Performance: Rockin’ The Fillmore – The Complete Recordings by Humble Pie (Boxset)
A remastering of all the material that led to the classic live album which cemented their reputation as a ‘supergroup’
owards the end of the 60s, and beginning of the 70s, recording technology and equipment had developed to such an extent that outside recording of signed rock bands had become both logistically possible and within the budget of many record labels. This led to a plethora of such projects, and everyone who was anyone foisted interminable gate-folded performances upon their apostolically devoted fans. Few have survived decades of critical listening, while some have retained a certain reputation in the wider world. Performance: Rockin’ The Fillmore is one of them. It’s up there with the best, especially if you’re of a certain age.
The first thing that rocks here is the sound – full credit to Ashley Shepherd, who coaxed the controls for the 2013 remixing, and Eddie Kramer who did the same back in 1971. As drummer Greg Shirley rightly maintains, “You feel like you’re sitting in The Fillmore, five or six rows back”. The performances are equally gratifying too. With the exception of a tentative start to the first night’s rendition of Dr John’s I Walk On Gilded Splinters, the band play their socks off.
The material here comprises of covers, with the exception of the band-composed number Stone Cold Fever. However, their reinterpretation of such songs as Ida Cox’s Four Day Creep, Willie Dixon’s I’m Ready, and the Ray Charles hit I Don’t Need No Doctor, are so far removed from the originals that they could quite easily have followed the example of one or two other major rock bands of the time, and called them their own. All songwriters get due credit throughout.
If the four-CD package seems like a good deal then I think it only fair to mention that the four bloated versions of Gilded Splinters contained herein constitute almost half the total playing time. Incidentally, Frampton’s guitar solo introduction to this song bears a strong resemblance to Jimmy Page’s on Stairway To Heaven which was recorded around the same time. I’d like to know how that happened.
By the time of its eventual release, in November 1971, Peter Frampton had left Humble Pie, to be replaced by Clem Clempson, only to re-emerge within five years with one of the best selling live albums of all time – Frampton Comes Alive! It started here with Rockin’ The Fillmore.
Verdict: A legendary 70s rock gig, faithfully captured and enhanced to great effect