THE WHO have commemorated the 50th anniversary of a two-night stint at Bill Graham’s famous New York venue with the double CD deluxe Live at the Fillmore East 1968. The band performed at the Fillmore East on April 5th and April 6th of 1968, marking the first English rock act to headline the newly christened venue. They were originally scheduled to play two sets each night, but due to concerns about unrest following Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination in Memphis on April 4th, the Who combined two sets into one. Manager Kit Lambert recorded the shows, hoping to release them as a live album. The plan was abandoned when Lambert discovered that his equipment had failed to capture the whole first night.
The second night’s concert makes up Live at the Fillmore East 1968. The sound was restored by the Who’s longtime sound engineer, Bob Pridden, using the original four-track tapes. Right off the top, the listener is assailed by the ferocity of the performances: high decibel power, from the earliest employers of the Marshall stack. Straight-on rock ’n’ roll covers – “Summertime Blues” and the previously unreleased “C’mon Everybody” – practically jump out of the speakers. On this album we hear a young, loud, talented, and extremely tight band and it’s downright glorious.