Fillmore East 1970
June 4th & 5th
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young made their much publicized debut in the summer of 1969. The high profile set at Woodstock was most well known, but they did a substantial amount of touring that summer and in Europe in January. Neil Young booked a solo tour with Crazy Horse early in 1970, and then CSN&Y reconvened for their second trip in the summer of 1970.
Deja Vu was released in March 1970 and beginning on May 12th in Denver, they played twenty-three shows through the middle of July. The six shows at the Fillmore East in New York from June 2nd to June 7th were the longest engagement, and perhaps only equaled by their two shows at the LA Forum later in the month in importance.
All these shows were recorded and filmed for possible official release. But the Los Angeles and Chicago shows were chosen for 4 Way Street, released in April 1971. While those shows were very tight, coming by the end of the tour, the New York shows are much more fun and loose.
There have been several releases of these soundboard tapes before. Mid Valley use the tapes as they were posted on Wolfgang’s Vault. They are no more complete than before (the June 5th show is still missing the opening three songs), but these are from a much better generation and sound great. It is also the first time all three soundboard tapes have been presented in one package.
Mid Valley’s packaging is beyond putrid, however. Like other titles in the sampler series, generic TMoQ artwork is used with no notification of the artists or setlists. That information is contained on inserts. The seven discs for this set are all stuffed into a fatboy jewel case. Six are on a try, while the seventh is in a plastic sleeve shoved somewhere in there.
Fillmore East, New York, NY – June 4th, 1970
Disc 1 (79:04): Suite Judy Blue Eyes, On The Way Home, Teach Your Children, Tell Me Why, Triad, Guinnevere, Simple Man, Man In The Mirror, Cinnamon Girl, Down By The River, Only Love Can Break Your Heart, Black Queen, 49 Bye-Byes, America’s Children, Love The One You’re With
Disc 2 (62:32): Tuning, Pre-Road Downs, Long Time Gone, Helplessly Hoping, Ohio, As I Come Of Age, Southern Man, Carry On, Find The Cost Of Freedom
The June 4th soundboard had been released before on Live At The Fillmore East (Wrong Note 005AB), Live At The Fillmore East Vol. 1 (OMS-010/011), Read The Airplane (Wild Wolf WW-6470) and discs one and two of Fillmore Double Night (1020301/2/3/4).
The first disc is devoted to the first half acoustic set with “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes.” Written by Steven Stills and released as a Crosby, Stills & Nash single the previous September, is it one of his masterpieces and most known songs. Its high profile means it opens every show on this tour and serves as a prelude to the many different styles and moods the show will express.
Before playing Neil Young’s “On The Way Home” someone throws a paper airplane onto the stage. “Your what hurts?” Nash asks. “Free the airplane. Read the airplane. READ the airplane. Next week we’ll learn how to say firetruck” he jokes. Young is curious though and asks “what does the airplane say?”
Crosby has two songs, “Triad” and “Guennivere” and prefaces them by speaking about being thrown out of school “for dubious moral character.” Nash follows with tunes of his own, “Simple Man” and “Man In The Mirror” and Neil Young has three of his own, “Cinnamon Girl,” an acoustic but still biting “Down By The River” and “Only Love Can Break Your Heart.” Stills dominates the finale of the first half with a long “America’s Children” and “For What It’s Worth” medley. A full band “Love The One You’re With” closes the first half.
Several minutes of tuning precede “Pre-Road Down” and a surreal version of “Long Time Gone.” After a long tuning, they play an electric version of Stills’ “Helplessly Hoping” with a typical Young guitar break in the middle.
The set piece is a long “Southern Man” where all take a solo in one form or another. Nash sings a bit of “four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie” to break the tension. “Carry On,” introduced as “a little ray of hope,” is the first encore. Stills seems to be drinking throughout the show and by this time is playing sloppy and out of tune. The tape continues running and picks up several minutes of audience cheering. The one encore is “Find The Cost Of Freedom” which is also followed by about five minutes of audience cheering.
Fillmore East, New York, NY – June 5th, 1970
Disc 3 (61:01): Tell Me Why, Laughing, All Along The Lee Shore, Simple Man (false start), Simple Man, Man In The Mirror, Cinnamon Girl, Down By The River, Only Love Can Break Your Heart, Black Queen, 49 Bye-Byes, America’s Children, Love The One You’re With
Disc 4 (64:06): Pre-Road Downs, Long Time Gone, Helplessly Hoping, Ohio, As I Come Of Age, Southern Man, Carry On, Woodstock, Find The Cost Of Freedom
The June 5th soundboard was previously released on 4 Way Fillmore (Red Devil RD0481), Live At Fillmore East Vol. 2 (Aurora Borealis – OMS012/013) and Fillmore Double Night (1020301/2/3/4) discs 3 and 4. For songs, “Woodstock,” “Laughing” and “All Along The Lee Shore” were included as bonus tracks on Read The Airplane (WW-6470).
