As the 1960s moved into the early '70s, a host of legendary music festivals took place all over the globe that attracted hundreds of thousands of fans as well as many of the major acts of the time period. In late August of 1970, on the Isle of Wight in the UK, roughly 600,000 fans flocked to see Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Jethro Tull, Free, Miles Davis, ELP, The Doors, Ten Years After, Cactus, Procol Harum, Chicago, Family, The Groundhogs, Supertramp, Gracious, Black Widow, and many others, including the Irish power trio known as Taste. Formed in Cork, Ireland in 1966, the line-up of the band in 1970 consisted of Rory Gallagher (guitar, vocals), Richard McCracken (bass), and John Wilson (drums), and just prior to them going onstage at Isle of Wight, the decision to disband was made due to lackluster management that seemed to stunt the bands progress. It's a real shame, as you can clearly see by this performance that Taste were a formidable band who could have been huge building off their commanding set at this festival. Though filmmaker Murray Lerner didn't capture the entire set (or perhaps some of the footage has not survived) much of it is here and it's stupendous, showing a blistering blues-rock act that had plenty of firepower, and not once displaying the implosion that went on behind the scenes just prior to their walking out in front of the massive crowd.
What's Going In-Live at the Isle of Wight is set up like a documentary, initially going into the history of the band, complete with interview segments from Rory's brother Donal Gallagher, Queen's Brian May, U2's The Edge, Bob Geldof, Lerner, and jazz-fusion guitar legend Larry Coryell. It all leads up to the tensions coming to a head just prior to the festival, as Gallagher tried to convince the band to dump their manager and try a new trajectory to help save the band's career, but they couldn't come to an agreement and decided to part ways just as they were set to go on stage. One could never tell that all this was going on, as the band literally tore the place apart with their furious set of heavy blues rock, highlighted by Gallagher's super-human guitar skills on tracks like "Sugar Mama", "What's Going On", "Sinnerboy", "Morning Sun", and of course an extended "Catfish Blues", where he and McCracken get to trade some scorching licks off each other. Though Gallagher would move into bluesier waters on his first few solo albums shortly after, here he fires off plenty of hard rock solos & riffs, prompting Hendrix to proclaim him the world's 'best guitarist'.
Despite the vintage of the source material, the video quality here is quite good, as is the audio. It's just a shame that all of the songs weren't available (Taste played a reported three encores), but the Blu-ray does contains some cool bonus material, such as three clips from the 1970 Beat Club show, and three music promos videos, which are kind of cheesy but still fun. As with most of the Eagle Rock Blu-ray sets, there's a nice booklet packed with info of the band's performance at the festival and photos, making this a must have for any fan of Taste & the late Rory Gallagher.
See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!
Complete Performances from the Isle of Wight
1) What's Going On
2) Sugar Mama
3) Morning Sun
4) Gambling Blues
6) Same Old Story
7) Catfish Blues
Beat Club 1970
1) If the Day Was Any Longer
2) It's Happened Before, It'll Happen Again
3) Morning Sun
P3 Music Promo Videos
1) I'll Remember
2) What's Going On
3) Born on the Wrong Side of Time