Box of Rain

Fleetwood Mac – The Complete Warehouse Tapes (1970) (2020) [16-44]

Fleetwood Mac was part of a triple bill: The Flock, Fleetwood Mac and The Grateful Dead on 1/30/70 and 1/31/70. The Dead famously got busted by the New Orleans cops in the night of February 1, while Fleetwood Mac narrowly escaped by getting lost on the way to the hotel (although they were probably not the target anyway). The Grateful Dead members (minus two) and hanger-onโ€™s were released after a couple hours jail time, but not before having to pay a huge amount of bail money. So, the next day, a benefit concert was organized at the Warehouse and Fleetwood Mac agreed to open for the Dead once more, since they had a day off. The concert attracted a pretty large crowd through sheer word-of-mouth.

Supposedly, the drinking water was spiked with LSD by the Dead’s notorious soundman/guru on all three occasions. If Peter Green drank of it, this would certainly have been noticeable on the first set as his speeches are unhinged and lacking coherence. He sounds more together on the 2nd set, even though his announcement to ‘I Gotta Mind To Give Up Living’ is sort of disturbing. His mood seems best during the third set. Green’s playing and singing, however, is first-class throughout as always.

Much has been written about Peter Green’s rise and especially his demise. As sad as his passing is, to me the artist Peter Green died about 50 years ago. The personal trauma he suffered that eventually led to his departure from FM in May 1970 was not something that started overnight. The initial signs of a mental breakdown already came in 1968, when he first encountered LSD in the States (again, courtesy of Owsley) and began to feel the pressures of the industry when the group had a surprise hit with ‘Albatross’, both of which he did not respond particularly well to. However, as erratic as his behavior became, the music just got better and better. The group’s third album ‘Then Play on’ (Sept. 1969) was a commercial and artistic success and by being one of the first bands with the asset of having two master lead guitarists, Fleetwood Mac were an unbeatable force as a live-act.

This document captures the group at the height of their powers and it has the added benefit of the band not being under any “recording stress”, unlike the Boston shows from a couple days later. The late Grateful Dead’s archivist Dick Latvala was responsible for leaking the first two sets to the public in the 90s. On cassette, but still a holy grail by all bootleg standards and reportedly Owsley was really pissed off about it. The third set comes mostly from Wolfgang’s vault and circulates only as a lossy source (please correct me if I’m wrong). It has lesser fidelity than set 1+2, but the band is smoking and it’s easily the most energetic performance.

For those wondering why ‘Coming Your Way’ on set 2 cuts after three and a half minutes; I discovered that the second part of this song, which is tacked-on on all Warehouse bootlegs, does NOT BELONG there. That second part comes from the version played on 1 February, so that’s where I put it. Same goes for ‘Tiger’ and ‘Twist and Shout’; these songs are from 1 February and not one day earlier as commonly believed. I suspect Latvala put those three bits there on the tape he sent out.

The source material here may not be able to compete with a multi-track recording and there are various tape flaws, but it really is a jewel for the greatest part. I’m not sure if any of this is ever gonna come out on an official release from the mastertapes but if not, this compilation might be an acceptable alternative. It’s still a bootleg but about as good as they get.

So here it is; for the first time all three sets together in correct order and everything newly remastered for an optimal listening experience.

Track Listings:

(Part 1) January 30, 1970

  1. Intro
  2. Before the Beginning
  3. It Takes Time
  4. Like it this Way
  5. Only You
  6. Madison Blues
  7. Oh Baby
  8. Albatross
  9. The Green Manalishi (With the Two Prong Crown)
  10. World in Harmony
  11. Stranger Blues
    All Tracks are Stereo

(Part 2) January 31, 1970

  1. Sandy Mary
  2. I Gotta Mind To Give Up Living
  3. Only You
  4. World In Harmony
  5. Stranger Blues
  6. I Can’t Hold Out
  7. Oh Well
  8. Rattlesnake Shake {sequels into ‘Searching for Madge’ & ‘Underway’, cuts out/in near the end}
  9. Coming Your Way {cuts out halfway}
    All Tracks are Stereo

(Part 3) February 1, 1970

  1. Like It This Way {cuts in near the end}
  2. I Gotta Move
  3. Madison Blues
  4. Albatross
  5. Doctor Brown
  6. Talk With You
  7. The Green Manalishi (With the Two Prong Crown)
  8. Coming Your Way {patched together from 2 audio sources}
  9. Tiger
  10. Twist and Shout
  11. Sandy Mary
    All Tracks are Mono


Recorded live at “A Warehouse”, New Orleans, LA on January 30 & 31 & February 1, 1970
Recording to 2-track by Owsley Stanley

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