Top Of The Mountain
Shell-Zee | Long Island, NY | 02/26/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Among the many fantastic shows I was fortunate enough to attend at New York's Fillmore East was a great double bill, Jack Bruce & Friends and Leslie West/Mountain. For those who never had the super fantasmagloria experience of attending The Fillmore East, I can only offer my sincere condolances. The place was pure magic. The show I'm referring to took place on a bitter cold and snowy Saturday night in early 1970. The scene in and around the theater was electric, or maybe it was something we induced on our way there that made it so. Either way I'll never forget seeing all the very young street urchins mingling about, ragged clothes and dirty faces, begging for spare tickets. The cabs jockeying for position along Second Ave and the sounds of The Rolling Stones singing "You Can't Always Get What You Want" on The PA system. It all made for a strange almost "Dickinsonian" like atmosphere.
Jack Bruce and Friends was made up of Bruce on bass and vocals, Larry Coryell on electric lead guitar, Mitch Mitchell on drums and Fleix Pappalardi on various string instuments and percussion. The set consisted of mostly jazz instumentals with a few selections from Bruce's debut solo album, "Songs For A Tailor". Great stuff throughout and a most appropriate opening for the "shock & awe" electric thunder to follow with Mountain.
Mountain's second album "Climbing" was released about three weeks prior to the Fillmore concert. The big hit single "Mississippi Queen" was climbing the charts and the beautiful Jack Bruce/Pete Brown ballard "Theme For An Imaginary Western" was also getting some airplay. Mountain was playing before a hometown audience, (he being a native of Long Island. Remember The Vagrants?) and having a ball with the crowd. The set was super high energy and thunderously loud....My ears are still ringing.
All in all I still find "Climbing" to be Mountain's most satisfying recording. Perhaps I'm a bit prejudice as a result of having seen them perform most of the material live on that wonderful evening at The Fillmore East. I still get chills hearing "Imaginary Western", "Never In My Life", "Boys In The Band" and the great acoustic guitar tour de force, "The Laird". When I hear this stuff it takes me back to that surreal wintery night on New York's lower East-Side. Those were the days my friend...Now if only my ears would stop ringing!"