Winterland (CD) by Stephen Stills/Manassas

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Winterland (CD)

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When Manassas took the stage on 7th October 1973, on the final night of their Winterland engagement that year, they had no idea it would turn out to be one of their last performances. Playing a wealth of material from their debut double album, a few choice numbers from their second record, and with some choice surprises in store, it would turn out to be one of the group’s most memorable shows.

The first set kicks off with a fully electric performance containing side one of their debut, performed in sequence. Both Stills and Al Perkins, who plays an impressive second lead guitar, as well as pedal steel, provide the bulk of the solos, and by this point in time they had become quite adept at complimenting each other. Chris Hillman then leads the group into a fine rendition of The Byrds' hit ‘So You Want To Be A Rock'N' Roll Star’, providing an unexpected but delightful conclusion to this 18-minute sequence. ‘Johnny’s Garden’ provides some lighter relief with its laidback folk-rock vibe before they conclude this first set with the smouldering blues cut ‘Go Back Home’, a standout track from Stills' first solo record.

At this point, Chris Hillman and Al Perkins take control and begin the country and bluegrass portion of the show. Sandwiched between two Burrito Brothers’ standards (‘Six Days On The Road’ and ‘You're Still On My Mind’) are three impressive numbers, including an early version of Hillman's ‘Safe At Home’, soon to be recorded with the Souther-Hillman-Furay Band. Stills also shines during this section on lovely versions o f‘ Fallen Eagle’ and ‘Hide It So Deep’, both also from the first Manassas album. Following an intermission, Manassas kick their second electric set off with the Latin-flavoured rocker ‘Pensamiento’, one of the standout tracks from their recently released second album, followed by a rousing rendition of ‘49 Bye-Byes’. Considerably different than its CS&N LP incarnation, this segues directly into an impressive percussion solo by Joe Lala and then concludes with a passage of the Buffalo Springfield classic, ‘For What It’s Worth’. Following introductions of the band members, Chris Hillman delivers a smoking rendition of ‘Lies’, another highlight from the sophomore album.

David Crosby joins in on electric guitar for the final section of the show as the group sinks their collective teeth into ‘The Treasure’, which evolves into a bluesy groove, washed in Stills' fierce electric slide guitar, which then rips into ‘Carry On’. This is a smoking conclusion to the set that leaves the Winterland audience up on their feet and clamoring for more.

Stills eventually obliges, returning to the stage with his acoustic for a solo reading of ‘Daylight Again’, a number totally new to the audience at the time, which segues directly into ‘Find The Of Freedom’. During the latter song, the entire band, as well as Crosby and Nash return to the stage and join Stills in an acapella sing-along to send the enraptured audience on its way.

 

 

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