The Who – Live At The Fillmore 1969 (Rockmasters RMC-009)


Live At The Fillmore 1969 (Rockmasters RMC-009)

Fillmore East, New York, NY – October 22nd, 1969

Introduction, Heaven & Hell, I Can’t Explain, Fortune Teller, Young Man Blues, Overture, Captain Walker, It’s A Boy / 1921, Amazing Journey / Sparks, Eyesight To The Blind, Christmas, See Me Feel Me – Listening To You, Summertime Blues, Shakin’ All Over / The Seeker / Spoonful

Live At The Fillmore 1969 is another of Bill Graham’s tapes that has seen wide circulation.  It was released on CD in 1992 as Accept No Substitute on Big M (Big 011), copied in 1994 as Sparks On The Bay on Oil Well (RSC CD 044) and copied yet again by the Australian label Mojo as The Who Live (Mojo 058).  It is an excellent sounding soundboard on par with other well known recordings from the Bill Graham archives. 

All three previously released titles attributed this tape to the Fillmore West in San Francisco, ran too slow and sounded a bit thin.  Rockmasters have given this tape its somewhat definitive release with this.  The date and the speed are corrected.  There are trace amounts of hiss and the stereo separation is the same as the other recordings from the Graham archive.  Also the middle section of the tape is still missing, fading out in “Christmas” and picking up again for “See Me Feel Me”.

By the fall of 1969 they were playing Tommy in its entirety so that means  “The Acid Queen”, “Pinball Wizard”, “Do You Think It’s Alright”, “Fiddle About”, “Tommy Can You Hear Me”, “There’s A Doctor”, “Go To The Mirror”, “Smash The Mirror”, “Miracle Cure”, “Sally Simpson”, “I’m Free”, and “Tommy’s Holiday Camp” are all omitted.  But The Who was ferocious all during this year and this is no exception. 

The tape begins with Bill Graham introducing the members of the band and saying “Welcome to a night of pure rock theater with our friends, The Who”.  After “Heaven & Hell” and “I Can’t Explain” Daltrey introduces “Fortune Teller” as an oldie.   “See?  See?  We don’t play the same thing every night…We’re gonna play a song for you, something we’ve never played before here at the Fillmore theater which we rehearsed this afternoon” Pete Townshend says before rambling on about a nightmare about the same four hundred people and blowing up his amplifier before “Young Man Blues”.

Townshend also explains how they are cutting down on the numbers they play so the can get to Tommy quicker since they are “in the mood now” to play it.  He also encourages the audience to watch the Joshua Light Show while they perform before launching into an aggressive version of “Overture”.  “Sparks” in particular has nimble and powerful Townshend guitar solo and “Eyesight To The Blind” captures Entwistle’s lyric bass. 

It’s a shame most of Tommy is missing because this sounds like one of the all time great versions of the piece.  It certainly is one of the best versions from 1969 and hopefully the missing middle will one day surface.  The final “Shakin’ All Over” medley contains a rare early reference to “The Seeker”, a single that wouldn’t be released until April 1970.  This is the third consecutive Who release for the Rockmasters label and is as worth having, as are the others.  It’s been a while since this tape has been used so it is a welcome addition.

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