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Spirit: Rockpalast-West Coast Legends Vol. 3 (DVD)

Spirit were a last minute addition to the March 5th taping of the Rockpalast TV show in Essen, Germany back in 1978, replacing The Kinks who cancelled. As it turns out, their performance is considered one of the highlights of the first wave of the series (1977-1986), and here on this DVD you get the bands entire set. Spirit by this time are roughly 8 years past their commercial peak (Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus was a huge album for them), and down to the trio of Randy California (guitar, vocals), his stepfather Ed Cassiday (drums), and Larry "Fuzzy" Knight (bass). California is in his full 'Hendrix worship' mode throughout this set, playing the guitar with his teeth ( a tad too much I might add) and behind his head, as well as the band doing renditions of "Hey Joe", "Like a Rolling Stone", "All Along the Watchtower", and "Wild Thing", all tunes that Hendrix covered back in the 60's and made famous. I'm not sure how much time the band had to rehearse these, as they all sound somewhat raw and sloppy, but there's no denying the power coming from the band, especially Randy, who injects plenty of psychedelic/heavy rock/blues mastery into these Hendrix staples.

Those who are long time fans of Spirit will be happy to note that classics such as "Natures Way", "Mr. Skin", "1984", and "I Got a Line On You" are all given royal treatment here, though much more 'guitar heavy' due to the lack of a keyboard player and California basically the focal point of the band now. He does employ a strange Moog bass pedal quite often, which is way too loud in the mix and tends to drown out the entire band. At times there seems to be no reason why he steps on it and lets loose a sonic boom, other than perhaps to add some color to the bands sound, but it's way too obnoxious and overpowering. Cassiday is a joy to watch as always, nimbly attacking his drum kit with reckless abandon, and during his solo on "It's All the Same" thundering away on the two giant orchestral drums which sit on each side of him. Perhaps the highlight of the evening is when Dickie Betts, fresh from the taping of his band Great Southern earlier in the evening, comes out to jam with Spirit during the closer "If I Miss This Train/Rockpalast Jam". Expect plenty of guitar fireworks between he and California on this one.

Sound and video is pretty solid on this one, and other than the annoying Mood pedal outbursts and Randy California's over emphasis on the Jimi Hendrix posturing, this is a very cool concert performance containing great songs, great jams, and great guitar work. Sadly, Randy California died in 1997 while trying to save his son from drowning during a family vacation in Hawaii at the young age of 46. This DVD is a great memorial to his vast talents.

Track Listing

  1. Rockpalast-Intro
  2. Rockpalast Jam
  3. Mr. Skin
  4. Nature's Way
  5. Like a Rolling Stone
  6. Hollywood Dream
  7. 1984
  8. Looking Down From a Mountain
  9. Hey Joe
  10. Animal Zoo
  11. Love Charged
  12. It's All the Same (including drum solo)
  13. I Got A Line On You
  14. All Along the Watchtower
  15. Wild Thing
  16. Downer (Tampa Jam)
  17. If I Miss This Train/Rockpalast Jam (with Dickie Betts)

Added: July 14th 2010
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: SPV Recordings
Hits: 1711
Language: english

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