary unreleased recordings from the Fillmore East, New York City, Friday April 5 & Saturday April 6, 1968. Features stunning extended versions of My Generation, A Quick One..., Shakin' All Over and two ripping versions of Eddie Cochran numbers - Summertime Blues and C'mon Everybody (the latter unavailable elsewhere). The 2 CD version comes in a deluxe edition 6-panel digipak with a 12-page booklet including new liner notes and rare photos.
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This concert has long been a mainstay in the bootleg music community. These bootleg releases varied considerably in sound quality and selection, and, as in this release,consisted of either the April 5th or April 6th concert or a combination of both. The highlight of this (finally!) official release is that it contains the entire thirty three minutes of “My Generation.” Previous bootlegs of their concert on April 5, 1968 had the music in “My Generation” fade off into netherworld.
Word was that this concert was destined for legitimate release back in the day. For whatever reason it never saw the official light of day. Maybe the band felt that the entire concert was not up to par. In some bootlegs, Keith Moon, the usual dynamo, seemed to drift into a “mellotrone mode” towards the end of the concert, as if he was just tuckered out.
Perhaps it was not officially released for sound quality reasons; even with all the magic that can be applied in the remastering process now, the play back in this cd still has a unfinished quality. The sightly unpolished sound adds to the raw energy of the band’s performance. It is unique, even for a band as raw and energetic as The Who once was. The Who were at their prime and in top form. Townshend’s guitar solos are inspired. He played as a mad-man, a demon possessed, and the solos are driven and, in an odd way, mesmerizing.
Townshend’s verbal banter in between songs highlights the music and is really something to behold. Much of this verbal banter are left out in bootleg releases but available in this release. It is evident from these intros that the band had been thrown out of several hotels prior to the concert, no doubt because of Keith Moon’s antics, adding to their rock furor. The intensity of the playing can be attributed, in part at least, from the fact that they were tired, exasperated, and, charitably put, ticked-off. This particular recording came a few days after the assassination of Martin Luther King. There was electricity in the air, and that urgency is plainly evident in the recording. That electricity is channeled in the band’s performance. It was evident in the tenor of Townshend’s banter, his guitar playing, the band’s overall performance.
This is The Who at their best. Listen and enjoy.
My only caveat is a purely personal one -- this is a great release, and I do love it, but I'm just not embracing it the way I would have expected to, possibly because it's shown up too late in the day for me to do that. It's while listening to this that I realized that I've not taken Pete Townshend's advice -- I didn't die before I got old.