Another excellent soundboard recording, it’s slightly softer and warmer compared to the June 4th recording. Also, the first four songs, “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” “Blackbird,” “On The Way Home,” and “Teach Your Children” weren’t recorded. Instead it picks up with Neil Young’s “Tell Me Why.”
Crosby debuts “Laughing,” played for the first time live (and it would be played again a month later in Chicago) and would be included on his 1971 solo album If I Could Only Remember My Name. Nash joins him onstage as they speak about the show being the show. Nash also complains about how The Hollies didn’t break up when he left, unlike The Byrds and Buffalo Springfield.
Nash plays his new song “Simple Man,” but the piano is out of tune and they have to restart. Young plays “Cinnamon Girl” and “Down By The River” in medley, and finished with “Only Love Can Break Your Heart”. Nash mentioned in the June 4th show that the concerts were being filmed, but precious little footage has surfaced. The quality of the Young suggests it’s in excellent quality.
The electric set is similar to the other nights. Crosby’s “Long Time Gone” is particularly dramatic and biting with mention of contemporary political events. “Helplessly Hoping” is again performed in an electric arrangement. “Southern Man” again closes the show with Nash’s mention of Tallahassee Lassie and Crosby whistling Dixie.
“Carry On” is the song “that balances all” and the lengthy improvisation closes the show. “Woodstock,” which served as the final encore of the first two New York shows, was dropped for June 4th and returns as the first encore on the June 5th. They deliver a much heavier version than the record. The guitars are abrasive, the vocals are growling and the Hammond organ spits out the arrangement.
A loud reaction in the audience follows, and Nash tries to restore order before the short and quiet “Find The Cost Of Freedom” closes the show.
Fillmore East 1970
Fillmore East, New York, NY – June 6th, 1970
Disc 5 (53:36): Suite: Judy Blue Eyes, Black Bird, On The Way Home, Teach Your Children, Tell Me Why, Triad, Guinnevere, Simple Man, King Midas In Reverse
Disc 6 (36:10): Tuning, The Loner, Cinnamon Girl, Down By The River, Black Queen, 4 + 20, 49 Bye-Byes, America’s Children, Love The One You’re With
Disc 7 (73:16): Tuning, Pre-Road Downs, Long Time Gone, Helplessly Hoping, Ohio, As I Come Of Age, Southern Man, Carry On, Woodstock, Find The Cost Of Freedom
The fifth night is the longest of the New York shows and, since no tape circulates for June 7th, is the last. A prior release of this tape is Live At The Fillmore (Rockmasters RMC-001AB). The soundboard recording is very clear but a bit more dull and flat compared to the others. The audience noise is pushed back, and it picks up all of the stage comments during and between the songs.
“Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” is very loose and improvised. An overall great performance that sets the mood for the epic performance. “So we broke up three weeks ago, you see” is Nash’s cryptic words before a very slow and delibverate cover of “Blackbird.” The Beatles’ tune was played the previous night, but wasn’t recorded. “Why didn’t we do it that slow before? I really dug that” Crosby says off-mic afterwards.
“Speaking of moments we were waiting to arise, here’s Neil Young” Stills says to introduce Young. After some jokes about “the Brooklyn Bridge’s new hit” and “bubble gum” (“you smartass” Young tells Crosby), they start “On The Way Home.”
The acoustic set is longer than the other nights with the inclusion of additional rarities. Nash replaces “Man In The Mirror” with a cover of “King Midas In Reverse,” a song he helped write while in The Hollies.
Young plays a three song medley with “The Loner,” “Cinnamon Girl” and “Down By The River.” This same arrangement would be played and recorded a month later in Chicago for 4 Way Street. But the real surprise is the long Stills segment. It is without a doubt that he’s “on” in this show and delivers his best of the New York dates. He includes “4+20” between a startling “Black Queen” and “49 Bye-Byes.” He concludes with the seven minute “America’s Children” with “For What It’s Worth” included.
The second half electric set follows the same pattern as the other shows. It ends with long renditions of “Southern Man” and “Carry On” with “Woodstock” and the short “Find The Cost Of Freedom” as encores. There is a long delay after “As I Come Of Age” where they speak about Atlantic records and criticize their latest release.
Overall these three are very good and tight performances. CSNY sound confident in their abilities as song writers and performers and are not tentative in reinventing themselves onstage before the audience. Their jokes and quips throughout ease any tension there may be, and the alternation between CSNY and solo numbers gives the strong impression of the band being more of an attitude and idea rather than a musical ensemble with commitments to any particular musical style or genre. Fillmore East 1970, despite the putrid packaging, is well worth having.