"The group raises images of White Spanish missions with red tile roofs in old California, of Wells Fargo, of 1865 San Francisco political corruption and 1965 San Francisco purity still intact. In person Quicksilver Messenger Service is a musical mental movie of the West."
- Village Voice review of the QMS live at Fillmore East, June 1968
As everyone knows, the Quicksilver Messenger Service at their peak in 1968 was one of the greatest live bands the world has ever seen. Rather than some foggy hearsay legend, proof of their prowess is available via a few live recordings fortunately preserved from oblivion.
One of this, a particularly devastating two-night stand at Fillmore East in June 1968, has been making the rounds since the 1970s, first via cassette tapes and vinyl bootlegs, more recently via CD-Rs and even a legal CD issue. However, confusion still reigns as to the precise contents of these concerts, and mix-ups with other live QMS recordings are frequent. Below is an attempt to sort this out.
From heavens above - the 1968 "CDEF" line-up
Fillmore East, New York, June 7 & June 8, 1968.
QMS shared the bill with the Electric Flag and Steppenwolf. QMS was the middle act and played two sets per night.
The recordings available all date from the first night, June 7. It is not known whether any recordings were made for the second night.
The source for the tape(s) in circulation is obviously soundboard, and it's possible that the recording was initiated by QMS/Capitol themselves, in preparation for the second LP. In any event, low generation copies have an almost perfect sound quality.
Note: a CD-R of the concert currently in circulation incorrectly suggests that some recordings date from the second night, and lists a somewhat mixed-up track sequence. This is not the same Fillmore East CD-R as referred to below. See credits.1.1 Set lists
The June 7 recordings exist in four different clusters/groups wherein the tracks run without breaks or gaps. Based on clues in the song intros/outros, the set lists looked like this:
First night (June 7), first set:
- [unknown tracks]
- Smokestack lightning
- Light your windows
The recordings for the very first part of the QMS concert have not been found.
First night (June 7), first set:
[intro:"Thank you... we'd like to do one more before the Electric Flag
will be on... this is called... I forget...]
- Mona/Maiden Of The Cancer Moon
[ending with:] "Thank you... see you later"
It is unclear whether any songs were performed between "Light Your Windows" and "Mona". In this state the set runs some 30 minutes, so it seems likely that at least two more songs were performed for the first set.--- (GROUP C) First night (June 7), second set: - Pride of man [introduced with "...first visit to New York, the Quicksilver Messenger Service"] - If you live - Dino's song - Back door man - Acapulco gold & silver (GROUP D) First night (June 7), second set: - Who do you love - The fool [ending with: "see you tomorrow if we can make it... Electric Flag will be right on..."] --- The second set seems to be complete and runs some 50 minutes +. Apart from the missing songs at the beginning of the first set, all tunes performed by the QMS on June 7 appear to be available.
2. TRACK DETAILS
This is based on the most complete and unedited version of the Fillmore East shows that I've found. Details on each track and intros/outros are presented below, as are suggested "signatures" - such as vocal or lyrical oddities - that will help identify the particular track in other contexts. Playtimes aren't 100% foolproof as different tape versions were made at different speeds, unfortunately.
2.1 CD-R tracklist:1. Smokestack lightning 2. Codeine 3. Light your windows 4. Mona/Maiden Of The Cancer Moon 5. Pride of man 6. If you live 7. Dino's song 8. Back door man 9. Acapulco gold & silver 10. Who do you love 11. The fool [total playtime: 90 minutes]
This particular tape/CD-R is of recent making, and the sequence has been corrected vs the sources used. However, the playtime suggests to me that it derives from an older tape put together to fit on a C90 tape. This may have happened long ago, and that tape may in fact be the original source for all Fillmore East reissues.
2.2 Track details for the Fillmore East CD-R
0.5 Intro to Smokestack Lightning 0:16
"It's called Smokestack Lightning. It's primarily a dance tune, you can dance if you want to, as long as you stay in your seat...".
1.0 Smokestack Lightning 10:02
1.5 Intro to Codeine 0:50
"Thank you, thank you... our next tune is an anti-drug song written by Buffy Sainte-Marie, it's about codeine...you know, cough syrup"
2.0 Codeine 6:09
2.5 Intro to Light Your windows 0:33
"Thank you, thank you... next one, this is a love song... they're all love songs..."
3.0 Light Your Windows 3:03
*--- break on tape ---*
3.5 Intro to Mona / Maiden 0:12
"Thank you... we'd like to do one more before the Electric Flag will be on...this is called... I forget..."
4.0 Mona / Maiden Of The Cancer Moon 11:15
4.5 Outro to Mona / Maiden 0:45
"Thank you... see you later" + some feedback, applause
*--- end of first set---*
*--- break on tape ---*
*---- second set ----*
4.75 Intro to second set 0:05
"...first visit to New York, the Quicksilver Messenger Service"
5.0 Pride Of Man 3:54
The vocals are adjusted (raised) in the mix a few seconds into the song. This track is usually missing from the bootleg reissues of the tape.
5.5 Outro to Pride Of Man 0:06
"Thank you... thank you"
6.0 If You Live 4:07
6.5 Outro to If You Live 0:16
"Thank you... thank you"
7.0 Dino's Song 3:06
7.5 Outro to Dino's song / Intro to Back Door Man 0:29
"Thank you... thank you... that's Dino's Song, written by a fellow named Dino Valenti. This is called Back Door Man, that's a Howling Wolf..."
