This starts from young enthusiasm, to paying one’s dues in squalor, to rising fame, to the pinnacle of that fame, and moves ever onward around the cycle. And by onward around the cycle, we mean going down through the underworld of rock excess – the women, the drugs, the concept albums – and upward again, after the blaze of glory has long been extinguished for many a grizzled rock ‘n’ roll hero.
Then, comes the classic comeback. Some cynics out there might say the classic re-sell. Writer, music fan, and rock ‘n’ roll sceptic Geoff Moore is such a cynic …
On the eve of 40th anniversary box set reissue of Live Masterpiece, Classic Rocker sat down with the Delete Bin to discuss the monumental album, its place in rock’s canon, and his plans for celebratory summer tour. He still carries himself with that legendary louche and sardonic demeanor which inspired a generation to slouch toward rebellion, even if his famous mane of unkempt hair is now a curiously darker shade of brown than it was in 1971.
The non-smoking suite is thick with the scent of Marlboros and there are enough bottles on the room service cart to serve the needs of a decently stocked neighbourhood bar. Rocker shambles around hunched in shapeless charcoal sports jacket over a black tee, his skinny legs wrapped in black stovepipe jeans, his feet tucked into ankle high blue suede boots. A baseball game silently plays out its own peculiar rhythms on the flat screen television.
He finally consents to sit for the duration of the interview somewhere in proximity to the digital recorder, although remaining still and at ease seems an impossible challenge as he tugs at his lapels, his hoop earring and the small dewlap beneath his pointed chin.
Delete Bin: Since its release in 1971, Live Masterpiece has been regarded as one of rock’s seminal live albums, arguably the best ever.
Classic Rocker: Hmm …
DB: Were you conscious of that at the time?
CR: Well, the Stones and the Who had both put out live records around then, so, yeah, I guess I was aware of the competition, y’know?
DB: When ‘Live Masterpiece’ was first released as a compact disc in the 80s, it seemed to get the short shrift, as if it was rushed to market.
CR: The record company… y’know? I was never happy with the sound and the, hmm, packaging.
DB: The remastered deluxe edition which came out in the mid-90s was a double set with an entire bonus disc of extra songs.
CR: Hmm, yeah, the complete show, but out of order, obviously. I wanted the album to come out as a double in ’71 but a single LP was cheaper for the teenies, hmm, I mean, the fans.
DB: This new box set contains the re-remastered original single LP format and the re-remastered double deluxe edition although it’s been resequenced to match the actual running order of your entire set from that night way back in 1971.
CR: Hmm …
DB: Can you tell us about the fourth disc in the set?
CR: It’s, hmm, alternate versions of the same songs from other shows, no overdubs, sort of like a bootleg, I guess. Scraping the bottom of the vault (laughs), but the demand is there, y’know?
DB: And the DVD?
CR: It’s sort of a film, kind of a documentary of the tour with lots of moodily lit talking heads talking about me and, hmm, some footage from around that time that my manager found somewhere.
DB: A tour is in the works for this summer.
CR: Hmm, yeah. We’re going to play ‘Live Masterpiece’ in sequence and some others.
DB: You’re going to replay a 40-year-old concert in concert?
DB: Which one?
DB: Are you going to play the original 1971 single disc version of ‘Live Masterpiece’ or the complete double disc set from the box?
CR: Hmm, yeah. It’s going to be a great show. We’re playing better than ever. And I’ve, umm, told Live Nation, that there’s no way we’re doing these gigs if the ticket prices aren’t reasonable, y’know? Around $200 each or so, something affordable.
DB: Well, gee, that’s swell. Thanks for talking to us.
Geoff Moore lives and works in Calgary Alberta. He says that this post will soon be released in 3-D, in English, French, and Urdu – with bonus paragraphs.