In the annals of Beefheart
-ian lore, the 1972 Bickershaw Festival goes down among the most startling shows he ever performed: Joe Strummer
apparently declared it the best gig he ever attended, and sundry other luminaries, too, have described it as a classic. This is not necessarily apparent from the recording, at least at first. Never intended for commercial release, the show was taped because it could be, with what sounds like some very rough equipment -- you can hear the microphone thumping around in someone's bag, for goodness sake. The vocals distort, the levels are all over the place, and you could probably catch a migraine from the feedback. But still Live at Bickershaw Festival 1972
is compulsive listening, one of the earliest complete Beefheart
live recordings available (legally, at any rate), and one that is overloaded with brutal energy and electricity. Plus, you simply cannot fault the set list.