Fire Still Burning (no label)
Boston Music Hall, Boston, MA – May 3rd, 1975
(63:02): Jeff’s Boogie/ Constipated Duck, drum into / She’s A Woman, Freeway Jam, Definitely Maybe, Superstition, keyboard solo, Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers, Power, Got The Feeling, You Know What I Mean
Jeff Beck’s Blow By Blow tour, when he co-headlined with the Mahavishnu Orchestra, played at the Music Hall in Boston in the second week. Fire Still Burning uses an excellent three-dimensional audience recording capturing the atmosphere of the show and the dynamics of the performance perfectly.
It first was pressed in 1991 on Live In Boston 1975 (Mistral Music MM-9118), one of the earliest Beck CD boots. Live By Power (Guitar Cycle GCD003) is a copy of the Mistral Music release and “Definitely Maybe” is included in the compilation Return of The Axe Murderer (Scorpio 104).
The latest release of this tape is Lost Mistral Tape (Watch Tower WT 2004123) issued in 2004. Fire Still Burning runs slightly slower than the Watch Tower release and sounds like it runs at the correct pitch although there is not a big difference between the two. The sound is slightly more natural and may be a generation better than the others.
The tape opens with a short tune up and Jeff playing a bit of “Jeff’s Boogie” as a prelude to a wired “Constipated Duck.” Drummer Bernard Purdie is given a drum solo very early in the set, right after the first song.
It may well have been rehearsed, but it sounds like a spontaneous burst of energy from the drummer as he’s given a lengthy solo before they begin “She’s A Woman.” The playing on this song is soft, sloppy, and sounds like they lose their way in the middle before finding their way to the final cadence.
“Freeway Jam” is given a hard rock / funk workover which is simply tangential to the original vision of the piece. It segues into a gorgeous version of “Definitely Maybe.” This is one of the better performances of this song and it’s obvious why Scorpio includes it on their compilation.
While Max Middleton plays his solo before “Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers” an usher is audible on the tape checking tickets and evicts someone (“those aren’t the right tickets”). It doesn’t exactly drown out the music but is audible and is a somewhat funny diversion from the concert. Bassist Wilbur Bascomb is given his spotlight before “Power.” He leads the band into the track which remains unreleased. At least one source claims Stanley Clarke joins in on this track but there is no audible evidence of this taking place.
The final song of the set is the old Jeff Beck Group song “Got The Feeling.” There is a cut in the tape afterwards even though there is a generous amount of audience cheering for the encore, a tired performance of “You Know What I Mean.” Certainly tapes from the end of the tour like the July 30th Hawaii show the kind of prowess this touring band has, but Boston, while is a good show, is inconsistent and can be seen as a transitional show. Given the sound quality it is a good show to have and Fire Still Burning is a nice edition worth having.