At the turn of the 1970s, Humble Pie rivaled Led Zeppelin as the biggest blues-rock band in the world. Performance: Rockin' the Fillmore demonstrates why. Capturing the group at the height of its powers, the live set smokes with outlandish energy, virtuosic interplay, rhythmic might, and blistering grooves. Guitarist Peter Frampton and vocalist Steve Marriott use their individual star power to complement rather than compete with one another, while the remainder of the band follows suit with similar intensity.
Soaring on the strength of Frampton's struck-by-lightning melodies and Marriott's soulful high-pitched deliveries, Humble Pie personifies classic 1970s hard rock throughout this set, defined by zealous reinventions of songs by Willie Dixon, Ray Charles, and Dr. John. The group appropriates the classics as its own, with twin guitars harmonizing and harmonicas blowing, the original arrangements extended and reshaped, the band members pushing each other at every turn. That Frampton departed shortly after this San Francisco concert makes this album all the more memorable.
Remarkable, too, are the two epic workouts, one a 23-minute-plus jam on Dr. John's ''I Walk on Gilded Splinters''-listen for the sound of the bottle dropping at the beginning-and the other an inventive perusal of Muddy Waters' ''Rollin' Stone'' that closes with a boogie-based rendition of ''My Babe.'' Frampton, Marriott, and Co. were never as good as they are here.
Featuring dead-quiet surfaces, this Wax Cathedral LP is pressed at RTI
Originally released: 1971