In the summer of 1970 I was in Rotterdam for a pop festival featuring a good number of excellent acts (this was the festival where I fell asleep just as Pink Floyd started their set) including an American band called The Flock. I ended up with their two (?) LPs, neither of which captured the performance I saw. The band supported a violinist and I still vividly remember him at the front of the stage, hair blowing in the wind as his violin screamed out some of the most incredible sounds I’d ever heard.
Fast forward a year or so when a friend of mine had the late night FM show on a radio station where no one gave a damn what was played during those hours. He had a enormous blues collection but when I asked about the violinist, Jerry Goodman, he whipped out something called The Inner Mounting Flame and proceeded to play the entire thing over the air — quite possibly the first or only time that was ever done, at least in central California. The phone lines lit up and not in a good way; he was amazed that he had that many listeners.
Fast forward another year or two and we find me and some friends sitting down in the balcony of Portland’s Paramount Theater to catch Mahavishnu Orchestra live. A single microphone hung down above the stage and as a stagehand passed by and coughed the sound was much like a passing freight train. Hmm, this is going to be loud. (Did I mention we were all completely baked?) This was the only concert I’ve ever attended in which the music pressed me back into my seat like a big warm hand. And that’s the problem with this video: there is no way you can crank your PC’s volume up to that level. But you could try. Just don’t blame me when you lose your hearing.