Janis Joplin and The Full-Tilt Boogie Band – Honolulu International Center Arena- July 8, 1970 – Band soundboard –
On the surface, this is an extraordinary concert recording from Janis Joplin during her period with The Full-Tilt Boogie Band, recorded at The Honolulu International Center Arena on July 8, 1970.
And then you realize that less than three months later, she would be dead of an overdose at the ripe old age of 27 while staying at the Landmark Hotel on Franklin in Hollywood. October 4, 1970.
Fifty years to the day since Janis Joplin left – fifty years and she still astounds and amazes people who never heard her in concert, barely know her records, have probably only seen photos but all know the legend.
Within the space of a year, three of the most influential artists of the 1960s would leave – all at the age of 27, all from various stages of wretched excess and doing a little too much a little too often, and all leaving an indelible and unfillable gap in our culture.
October 4, 1970 was the day it all came to a crashing end – fifty years ago the news spread – not so much from the mainstream media. Network news relegated the exploits of counter-culture royalty to bare mentions and terse accounts.
But to the people who saw her countless times over a period of years – had all her albums and knew all the songs by heart, this was a tragedy – a shocking end to a larger-than-life figure. There wasn’t anyone like Janis Joplin – it was the whole presence – lots of people could sound like her, some almost identical. But Janis Joplin was more than a voice – she instilled a rugged individuality and a fierce desire to break through barriers that set her apart from just about everyone else. She never just sang a song, she possessed it, tore it up from its roots and breathed new life into it. She was truly one of a kind.
And as a reminder, to get some idea of the raw power of her voice and her presence, here is a rather good sounding representation by way of a concert, one of the last before her untimely death – October 4, 1970.
Doesn’t seem like 50 years ago – doesn’t feel that long.
The endless, strange trip continues.
Enjoy the show – a little creaky in spots but it burns brightly in all the right places.