The Yardbirds

Last Hurrah in the Big Apple

  • AllMusic Rating
    6
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

It's important to know the difference between bootlegging and pirating. Bootleggers put out live or studio recordings that have not been released commercially; pirates steal recordings that have been available commercially. On rare occasions, a bootlegger will detour into pirating if something has been out of print for a long time or is extremely difficult to find. TAKRL, one of the top bootleg labels of the 1970s, did some pirating with Last Hurrah in the Big Apple. This 1970s LP focuses on the Yardbirds' March 30, 1968, show at New York's Anderson Theater, which had resulted in Epic's 1971 LP Live Yardbirds Featuring Jimmy Page. The Led Zeppelin guitarist hated the Epic release with a passion, and it was withdrawn after Page (who was especially upset over the fake "applause" that Epic made the mistake of adding) filed a lawsuit. But TAKRL felt that the Anderson Theater concert didn't deserve to be unavailable, and so, the illegal LP Last Hurrah in the Big Apple was born. Some would argue that because Live Yardbirds Featuring Jimmy Page was withdrawn so quickly, Last Hurrah is really a bootleg instead of a pirate. But whether you call it a bootleg or a pirate, this LP isn't a bad listen. TAKRL, which obviously had access to a master recording of the show, didn't include the canned crowd noises that Epic added, noises that Page angrily described as "bullfight roars." While Last Hurrah isn't the ideal document of the Yardbirds on stage, it's a generally enjoyable record that offers hard-rocking performances of favorites like "Shapes of Things," "Heart Full of Soul," "Over Under Sideways Down," and "The Train Kept A-Rollin'." Page is featured on the raga-influenced instrumental "White Summer," and the Yardbirds really let loose during an 11-minute performance of "I'm a Man." Also interesting is an early version of "Dazed and Confused," which ended up having a completely different set of lyrics by the time Zeppelin recorded it in 1969. It should be noted that Last Hurrah isn't the only illicit album that focused on the Anderson Theater show, but if you wanted to hear the concert without the "bullfight roars" of Epic's impossible-to-find Live Yardbirds Featuring Jimmy Page, it was certainly an attractive option in the 1970s.