Traffic this weekend. One of those bands whose sound has maintained a freshness some 50 years on (hard to believe, but don’t get me started). They weren’t gimmicky, with no flash or posture – they just played honest, well-crafted music in a thoroughly engaging way. It was the same with their live concerts – from this early beginning (they played L.A. early in 1968), all the way through Shootout At The Fantasy Factory some 8 years later, and even with personnel and direction changes and a brief disbanding in 1969 and regroup in 1970, Traffic maintained a high level of musicianship and artistic integrity, and I’m happy to say I saw them through that entire stretch, so I can vouch for the accuracy.
Sadly, not a lot of early Traffic is around – or it may be around, but hasn’t been unearthed yet. This concert, done for Sveriges Radio in Sweden is most likely from their debut tour of Europe – since the band is only 5 months old when this concert happened. It has a freshness from feeling their way around a new venture; getting balances and harmonies right – things that only happen as the result of repetition. But luckily, the Swedish Radio engineers kept everything together and the result is a very enjoyable 40+ minutes.
Even though this particular lineup (with Dave Mason) wouldn’t last beyond the debut album, the core members of the band stayed in tact. Mason briefly returned in 1968 to contribute to their follow-up album before embarking on his own solo career.
I originally posted a version of this concert several years ago, via my previous website, but the technical limitations of the audio player and upgrading the sound on those older posts just made posting fresh ones a better idea. Technology has changed, even in 5 years and so have websites. With a concert as special as this, treating it with respect is the least you can do.
Enjoy and crank it up.