Posts Tagged ‘Isle Of Wight Festival 1970’

Doors fans will have a belated opportunity to revisit one of the later chapters in the band’s history with singer Jim Morrison in early 2018, with the release of an audio and video package capturing the group’s performance at the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970.

Scheduled for a February. 23rd release , the sensibly titled The Doors: Live at the Isle of Wight 1970 will be available on CD/DVD, CD/Blu-ray or digital format, and offers “completely recut and remixed” footage from what turned out to be the band’s final filmed show with Morrison. Held on August. 30th, 1970, in the midst of Morrison’s obscenity trial, it found the Doors falling back on the music that brought them together at a time when outside factors were on the verge of tearing them apart.

“Our set was subdued but very intense,” recalled organist Ray Manzarek. “We played with a controlled fury and Jim was in fine vocal form. He sang for all he was worth, but moved nary a muscle. Dionysus had been shackled.”

In addition to a new 5.1 Dolby mix supervised by longtime Doors associate Bruce Botnick, The Doors: Live at the Isle of Wight 1970 boasts a new 17-minute documentary, titled This Is the End,

This is the last known unseen performance of The Doors in existence. The show has been completely remixed and recut and restored using the latest technology, from grain-reduction to color-correction techniques from the original footage. The DVD includes a bonus featurette “This Is The End” 17 minutes of interviews conducted by the film’s original director, Academy Award-winning Murray Lerner with Krieger, Densmore, and original Doors manager Bill Siddons. Additional archival interview footage with Manzarek from 2002 is also included in the featurette.

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Taste were formed in the city of Cork. Ireland, by 18-year old Rory Gallagher in 1966. By then Gallagher was a veteran of the Irish show band circuit, He had toured much of Europe and played a residency in Hamburg. With Taste he mixed original material with blues covers, the band’s raw, dynamic sound quickly establishing them In Belfast then London. Just before Taste signed with Polydor Records the band’s management insisted on replacing the Cork rhythm section with drummer John Wilson and bassist Richard McCracken, both veteran Belfast musicians (Wilson had played in Them).

Taste’s exciting live performances set attendance records at London’s Marquee Club and they gained wide European popularity with their eponymous 1969 debut album. 1970 should have been Taste’s year. they released their sophomore album ‘On The Boards’ on January 1st. 1970, to rave reviews across Europe and the US. The band’s work effort and inspired live performances had established Taste truly as a “people’s” band.

Praise for the band – and, especially, Rory Gallagher – came from many noted musicians. John Lennon championed Taste while Jimi Hendrix, when asked how it felt to be the world’s greatest guitarist, replied that he had no idea and the question should be redirected to Rory Gallagher. Yet, internally. Taste were bitterly divided due to differences between Gallagher and the rhythm section over management, money and status. A break-in to the band’s van (only drum pedals were stolen) the night before they headed to IOW brought tensions to a head with Rory emphasising that if management had provided Taste with a superior vehicle (as long requested) the theft wouldn’t have occurred. If tensions were simmering in the van the Southampton ferry crossing on Friday morning provided a sense of exhilaration – they could feel the excitement building as thousands of rock fans gathered for the festival.

Unfortunately, the huge numbers of people arriving on the IOW (population 100,000) meant Taste struggled to get on site in time for their late afternoon set. Things only got worse once there as they became aware the festival was being filmed. their manager threatened to cancel Taste’s performance. But perform they did. taking the stage in perfect conditions. Taste tore into ‘What’s Going On’. The huge audience, until then somewhat subdued in response to the afternoon’s bands, rose to their feet. The ten thousand hours Rory had put in playing live over the past six years ignited a truly explosive performance. Perhaps the inter-band tension also fuelled Taste as the trio played superbly, giving their absolute all. each member listening and responding so creating music alive with excitement and possibility. Electricity was in the air and the audience screamed for an encore. Taste obliged but the audience refused to let them go. One – two – three – encores! Right then everyone bearing witness agreed. Taste were the most exciting live band in the world. Backstage Taste were charged with adrenalin and aware they had achieved something special.

