Vanilla Fudge – Live at Sweden Rock 2016 – The 50th Anniversary
Vanilla Fudge was one of those flashy influential bands that arose in the late 1960’s as hard rock coalesced into what we know as Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. Never heard of them? No surprise, their flame burned brightly and quickly faded, leaving behind a cool name, five albums, and only one hit: a cover of the Supremes “You Keep Me Hanging On.” Then they all went their own ways, with Tim Bogart (bassist) and Carmen Appice (drums) creating Cactus, another admittedly obscure band that hasn’t made the cut for today’s Classic Rock rotation. Vanilla Fudge reunited from time to time and had some minor personal shifts, but this latest reformation brings back Stein, Martell, and Appice with newcomer Pete Bremy on bass. On this disk they appear at Sweden Rock, and sound quite good in front of a crowd of mixed ages siting politely in folding chairs.
The set is mostly covers; the only new material are the two cuts “Let’s Pray for Peace” and “Good, Good Livin’.” While these are fine tracks, the good stuff here lies in an extended psychedelic cover of Donvan’s “Season of the Witch,” The Monkees’ “I’m a Believer” and The Doors’ “Break on Through. ” There’s even a Led Zeppelin cover (Zep opened for these guys the week Vanilla were touring headliners). “Dazed and Confused” rocks, leading into the closing number, a heartfelt “You Keep Me Hanging On.” Sound quality is excellent, and the camera work is simple yet effective. There’s both a CD and a DVD in my review copy, both are acoustically identical. Unfortunately, you’ll get zero special features so its off to Mr. Internet if you want more backstory. It’s a simple, direct performance: these guys tune up, rock out and then head backstage. Points for a good show, and more points for putting it on.