Friday, September 23, 2016

Iron Butterfly - 2014 - Live In Copehagen

Iron Butterfly 
2014 -
Live In Copehagen 1971

01. Best Years Of My Life
02. Soldier In Our Town
03. Stone Believer
04. Easy Rider (Let The Wind Pay The Way)
05. Butterfly Bleu
06. In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida
07. Goodbye Jam (with members of YES)

Recorded Live at the Falkoner Theater, Copenhagen, Denmark - January 25, 1971

Bass – Lee Dorman
Drums – Ron Bushy
Guitar – Rhino
Guitar, Vocals – Mike Pinera
Keyboards, Vocals – Doug Ingle

Recorded on the final night of the band’s 1971 European tour, Live In Copenhagen 1971 is another hollow-sounding, bootleg-quality tape albeit with slightly more presence than its predecessor. Unrestricted by the demands of a radio broadcast like on the previous night in Sweden, the band rips and snorts through a lengthy set list that draws five of its seven songs from Metamorphosis. Although Pinera and Reinhardt were considered hired guns in the studio, by this time they had been fully integrated into the band, and their addition not only upped the quality of the musicianship, but also the band’s potential.

Sadly, that potential wasn’t always fulfilled, as shown by “Best Years of Our Life.” The bluesy number relies too heavily on Pinera’s vocals and ample six-string diddling and never evolves far beyond its mundane bar band construction. “Soldier In Our Town” is much more intriguing, a mid-tempo dirge that nevertheless offers more depth to the band’s individual performances; the song’s dark ambience is supported by a subtle percussive rhythm and jolts of electrifying guitar. Pinera takes front and center again on “Stone Believer,” a funky lil’ romp built on Ingle’s riffing organ and Bushy’s steady drumrolls. The band’s lone single from Metamorphosis was “Easy Rider (Let The Wind Pay The Way,” a turbo-charged rocker that benefits from the band’s increasingly harder rock sound. Aside from an infectious Asian-tinged riff, the song’s odd time changes and fractured fretwork show more imagination than most of the tracks from Metamorphosis.

The dreaded “Butterfly Bleu” is revisited once again, at virtually the same excruciating length as before, and while it may have been a highlight of the band’s live performances, it doesn’t translate well to disc. This version has slightly more depth to it than the previous night’s performance, albeit with worse sound. It wouldn’t be Iron Butterfly without “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,” performed here with a raucous intro that shows the band shaking its collective groove thang to a vaguely Latin rhythm before roaring into the familiar church organ kicks in. This reading of the song seems a bit more energetic, the guitars more crushing, the banging of cymbals more frenetic, Ingle’s vocals deeper, spookier, and somber…sort of like late-night horror movie host Sir Cecil Creape singing an operatic aria.

The rarity factor of Live In Copenhagen 1971 is increased by the inclusion of “Goodbye Jam,” an almost eleven-minute jam with Tony Kaye and Bill Bruford of Yes. The then up-and-coming prog-rock legends were on the tour as the second opening band (the Top Ten chart successes of Butterfly’s previous two albums putting them in headlining position), and several members of Yes became friendly with their tourmates. The result is an invigorating, if cacophonous extended miasma of instrumentation that, while short on melody or even recognizable song structure, is nevertheless a heck of a lot of fun, featuring a lot of screaming guitars and screamed vocals, fluid rhythmic play, and explosive percussion.  

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