 

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This is what it’s all about – playing rock and roll like your very life depended on it! But the ill feeling remained and. when photographer John Minihan requested that Taste gather for a portrait, the trio were reluctant. Finally, bassist McCracken said, “come on guys, even if it is the last one” and grabbed Gallagher and Wilson for the photo. Photo taken, Rory and his brother Donal then went off to watch Tony Joe White play. Rory was so impressed he would later include White’s ‘As The Crow Flies’ into his live set. Taste might have had the adulation of an adoring public ringing in their ears but their IOW performance did not heal the band’s divisions and they would confirm that they were to split a few days later.

As Taste were contractually committed to a European tour they continued until a final Belfast concert on New Year’s Eve, 1970. In that tumultuous year their Isle Of Wight performance sealed Taste as more a legend than a band.

words by Garth Cartwright

Taste – August 28th, 1970 Isle Of Wight Festival

00:00 What’s Going On – 5.31 05:31 Sugar Mama (Traditional) – 10.46 16:17 Morning Sun – 4.38 20:55 Gambling Blues (Traditional) – 4.52 25:47 Sinner Boy – 5.41 31:28 I’ll Remember – 8.29 39:57 I Feel So Good (Big Bill Broonzy) – 10.26 50:23 Catfish Blues (Traditional) – 14.14 1:04:37 Same Old Story – 6.54 1:11:31 Blister On The Moon – 7.46 All songs by Rory Gallagher except where stated

Taste Rory Gallagher – Guitars, vocals Richard McCracken – Bass John Wilson – Drums

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In 1970 the festival had grown significantly to the point where it actually outgrew itself; for 32 years after this the Isle of Wight did not see another large scale music gathering. It’s estimated that the crowds were well in excess of half a million. Fans were drawn to what was one of the most ambitious line-ups ever put together for a festival on British soil, with artists from both sides of the Atlantic.

Even before the festival officially opened there were some bands that played for free on Wednesday and Thursday, including, Mighty Baby, Kris Kristofferson, Supertramp, The Groundhogs, Terry Reid and Gilberto Gil.

At the festival proper on  the Friday it was the band Chicago topping the bill with support from Family, Taste, Procol Harum and James Taylor as well as bands that have largely been forgotten, including Arrival, Fairfield Parlour, Cactus and Lighthouse.

Also on the bill on Saturday was Miles Davis who had reinvented himself as a jazz rock artist in the wake of his Bitches Brew album that was released in April of 1960; Davis’s band included Chick Corea and Keith Jarrett. Other acts included, Tiny Tim, ELP (set included ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’), and John Sebastian. The tye-dyed one was the first of the Woodstock alumni to play the festival.

Sebastian’s appearance, along with the others who starred in the film, which had recently been premiered in the UK, as well as having Matthews Southern Comfort’s version of ‘Woodstock’ topping the charts a few weeks earlier, all significantly added to the draw of the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival. It was as though people could not risk missing the next Woodstock.

Sandwiched between these acts and the notional bill-toppers was supposed to be Cat Mother, but they didn’t show, Sly and the Family Stone and Joni Mitchell. Third top was Ten Years After; their Woodstock appearance had turned them and in particular, Alvin Lee, into box office gold. Joint top were the Who and the Doors – it was not by all accounts the latter’s finest hour and less than a year later Jim Morrison would be dead.

If Saturday was impressive, Sunday was stellar. With Melanie, Free, The Moody Blues, Donovan, Leonard Cohen, Richie Havens Joan Baez and Jethro Tull among the big names with Jimi Hendrix topping the bill. It really was an extraordinary coming together of talent. Less than three weeks after he walked off stage at the Isle of Wight, James Marshall Hendrix was dead.

Jimi Hendrix