Spirit

The Last Euro Tour

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With the 2010 release of The Last Euro Tour, the ongoing series of posthumous releases by Spirit continues under the aegis of Floating World Records' Retroworld imprint, having moved from the Acadia label. But Spirit archivist Mick Skidmore is still in charge of preparing vintage tapes of the band for release, and the album chronicles what turned out to be the final European outing by the trio of singer/guitarist Randy California, drummer Ed Cassidy, and bassist/singer Mike Nile in November 1991. They played eight shows in England, Germany, and Austria, and came home with DAT soundboard tapes from which Skidmore has assembled an idealized, lengthy performance containing versions of all but one of the songs performed on the tour. (He deemed neither of the two takes of "Love Tonight" releasable.) Spirit was promoting its then-recently released Tent of Miracles album, and they played half-a-dozen tracks from it, including several written by Nile, who also took lead vocals on them, making him much more than a hired bassist accompanying principals California and Cassidy. Wisely, however, the group also presented an extensive "hits" repertoire, drawing ten songs from the four albums made by the original Spirit lineup, 1968-1970, including such favorites as "Nature's Way" and "I Got a Line on You." The rest consisted largely of blues covers by the likes of Mance Lipscomb and Jimmy Reed, plus the Jimi Hendrix arrangements of songs like "All Along the Watchtower" and "Hey Joe," reminding listeners of California's connection to Hendrix, with whom he played as a teenager. This is not the fully loaded Spirit of the early days, but it is a tight power trio led by California's psychedelic and bluesy guitar leads and Cassidy's powerful drumming, which means it is the version of Spirit that actually maintained the band's name for more than a quarter-century after the breakup of the original lineup, pleasing a lot of fans along the way, many of them in Europe.

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