Traffic in Concert – Live from The Santa Monica Civic, Santa Monica – February 21, 1972 – KMET-FM Broadcast –
Traffic in concert, broadcast live from The Santa Monica Civic on February 21, 1972 by KMET-FM in L.A. – I can vouch for this concert – it was amazing, I was there. It was the first time I saw the new lineup featuring Ghanaian percussionist Rebop Kwaku Baah and Low Spark Of High-Heeled Boys was an instant staple on the FM radio diet. For all the internal problems with the band, all the issues and addictions, they were solid on stage. I never saw a bad Traffic concert and Steve Winwood always gave 110%. It was always an exhilarating experience to see Traffic and they have figured somewhere in the top-ten as far as memorable concerts are concerned.
Traffic released The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys (1971), which was a Top 10 American album but did not chart in the UK. It sold over half a million copies in 1972 when it received a gold disc, and was awarded a R.I.A.A. platinum disc in March 1976 for over a million total sales. Once again, however, personnel problems wracked the band as bassist Rick Grech and drummer Jim Gordon left the band in December 1971, and the month after, Winwood’s struggles with peritonitis brought Traffic to a standstill. Jim Capaldi used this hiatus to record a solo album, Oh How We Danced, which would prove to be the beginning of a long and successful solo career. The album included a surplus recording from The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys, “Open Your Heart”, and the new tracks featured drummer Roger Hawkins and bassist David Hood, from the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio house band. Capaldi soon brought them on board to replace Grech and Gordon.
As a reminder of this 2nd phase of the band, here’s Traffic as they were at The Santa Monica Civic, broadcast by KMET on February 21, 1972.