Monday, November 3, 2014
The Move's "Live at the Fillmore 1969": Music Review
Five out of "Shazam"'s six songs are supplemented on these tapes kept by the band's singer, the late Carl Wayne. The concert adds their earlier hit "I Can Hear the Grass Grow", "Goin' Back" (the Gerry Goffin-Carole King song covered by the Byrds), and lengthy, bruising adaptations of songs by the Nazz, "Open My Eyes" and "Under the Ice". The latter's rumbling, extended treatment on stage does outweigh its welcome, but it shows how The Move generously acknowledged its colleagues and influences.
On the tapes from October 17 and 18, 1970, while the San Francisco audience can barely be sensed, the band delivers a molten version of some of their best original and cover songs, even denser than the arrangements on "Shazam". While touring tensions between Wood (who does not contribute to the liner notes which bassist Rick Price and drummer Bev Bevan supplement) and Wayne apparently accelerated the breakup of this lineup, The Move despite U-Haul-tugging road weariness and Price's unknowing ingestion of bad acid manage to pummel Californians for over eighty minutes in concert.
Additional "night performances" reprise three of the songs. Some of these tracks stomp on longer than their LP versions, but that adds value for loyal fans. Wood excelled at mordant shorter tunes, but the swaggering mood of The Move by late 1970 tilts toward bashing, amplification, and assault, all the while keeping the lyrical wit and intricate layers of the music they had by then made elaborate.
Overcoming the limited fidelity of the master tapes, forty-five years later, these last dates of a tour where they played on the same bill as Joe Cocker and Little Richard shows the four musicians straining to break through to a "hard to please" American audience. Bev Bevan's phrase, from the notes and his affable recollections which close the second CD, captures a commitment to musical quality and sly invention which The Move did so well. (9-1-14 to Amazon US)