Friday, July 31, 2015

The Nice: "Fillmore East, 1969"

I was excited to find about this one when it came out. I really enjoyed the live material across three of their five albums, feeling that they were so much better live than in the studio. At least from what I've heard...I can only wish I'd been there!

It's a two-disc set, a composite of two shows from the Fillmore East, newly remixed from the original multi-track tapes, and the sound is nothing short of amazing. When I would listen to Elegy and Five Bidges, I was amazed at Brian Davison's drum sounds, but even more astonished to later find out that he was playing a small jazz-type kit. How did he get such a big sound out of such a small kit?

One interesting thing about this entire set is that Keith Emerson plays the Hammond L-100 all the way through (save for the opening of the "Five Bridges Suite") and that includes "Hang Onto A Dream", which was always played on the piano. The only aspect missing would be the sight of Keith bucking the organ across the stage, playing it from the rear, dragging a thumbnail across the spring-reverb on the bottom, and slamming it down on the stage, getting all kinds of feedback and weird noises from his battered Hammond.

A great companion to their small but fascinating discography, and a nice overview of their work, whether you've heard it or not.

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