Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Rockpalast West Coast Legends Vol 3|
Genres: Music Video & Concerts
Considered one of the best concerts of the first Rockpalast era (1977-1986), This DVD presents Randy California and his band, SPIRIT, at their best during the monumental March 5th 1978 episode. Featuring special guest Dick... more »
Disappointing, yet essential!
Jazz Officer Spaak | Connecticut, USA | 05/17/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Because of the paucity of filmed documentation of this band, I felt compelled to purchase this disc "sight unseen." At the heart of this unit is "The Greatest Drummer in the World," Mr. Ed Cassidy, and I had to check him out visually. On each side of his regular drum kit sits a symphony orchestra's bass drum--misidentified as "tympani" in the booklet accompanying the disc. I was surprised that he mostly used regular drumsticks on these beasties rather than heftier strikers. And he does get to do a solo turn in the course of this nearly two hour concert filmed for German TV in March 1978 (more on the solo shortly). This version of Spirit lacks Jay Ferguson; the lineup is Randy California on guitar and synthesizer, Cassidy, and Larry "Fuzzy" Knight on bass guitar. Why do I rate this project only 3 stars? There are two major problems: The ego of Mr. California and the obnoxiousness of the studio audience. Randy wades into the audience to "serenade" whatever attractive females he spots, and by the time he uses his teeth on his strings (a la Hendrix) for the sixth time, you're thinking "Maybe three times would've bloody well sufficed!" Oh, and by the way, he's not a very good vocalist, truth be told. In addition to these sins, he employs some kind of primitive synthesizer to emit airhorn-like blasts almost at random, adding no musical value to the performance whatsoever. At times these tones drown out the rest of the band. This audio cries out for a remix; I would gladly do the job myself, for free, out of love and respect for the band that produced "Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus," one of the best-produced/engineered rock LPs of all time, IMHO. The renditions here of "Mr. Skin," "Animal Zoo" and "Nature's Way" are quite inferior to their original versions on that 1970 album. "Fuzzy" Knight holds down his end of the output more than competently. Now, the other major drawback: the crowd is rowdy, more boozed-up than mellowed-out, I suspect. They take advantage of any quiet moment to make noise and unfortunately this includes during Mr. Cassidy's effort to play a subtler, jazz-inflected segment of his drum solo. It's a damned shame and, again, something that should have been fixed in the audio mix if at all possible. A pleasant bonus during encores is Dickey Betts (his band had recorded a set for Rockpalast earlier this same day) coming out to join Mr. California in a good old guitar "rave-up." So there you have it: a historical document of a great studio band that is seriously flawed but probably essential to a true Spirit fan."
Maurice Jones | Doraville, GA USA | 06/04/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This Rockpalast show features Spirit in a power-trio format- drums, bass, guitar/vocalist. The band is in high spirits (no pun intended)and gives a rocking performance. I have no complaint with the sound, which I think is pretty good for 1978 while the picture quality is excellent. Randy is very rock guitar oriented, much more so than the Spirit of 1976 album would lead one to beleive. Thank goodness for Rockpalast, or these shows would be lost."