Side One: Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus*
Side Three: Mint Minus Minus (often quieter than this grade)*
Side Four: Mint Minus Minus
- With four outstanding sides, all boasting solid Double Plus (A++) sound, this Pink Label original is guaranteed to blow the doors off any other copy you've heard
- This is one of the all-time great live albums, and with a copy like this one YOU ARE THERE at the Fillmore
- The WHOMP factor here kicks up the excitement - here is the low end foundation that lets the extended guitar jams work their magic
- 5 stars: "At Fillmore East is like a great live jazz session, where the pleasure comes from the musicians' interaction and playing... The pinnacle of the Allmans and Southern rock at its most elastic, bluesy, and jazzy."
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*NOTE: On side two, several marks make 5 moderate pops, followed by 2 light ticks near the middle of Track 1, You Don't Love Me, then 20 light to moderate swooshy stitches, intermittent at times, on the last inch of the track. On side three, a mark makes 20 very light ticks at the end of Track 1, Hot 'Lanta.
When the music sounds this good, with this kind of rich, musical tonality and big, open soundstage, it just WORKS.
We've been looking for great copies of this one forever, but most of them are trashed and don't sound all that good. A transparent, lively copy like this one really lets everything that's great about this music come through. You can easily pick out each of the musicians and follow their contributions over the course of the songs.
The huge WHOMP factor throughout kicks up the excitement and sets the necessary foundation for the crazy guitar jams to sound correct. The top end has the kind of extension that brings out the ambience and spaciousness of the recording.
You can really hear the extension on the top end when you listen to the drumming. The cymbals are clear and silky sweet. In fact, the drums on this album are some of the most well-recorded drums I have EVER heard on a live rock record.
What the best sides of ... At Fillmore East have to offer is not hard to hear:
- The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
- The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1971
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange -- with all the instruments having the correct timbre
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space
No doubt there's more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.
What's Out There
Most copies are a bit thick and overly smooth. Later pressings tend to be somewhat dead sounding and frequently have aggessive upper midranges, an unpleasant combination.
If you want to hear this music right, this is the only way we know of to do it. The sound is rich, full, sweet and natural on this pressing, and that is simply not the case for most of the copies we've played.
It's guaranteed to beat any copy of the album you have ever heard -- including any and all Heavy Vinyl reissues -- or your money back.
What We're Listening For on ...At Fillmore East
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren't "back there" somewhere, lost in the mix. They're front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
- The Big Sound comes next -- wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
- Then transient information -- fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
- Tight punchy bass -- which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
- Next: transparency -- the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing -- an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
Mint Minus Minus is about as quiet as any vintage pressing will play, and since only the right vintage pressings have any hope of sounding good on this album, that will most often be the playing condition of the copies we sell. (The copies that are even a bit noisier get listed on the site are seriously reduced prices or traded back in to the local record stores we shop at.)
Those of you looking for quiet vinyl will have to settle for the sound of other pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don't have the vintage analog magic of these wonderful recordings.
If you want to make the trade-off between bad sound and quiet surfaces with whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing might be available, well, that's certainly your prerogative, but we can't imagine losing what's good about this music -- the size, the energy, the presence, the clarity, the weight -- just to hear it with less background noise.
- Statesboro Blues
- Done Somebody Wrong
- Stormy Monday
- You Don't Love Me
- Hot 'Lanta
- In Memory of Elizabeth Reed
- Whipping Post
AMG 5 Star Rave Review
Whereas most great live rock albums are about energy, At Fillmore East is like a great live jazz session, where the pleasure comes from the musicians' interaction and playing. The great thing about that is, the original album that brought the Allmans so much acclaim is as notable for its clever studio editing as it is for its performances.
Producer Tom Dowd skillfully trimmed some of the performances down to relatively concise running time... at times condensing several performances into one track. Far from being a sacrilege, this tactic helps present the Allmans in their best light, since even if the music isn't necessarily concise (three tracks run over ten minutes, with two in the 20-minute range), it does showcase the group's terrific instrumental interplay, letting each member (but particularly guitarist Duane and keyboardist/vocalist Gregg) shine.
Even after the release of the unedited concerts, this original double album remains the pinnacle of the Allmans and Southern rock at its most elastic, bluesy, and jazzy.