Reunited, The Zombies are back with a U.S. tour underway and a new album, Still Got That Hunger that drops next Friday October 9th.Still Got That Hunger features a new version of their 1965 single “I Want You Back Again” along with nine brand new songs!
A centerpiece of The Zombies tour is the performance of the superlative album, Odessey and Oracle in its entirety. I’ve seen The Zombies play pieces of this cult classic live in concert before but not with the four original members and a backing band.
Enthusiastic to see them live on Oct 13th, in Ridgefield, CT at The Ridgefield Playhouse. Hopefully I will be able to buy a couple of autographed recordings that night for my collection 😉
The year was 1969. I was a 17-year-old high school graduate living and working in Connecticut. I was a babe in the woods when it came to New York City and “Live” rock concerts. My music tastes were forged listening intently to progressive rock radio station WNEW-FM 102.7.
The Fillmore East was the goal I had to experience. Bill Graham’s magic venue was constantly advertised on WNEW which made that passion stronger in my soul.
A fellow Jethro Tull fanatic scored four tickets at $5.50@ for us to see The Jeff Beck Group, Jethro Tull and The Soft White Underbelly perform at The Fillmore East on July 3rd, 1969. I was pumped. I could finally see my first “live” rock concert and it would take place at The Fillmore East! Little did I realize it would be the first of 425+ concerts in the next 46 years I would attend. This concert changed my life from radio station listener to active music participant. I have loved and nurtured the role of concert attendee ever since that day.
Since none of us drove a car, we rode the train from South Norwalk, CT to Grand Central Station. All the way down to the East Village we held a lively debate about our favorite band Jethro Tull and their first album, This Was. We loved to argue competitively which was the best song on the album. My favorite choice was “Serenade to a Cuckoo” by Rahsaan Roland Kirk. I fought for it vehemently as others articulated their favorites. Tull fanatics were we enjoying our obsession!
We took the IRT Lexington Avenue subway line to Astor Place. It was a cool and comfortable July evening in the East Village neighborhood. Our anticipation grew as we approached The Fillmore East venue on 2nd Avenue. The smell of pot and incense filled the air. The sidewalks were crowded with long-haired hippies like us. I was approached several times before we went inside if I had a spare ticket. I never responded and just kept walking. The famous lighted marquee above showed in black letters, July 3 Jeff Beck/Jethro Tull. We surrendered our tickets at the door which the Fillmore usher proceeded to tear in half. He gave us each a program (which I have since lost, sigh) and then he escorted us to our seats under the balcony overhang. He had long hair to the middle of his back and was wearing a Fillmore East green basketball jersey. He used his flashlight to point out our four seats in aisle M. Then he smiled and said, “Enjoy the show.” I thought what a cool job wondering how many great shows had he seen?
The theater was bustling as people milled about. The banter of the crowd was loud and lively. The stage was smaller than I thought it would be. I was fine with that as it added to the intimate nature of the celebration.
Soon the lights went down and Kip Cohen (Managing Director) announced the opening act. “Ladies and Gentleman please give a warm New York City welcome for Soft White Underbelly.” The first act Soft White Underbelly was a local Long Island band. They would evolve to later become Blue Oyster Cult. I was not familiar with this band’s music at all. I loved their raw energy and loud, thrashing guitars. I watched as Light by Pablo set the backdrop for their set with lots of uses of white and grey graphics. At one point I saw an image of the great white whale Moby Dick thrashing in the ocean behind them. I loved witnessing the use of lighting and graphics accented the artist’s music as they played. This art form fascinated me. Soft White Underbelly played a short, 30 minute set and received a nice round of applause for their effort.
We started yelling, “Jethro Tull, Jethro Tull”, repeatedly. The guys in front of us gave us a look of disapproval but we didn’t care. We heard the announcer say, “From England, Jethro Tull”. Next thing you know Ian Anderson and the Jethro Tull band took the stage. Ian was a whirling dervish that night. Silver flute in hand wearing a red checkered bath robe with long suede boots laced all the way up to his knee. He had this wild look in his eyes and he often stood on one foot as he played the flute. Off they went into the first song from This Was, “My Sunday Feeling”.
I was jumping up and down with Tull as they rocked the house. Wow, I was really getting to see my favorite band perform right in front of me. They sounded fantastic, much more dynamic than their album ever conveyed.
We quickly learned that Mick Abrahams, original Tull lead guitarist, had been replaced by Martin Barre. I was disappointed because I loved Abrahams style and wanted to see him play. Martin Barre, as the new Jethro Tull took a bit of getting used to that night. (Martin Barre became a fixture with Jethro Tull for the next four decades.)
We did not know yet that we were about to be treated to several new tracks from their “unreleased” second studio recording, Stand Up.
The lighting for Jethro Tull was a thick, dark, wooded glen. The screen changed into fantastic shades of forest green and blue. I recall the leaves turning bronze and copper which offset the trees smartly.
The song I liked the best from Stand Up was “Fat Man”. It was Ian Anderson seated singing and playing mandolin and Clive Bunker on bongos with bells on his feet staying in time. It was a departure from the songs on This Was. I found the song about being fat enchanting and fun. Ian Anderson’s wry sense of humor came across on these lyrics.