8.0 Back Door Man 3:58
Signature in vocals: "...shhhhot full of holes"
8.5 Intro to Acapulco Gold & Silver 0:53
"Alright, change it all around, something different, a song called Acapulco Gold & Silver, on our album it just says Gold & Silver for some reason..." + tuning
9.0 Acapulco Gold & Silver 11:34
Drum solo in the middle
9.5 Outro to Acapulco Gold & Silver 0:12
*--- break on tape ---*
10.0 Who Do You Love suite 12:00
Signature: vocals drop off during "Come on take [a little walk with me]"
10.5 Intro to The Fool 1:38
"Thank you... we got one more song... we ran out of time... we need a guitarstring. We know one more so we'll do it I guess, this one's called The Fool..." + some tuning + "...last song we're gonna do is called The Fool."
11.0 The Fool 12:41
Signature: Freiberg's voice cracks in a big way during the "... Heavens above" line.
11.5 Outro to The Fool 0:35
"Thank you... see you tomorrow if we can make it... Electric Flag will be right on..."
*--- end of 2nd set---*
*--- end of tape ---*3. THE REISSUES
3.1 Marin County Cowboys (CD Deep Six, US 1999), disc 2, tracks 5-8
5. (3.0) Light Your Windows 3:03
6. The intro to Mona / Maiden (3.5) has been inserted here, despite having nothing to do with the track after.
7. (7.0) Dino's Song 3:06
(7.5) Outro to Dino's song / Intro to Back Door Man 0:29
8 (8.0) Back Door Man 3:58
Note: Sound quality is fine throughout.3.2 Lost Gold & Silver (CD Collector's Choice, US 1999), disc 1, tracks 1-9 (whole disc)
1. (8.0) Back Door Man 3:58 + brief outro
2. (2.0) Codeine 6:09 + brief outro
3. (9.0) Acapulco Gold & Silver 11:54 + brief outro
4. (1.0) Smokestack Lightning 10:08 + brief outro
5. (3.0) Light Your Windows 3:01 + brief outro
6. intro 0:13
(7.0) Dino's Song 3:06
outro 0:12 (=half of 7.5)
7. (11.0) The Fool 12:56
outro 0:17 (=part of 11.5)
8. (10.0) Who Do You Love suite 12:02
outro 0:19 (=10.5 spliced with 3.5)
9. (4.0) Mona / Maiden 11:31 + brief intro
Note I: Tracks 3, 4, 7 and 9 are significantly longer than on the FE CD-R, which is an effect of incorrect tape speed applied somewhere up the river.
Note II: Sound quality isn't very impressive unfortunately. According to my notes the last 4 songs have better sound than the rest, but still inferior to various bootleg issues.
3.3 Maiden Of The Cancer Moon (Psycho 10 UK 1983), tracks 1-10 (entire 2 LP set)
A 1. (8.0) Back Door Man 3:58? + brief outro
A 2. (2.0) Codeine 6:09?
A 3. (4.0) Mona / Maiden 11:23
B 1. (9.0) Acapulco Gold&Silver 11:34?
B 2. (1.0) Smokestack Lightning 10:02?
C 1. (3.0) Light Your Windows 3:01?
C 2. (7.0) Dino's Song 3:06?
+ outro faded after "Valenti..."
C 3. (11.0) The Fool 12:41?
D 1. (10.0) Who Do You Love 12:00?
+ 10.5 outro spliced with 3.5 outro
D 2. (4.0) Mona / Maiden 11:13
Note I: Tracks A3 and D2 are exactly the same recording, the only difference being that D2 runs 10 seconds faster and is better sound quality.
Note II: Sound quality is generally very good, though it varies a bit between the tracks and I noted a slightly weaker sound for all songs on side C.
Note III: The liner notes claim that several tracks come from another source, but all of it has been identified as being from Fillmore East, June 7.3.4 Summer Of '68 (CD Blue Knight US? 1993), tracks 1-9 (entire CD)1. (3.0) Light Your Windows 3:09 2. (7.0) Dino's Song 3:36 3. (11.0) The Fool 13:25 4. (10.0) Who Do You Love 12:48 5. (4.0) Mona 11:48 6. (1.0) Smokestack Lightning 10:48 7. (2.0) Codine 6:01 8. (8.0) Back Door Man 4:19 9. (9.0) Acapulco Gold and Silver 12:11 Note I: All track times are including intros/outros, where such exist. Note II: Sound quality has been reported to me as excellent.
3.5 Live In San Jose 66 (CD DR 009 Italy), tracks 6-9
6. (8.0) Back Door Man 4:19
7. (9.0) Acapulco Gold and Silver 12:34
8. (2.0) Codine 6:44
9. (11.0) The Fool 12:36
Note I: All track times are taken from the CD sleeve and include intros/outros, where such exist.
Note II: The sound quality is OK, but inferior to many other versions of the FE tape.
Note III: These 4 tracks appear only on the CD version of "Live in San Jose", not on the old vinyl boot. Nothing on the CD sleeve indicates that they in fact come from the Fillmore East show.
Note IV: The first half of the CD is from a completely different show, possibly from San Jose 1967. The sound quality on tracks 1-5 is very good.(more reissues will be added)4. CREDITSThanks to Dave Heller, Harold Smith & Michael Cross for valuable input.http://www.penncen.com/quicksilver/concert.htmhttp://www.qms2001.com/DF%20interview.htmlhttp://www.fillmore-east.com/showlist.htmlhttp://www.mjckeh.demon.co.uk/jc/jc-home.htmhttp://www.johncipollina.com/audio.html(The CD-R with the incorrect set list can be seen here: http://home.att.net/~mkw/cdr/qms680607-08.pdf )
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