Author: Dale Nickey
Jethro Tull w/Glenn Cornick played The Isle of Wight Festival in August 1970 to an audience of between 600 and 700 hundred thousand people (Guinness book estimate). It was Britain’s answer to Woodstock only bigger; however, feel good vibes were definitely in short supply. A large mob who had not paid for admittance to the event took exception to being fenced out. They set about tearing the large corrugated steel fence down. Police and fans squared off. It was the music that calmed nerves and avoided a riot.
Tull played the fifth and last day of a very long festival. And similar to Woodstock, they faced a large, cranky and sleep deprived throng. Tough crowd. Woodstock looked like the beginning of something. Unfortunately it was the beginning of the end. The bitter end was Altamont and finally the Isle of Wight Festival. The Isle of Wight was the last festival of its kind for decades.
Tull took the stage with a tough brief and blew the doors out of the place with an electrifying performance. Glenn Cornick was throwing flames in particular. He gets some bass/face time in the second half of this performance. It’s worth the wait.
Syd Barrett (1969) – “The Madcap Laughs”
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The leader of Pink Floyd blew his mind out after months of continuous acid usage. After frying his way through one stupendous debut album with the Floyd, the wheels started wobbling fast. Hence, a race ensued between Syd’s first solo album release date and his rapidly evaporating muse. Syd’s replacement in Pink Floyd (Dave Gilmore), came in to the project on a salvage mission and assumed the production chores on Barrett’s off-kilter masterpiece, “The Madcap Laughs”.
The album is awash with idiosyncratic playing, mistakes, false takes, and other unexpected events. Syd Barrett was a musical shaman/visionary with leading man looks who could have stood with Lennon and Dylan. Instead he streaked across the sky in one short 24 month Technicolor sunburst, and was gone.
It was unclear if Barrett was an undiagnosed schizophrenic who reacted badly to LSD, or if LSD was the sole catalyst for his descent into mental illness. However, it’s indisputable that Barrett changed the course of Rock and Roll with his psychedelic adventures in hi-fi. Additionally, his influence on Pink Floyd was pervasive and permanent. Their spacy improvisations and sonic explorations trace directly back to Barrett. Moreover, they wrote several songs about him and took a familial interest in his well-being until his death in 2006 from pancreatic cancer.