The Fillmore East concert was held on the eve of the Newport Jazz Festival on July 4th. George Wein had decided that Newport Jazz would go Rock that year. Jethro Tull and The Jeff Beck Group along with Led Zeppelin were scheduled to change jazz festival history as part of a transformative lineup in Newport, Rhode Island. Ian Anderson mentioned to the audience how he couldn’t wait to perform with Rahsaan Roland Kirk.
Then Jethro Tull played my favorite song, “Serenade to a Cuckoo”. I was enthralled to get my private wish of hearing this song played live answered. Tull justified their place at Newport when they performed this jazz classic.
Their set ended too quickly for us. We yelled and screamed “Tull” as they excitedly vanished to wildly enthusiastic applause.
The Jeff Beck Group headlined The Fillmore East concert. Jeff Beck was a very skillful guitar slinger set against the light show extravaganza. The lighting effect for The Jeff Beck Group was the psychedelic bubble formed in a petri dish on an overhead projector. I was reminded of the cover of Iron Butterfly’s In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida as the bubble throbbed and mutated above the band. I was witnessing a member of the Yardbirds. How cool was that?
Rod Stewart was vocalist extraordinaire for Jeff Beck. He was the dandy with a long scarf that he threw about his neck as he strutted the stage like a peacock. He was very tall and the women were taken with him. He was the sex symbol we would later read about in the seventies. I loved his gravelly voice.
The Jeff Beck Group also featured Ron Wood (Small Faces, Rolling Stones) on bass guitar and Tony Newman on drums. They tore the roof off The Fillmore East venue that night.
After the concert we walked back to the subway stop, making a pit stop at Gramophone a record shop where I purchased Beck-Ola by The Jeff Beck Group. I wanted to become more familiar with the songs I heard them do that evening. I still own that album and play it when the mood strikes me.
Years later I ended up seeing Blue Oyster Cult right up the street from where I live, Jethro Tull six more times (not including the Ian Anderson Rubbing Elbow Tours, which is another story for another day) and Jeff Beck twice at Madison Square Garden.
The Fillmore East – 105 Second Avenue, East Village
The Fillmore East survived just four years. Rock music was moving to the arenas and stadiums. The Fillmore business model could no longer afford to pay the bands who made our music. The Greenwich Village Society for Historical Preservation commemorated The Fillmore East on October 9, 2014 with this plaque.
There was a time in New York City Rock History when The Fillmore East and the Academy of Music were THE Rock Palaces where rock music ruled the planet. Both venues were based in the East Village, not too far apart from each other.
Thanks to Morrison Hotel Gallery in SoHo we can revisit that era through the art of the rock photographer’s camera lens.
On Thursday, May 7th from 7-9pm at the Morrison Hotel Gallery, located at 116 Prince Street in SoHo, there will be an opening reception of an exhibition of photography by Amalie R. Rothschild and Bill Green. This show features photographs shot at the Fillmore East and the Academy of Music here in New York City. You may RSVP HEREby email.
Pete Townsend has that unique talent to reinvent himself with his music. Imagine you write, score and deliver two major rock operas in your life. That is an amazing feat. The evolution of Quadrophenia into “Classic Quadrophenia” adds dimensionality and superb texture. For the last three years Townshend has worked closely with his partner Rachel Fuller on brand new arrangements for orchestra, soloists and choir. The results add a greater meaning to our existence through love, sea and life’s epic journey.
Classic Quadrophenia will be released by the esteemed classical label Deutsche Grammophon. It features the London Oriana Choir and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The world premiere will take place on July 5th, 2015, at the Royal Albert Hall, London. Would love to attend that event.
Here is the first taste of the bountiful summer harvest, “Love Reign O’er Me”. British tenor Alfie Boe is stellar as lead vocalist!
Doors Open: 6:30 PM, Show Starts: 7:30 PM – All Ages
Part of the Whitesnake push will be their first new studio album In four years, The Purple Album set for release on May 19th via Frontiers Music SRL.
It’s interesting that Deep Purple will be criss-crossing the Americas at the same time as Whitesnake. I mentioned the Deep Purple Connecticut concert date last month on this blog. I wonder if their paths will cross and they will jam together somewhere along the journey.
“It’s a tribute. A homage. It’s a huge thank you from me to Deep Purple for the opportunity I was given over 40 years ago,” states David Coverdale. “As I said to Ritchie, you guys set me on an incredible journey that continues today and I couldn’t have asked for better teachers. The University of Deep Purple was an extraordinary, amazing school to learn from. We can’t wait to play these songs in concert!”
The American Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford, Ct. holds a unique space inside the MusicOfOurHeart. We saw wonderful plays and concerts there. I hope the theatre gets its well deserved renovation.
I read this week that the town of Stratford has selected a plan by the Stratford Stage Group which involves renovating the theater and building an inn on the site.
I drove around the theatre yesterday and discovered there will be a program by the Shakespeare Company this summer which will feature Twelfth Night and Henry V.
