Mountain is one of those really great ’70s classic rock bands that never gets airplay any more. Why is that? They didn’t CHART in the top 10, silly, so they are pretty much ignored by the pinhead programmers running what passes for radio these days. Mountain filled stadiums and put out what might be the longest song ever released on vinyl. They recorded a 41:03 live version of “Nantucket Sleighride” that filled two album sides. It is one of the few rock and roll songs based on a Herman Melville novel. Never heard of them? Too bad, sonny boy, but please don’t start with this double CD, which belongs in the cut out bins.
What’s the problem? These discs cover all the classic songs, performed in 2003 in NYC and Europe, but absent is founding member Felix Pappalardi, who was shot by his wife in the early 80s. The remaining two original band members, Leslie West and Corky Laing, put up a sloppy and uninteresting set. Bits are okay, and true fans might want this just for completion. But overall, it’s a weak performance. Probably the low point comes when the audience is hectored into singing “Mississippi Queen” and “Rocky Mountain Way.” I’m not big on audience sing-alongs, but at least they should be spontaneous. I mean, you pay the band to sing for you, right?
There are a few good tunes here. “Theme for an Imaginary Western” sounds pretty decent, and “Crossroads” comes off well. Interestingly, Eruption includes two versions of “Nantucket Sleighride,” both of which should be flensed from this collection. If you’re new to this band, go find a copy of Twin Peaks. It’s far superior, and has all the essentials.