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SPIRIT - LIVE AT ROCKPALAST 1978 COMPACT DISC

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It was the middle of the night in Germany, when the phone of the world-famous Whisky A Go-Go club, where all the great acts had played: the Doors, Janis Joplin, Led Zeppelin, was ringing. We frequently found ourselves talking on...

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It was the middle of the night in Germany, when the phone of the world-famous Whisky A Go-Go club, where all the great acts had played: the Doors, Janis Joplin, Led Zeppelin, was ringing. We frequently found ourselves talking on the telephone at night, this time in need of a replacement for the impending Rockpalast night at the Grugahalle in Essen, as The Kinks had cancelled their appearance due to an internal band crisis. That's when Rockpalast director Christian Wagner remembered his penchant for SPIRIT's music. We enlisted Spirit for a Rockpalast Eurovision broadcast in March 1978. The band's concert turned out to be one of the highlights of the first Rockpalast series (1977 to 1986). At the age of fifteen, Randy California had played with Jimi Hendrix and his band of that time. That his guitar style was strongly influenced by Jimi became apparent during the Rockpalast concert when he performed Hendrix' versions of the Dylan numbers "Like A Rolling Stone" and "All Along The Watchtower", adding an imposing bass foundation with his Moog synthesizer, which he operated like the foot pedal of an organ. Randy and his stepfather, drummer Ed Cassidy, had been the hard core of the numerous Spirit line-ups since 1968. Cassidy's drum set-up was impressive and included two timpani. Larry "Fuzzy" Knight completed the three-piece whose sophisticated arrangements consisting of rock, jazz, blues and psychedelic elements still had all the power of a "simple" classic rock trio. A special highlight came towards the end of the show when Dickey Betts, who had appeared on stage with his band Great Southern before Spirit, brought out his wall of amps again to jam with Spirit. One review even claimed that this jam had been the best performance broadcast by German television by that time.

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