Move-Live at the Fillmore 1969(2cd)
Although the Move made barely a ripple in the U.S., they actually did a short tour in fall 1969, marking their only visit to the States. This double CD has live recordings made from their performances at the Fillmore in San Francisco on October 17 and 18 of 1969, most of them coming from the earlier of the two dates. Apparently its appearance was delayed for quite some time owing to concerns about its fidelity, but with the help of "advances in studio technology" trumpeted in the liner notes, it's finally been prepared in a shape deemed acceptable for release. Thank goodness it's passed muster, because the fidelity is more than acceptable, and it's a quite historically interesting document.
The big surprise, considering the band had already scored half-a-dozen sizable hits in their native U.K., is that just one of them ("I Can Hear the Grass Grow") is here. For that matter, the repertoire is surprisingly cover-heavy, including just two more Roy Wood originals ("Cherry Blossom Clinic (Revisited)" and "Hello Susie"). As perversely uncommercial as the choice of material might have been in 1969, it's to our gain several decades later, giving us the chance to hear some surprisingly arcane tunes for a big-name (at least in much of the rest of the Western world) act. Could there have been any other band anywhere, for instance, that put not one but two Nazz covers in their set -- let alone a band that were much bigger than the Nazz? Yet the Move did so at the Fillmore, with an impressive seven-minute version of "Open My Eyes" and a rather less effective 14-minute one of "Under My Ice," which briefly quotes from "Eleanor Rigby" in its instrumental section.
Overall, the Move sound much heavier here than their records up to that time would lead one to expect. All of the tunes are stretched out to five minutes or more; there's more instrumental jamming than you hear on any of their studio records; and Bev Bevan's drums are more frenetic than they were in the studio. Yet the Move are nonetheless also adept at complex pop harmonies, on both their own material and covers like "Going Back" (based on the Byrds' version). At the same time, they take extreme but listenable liberties with some of their stronger studio tracks, stretching "Fields of People" to 17 (!) minutes with what sounds like an electric sitar solo, and even pushing "I Can Hear the Grass Grow" to the ten-minute mark, partly by virtue of a detour into Steppenwolf's "Born to Be Wild" (!).
Though perhaps a bit of a disappointment to those who'd like to hear more of Wood's concise, witty, poppier songs live, the record's a good testament to the band's ability to rock out hard and heavy -- a direction they were already leaning toward by the 1970 Shazam album (on which four of the songs previewed here were included). There's a bit of repetition since the final three songs on disc two (the only three from October 18, 1969) are also heard in their October 17, 1969 versions, but they're placed far enough apart that it's not a bother. Bevan, bassist Rick Price, and the late singer Carl Wayne all contribute to liner notes that give the full story of the concert and the tour, the record ending with an informative, ten-minute spoken interview with Bevan.
Richie Unterberger - Allmusic
It was October 1st, 1969 when The Move set out on their first – and last – USA tour. Three of the original members, Carl Wayne, Roy Wood and myself, plus bassist Rick Price and road manager John “Upsy” Downing set off in a cold October morning from Birmingham airport to the then London Airport and onto New York via Boston. For Carl, Roy, Rick and myself, it was our first ever trip to the USA. But Upsy had been several times before as roadie with the Jimi Hendrix Experience so he knew all the ropes and we were very much in his hands...
As this album now shows, we put on something extra special. We knew these were the last dates of the tour. But we knew we were off back home – and maybe knew deep down we would never return to the USA, not as The Move, at any rate. We wanted to impress Joe Cocker and Little Richard – and the ‘hard to please’ audiences of the Fillmore West.
Listening back to the restored and remastered music we played over those nights, I think we did leave a lasting impression, with powerful arrangements of The Nazz’s ‘Open My Eyes’ and ‘Under The Ice’, reworked and heavy rock renditions of Roy Wood compositions ‘Cherry Blossom Clinic’, ‘I Can Hear The Grass Grow’ and ‘Hello Susie’, melodic versions featuring some lovely vocal harmonies on Tom Paxton’s ‘Last Thing On My Mind’ and Goffin and King’s ‘Goin’ Back’, an extraordinary re-working of Frankie Laine’s ‘Don’t Make My Baby Blue’ and the complicated and excellent arrangement of Ars Nova’s ‘Field’s Of People’.
Bev Bevan, October 2011
1. Open My Eyes (6:55)
2. Don’t Make My Baby Blue (5:53)
3. Cherry Blossom Clinic Revisited (7:45)
4. The Last Thing On My Mind (8:37)
5. I Can Hear The Grass Grow (10:03)
1. Fields Of People (16:59)
2. Goin’ Back (5:57)
3. Hello Susie (6:22)
4. Under The Ice (14:15)
Additional Night Performances
5. Introduction (0:16)
6. Don’t Make My Baby Blue (5:30)
7. Cherry Blossom Clinic Revisited (7:31)
8. The Last Thing On My Mind (8:08)
9. The Move’s 1969 USA tour recalled by Bev Bevan (10:42)