I reflected on the times in the past I had seen plays and concerts in this beautiful theatre.
My appreciation for Shakespeare like many others commenced in high school English. We studied in 10th and 11th grades, As You Like It (1967) and Macbeth (1968). I saw both plays in the Spring at the American Shakespeare Theatre during my high school days. I remember having lunch outside on the grounds at the picnic tables.
Othello – 1981
Othello starred James Earl Jones as Othello , Christopher Plummer as Iago and Kelsey Grammer as Michael Casio. The play premiered in Stratford before opening on Broadway.
1) MT. Airy (Tom Chapin) and Harry Chapin – 1/25/74
This was the first of eight Harry Chapin concerts we attended. We loved Harry Chapin. I was fortunate to meet him, interview him twice. I saw him record the album Verities and Balderdash at Paul Leka’s studio in Bridgeport in 1974.
We saw NRPS four times. This was the third concert where they were the only act to perform.
We first saw them with Jerry Garcia on pedal steel guitar in 1970 at the Capitol Theater in Portchester, NY. They were the opening act for The Grateful Dead that night.
4/7/74 – American Shakespeare Theater – Stratford, CT
First Set: Panama Red / Lonesome LA Cowboy /Austin, Texas / She’s No Angel / One Too Many Stories / LA Lady / Henry / Sunday Susie / Teardrops In My Eyes / Sutter’s Mill / Neon Rose / Tico Tico / Parson Brown / Sweet Lovin’ One / You Should Have Seen Me Runnin’ / Dead Flowers / Truck Drivin’ Man
Second Set: I Don’t Know You / Dim Lights, Thick Smoke (And Loud, Loud Music) / Portland Woman / Devil Doll / Lochinvar
I often think of the days in the late 60s and early 70s I listened to progressive FM music on WNEW-FM 102.7 from New York City. My favorite disk jockey was Scott Muni, Scotsso was his nickname. He often played this song by The Nice, “Little Arabella”.
I went looking for the original studio cut that Scottso would play and found it on YouTube.
There is also a live recording of Little Arabella from The Fillmore East. The best rock palace of all time!
I place a significance on the live concert experience. I thank Bill Graham for formulating live music as an art form. Many music promoters follow in his footsteps with the venues they manage, the fans they cater to and the artists they present to use live in person. But none will ever equal his achievements to the art of presenting live music and supporting humanitarian causes on a macro scale.
Through rock memorabilia, photographs, ephemera, and psychedelic art in the form of the iconic Fillmore concert posters,Bill Graham and the Rock & Roll Revolution explores the momentous cultural transformations of the 1960s–1980s through the lens of rock & roll. The year 2015 marks the thirtieth anniversary of Live Aid and the fiftieth anniversary of Graham’s first-ever concert, as well as the Grateful Dead’s live début. Commemorate these events by celebrating a true pioneer who helped revolutionize rock into the global industry it is today.
John Glatt’s book begins with a foreword by Joshua White who founded the legendary Joshua Light Show. The rock music history that unfolded had a unique illuminated art as its backdrop from the art of Joshua White and his team. I was fortunate to witness this light show at The Fillmore East in June of 1969 at a Jeff Beck Group show I have written about on this blog.
Should you wish to know more about the Joshua Light Show and the team that provided the lighting I refer you to the book, Live at the Fillmore East A Photographic Memoir by Amalie R. Rothschild.
I am eager to acquire John Glatt’s books to add them to my rock music concert library. I am certain his books will be a valuable read of depth and insight. These books are certain to provide invaluable knowledge about how Bill Graham conducted business with the famous rock musicians in the day.
I have been fortunate to experience rock music artists performing with a full symphony on stage with them. The collaboration of strings, brass, woodwinds and tympani set against rock has been extraordinary. The two concert moments that transfigured the music of our heart were Yes in 2001 (captured on DVD as Yes Symphonic Live) and Jeff Beck in 2010 performing with a symphony group, Nessun Dorma by Puccini, it is an aria from the opera Turandot.
Which leads me to Kitaro, who I have yet to see live in concert. Kitaro is #1 on my list of must see concerts. I’m beginning to think I will have to travel elsewhere in the world to see him perform but I am perfectly willing to do so, 🙂
Recorded Live at the Halic Congress Center in Istanbul, Turkey over two evenings in March of 2014, Grammy and Golden Globe winning artist Kitaro’s “Symphony Live In Istanbul” is breathtaking. The album features new musical material while also including eight of the acclaimed artist’s most requested and popular compositions.
This amazing performance marks Kitaro’s first-ever recording for the Domo Music Group balancing the artists trademark signature sound and expanding it to new heights with the addition of a full live symphony orchestra.
Kitaro noted “In 1980, I began composing and producing music about the passageway and excursions of the Silk Road. This past spring, I embarked upon my first Symphonic Tour that reached Russia, Eastern and Central Europe and had the distinct pleasure of performing in Istanbul; a place where from ancient times to modern times, has flourished as an important hub of the Silk Road where Europe and Asia meet.”