(of the bootleg cassette)
OK, I wasn't really there. The day before Christmas eve in 1972, I was probably back home with my parents in Siljansnas in the Dalecarlia area in Sweden. I was seventeen years old, addicted to Grand Funk and probably listening to the new Phoenix album - waiting for Santa Claus to bring me some new heavy metal vinyls...:-)
I did play my first set of Live Album so intense, that it turned WHITE (!) My favourite track was "Into the sun", which drove my parents stone crazy. One night when I came home, drunk as a skunk, I played T N U C on the highest level down in my room in the basement. My father came down faster than a rocket - he thought that the heating system in the house was exploding!
This is a review of the BOOTLEG from Madison Square Garden 1972 during the Phoenix Tour. It is an interesting part of the GFR history, between the two first live albums. (Please forgive my bad english)
Don Brewer starts to imitate an accelerating locomotive with the drums, Craig (or Mark ) is "whistling" with the organ and then the intro track from "Phoenix", Flight to the Phoenix comes out from the speakers. The sound is higher than ever and the beat is very intense. Marks guitar sounds pretty cranked up from the very beginning. We are about to hear some new live tracks and also some NEW TRACKS at this concert. Flight of the phoenix turns over to Footstompin' music without pause. This version is harder than the 74'live version.
The next song is a Time machine/High falootin woman-medley, which sound more than great in live. Great solo work by Markie. (The sound quality on this recording is not very good, but who cares - it's GRAND FUNK LIVE IN CONCERT!)
Next track starts with an incredible guitarsolo, in which Mark is duelling the guitar with his voice shouting "It's good to be back in New York City" - the track is simply called Guitar solo. It's purely instrumental with some harmonica aswell - turning in to Hooked on love.There are also choir girls on this song and the next, which is Get it together.
Now it´s beginning to get really interesting....After Get it together, Mark is presenting Black Brass, an instrumental song with heavy hammond and a DRUM SOLO in furious speed. Craig is doing some solo sessions aswell and it sounds great and a little bit like DEEP PURPLE. Finally the organ flips out totally, to become more sacral the next second.....all this "mess" ends up in an intro to the classic Heartbreaker.
NEW UNIQUE DOWNLOAD of the track "Black Brass"
Now it's time for I'm your captain from "Closer to home". An early live version of this wonderful piece, a missing link from first "Live Album". (Why wasn't this song included on the Atlanta album?). You don't hear much of Craigs organ on this one. Marks guitar sounds great and cranks up to enter Loneliness without pause. This version is much different from the record as they have no orchestra on stage. Don is working hard to uphold the massive beat and Mark' guitar is compensating all the violins....
It's really heavy with great solowork from Mark.
The drumming interact is accompanied by Craigs oustanding organ.Then......Don starts to make a heavy drum solo......this one is more intense than the T N U C solo. T N U C is not on the playlist anyway, so it seems that GFR changed Don's solo efforts to Loneliness instead. It's a very interesting combination, ending with furious organ/guitar - outro.
Next song is Save the land from the "E pluribus Funk" album. Very metallic and heavy in live. Next surprise is Into the sun from the first album "On time". It's not a 12 minute version with endless guitar solos. It's more like a "Radio Edit" of the 1970 live album track. Sounds great anyway - with some new turns and riffs from Mark.
Without pause, Inside looking out starts. This is going to be one of the best full versions of this tune. Mark is at his peak this day! A different solo pattern which is unique for this recording. It's hard to describe - must be heard! Craig is really in good form too. He is often being underestimated by "the fundamentalists" among the funksters. I count myself into this group, having the first live album as a musical Bible, but still, Craig Frost gives the music a fourth dimension that sounds great in live.
The audience is crazy after Inside looking out, some problems have occured with Marks guitar, so there is a short pause. Finally it's time for the last song, Gimme shelter, the classic Stones hit. The choir girls are back on stage and this is going to be a killer too. WHAT A CONCERT - WHAT A PLAYLIST - I thought that GFR lost a lot of steam after the breakup from Terry Knight - but that's not true! They are as good as ever - AN ULTIMATE LIVE BAND for sure.
note: selected parts of this concert was produced on ABC television.....