Critically And Commercially (Rock Masters RMC – 012A/B)
Long Beach Arena, Long Beach, CA – March 16,1977
Disc 1: Early Show – Introduction, Rock And Roll Band, Help Me (Shattered Images), More Than A Feeling, Peace Of Mind, Something About You, A Man I’ll Never Be, Smokin’, Guitar Solo, This Time, Foreplay, Long Time, Television Politician, Don’t Be Afraid
Disc 2: Late Show – Introduction, Rock And Roll Band, Help Me (Shattered Images), More Than A Feeling, Something About You, A Man I’ll Never Be, Smokin’, Guitar Solo, This Time, Peace Of Mind, Foreplay, Long Time
Critically And Commercially from the Rockmasters label features the early and late show recorded for the King Biscuit Flower Hour during Boston’s debut album tour. The show first surfaced on vinyl as early as 1978 and this show has seen various broadcasts throughout the years and is probably the most bootlegged Boston show out there. The set list varied on some later broadcasts dropping the guitar solo, “This Time” and “Television Politician” but included “Peace Of Mind” and “Foreplay” which were missing from earlier airings.
Recently Wolfgang’s Vault uploaded these tapes to their concert vault revealing two shows recorded the same day which seems only to be missing the encores from the late set. The two main sets are almost completely identical with “Peace Of Mind” from the late set being moved out of place. While listening I caught myself wondering if these were actually the same show but careful comparison showed some slight differences in the performances and Brad Delp’s song introductions. Boston had a well rehearsed set and the ability to recreate the same show every night.
The early show from disc one is a very good sounding board tape with a decent mix between the instruments. The organ is a bit low in the mix for “Smokin” and “Foreplay/Long Time” but is better by the late show. The late show is louder, has a better mix and is what was featured in the KBFH broadcasts. Having the early show to go with the classic broadcast now gives us a more complete picture of the event. At the end of disc two “Rock And Roll Band”, “Help Me (Shattered Images)”, “More Than A Feeling”, and “Something About You” are repeated, this time taken directly from a KBFH transcription disc complete with intro commentary. It is not listed on the cover and I find it odd that the label would include this as filler. The sound of these extra tracks is probably a little brighter but for the most part the difference is marginal.
It is certainly easy to just go to Wolfgang’s Vault and listen to these shows but having them on CD is more convenient. As a matter of fact, the title for this Rockmasters set comes from the essay on their site. There are also numerous CDR titles of this material starting to flood the market as well with Western Legacy worth noting from the CDR Trial label boasting best quality and promising “Television Politician” from the late set. Rockmasters have done these shows justice by being the only label to present them on silver disc so far and in a nice attractive package as well but we will soon see what Trial has to offer. (WGPSEC)