ON the way up to Rainbow from Finsbury Park station, all the first house audience for Traffic were coming noisily the other way, all shouting and jostling and laughing. At the time I thought they must have just seen a really good show, but after both of us had at one point fallen asleep, we decided they must have been glad to get out into the excitement of the evening streets.
Traffic, now a seven-piece, just didn't ring the changes. Every number was a long drawn ramble, which incidentally featured long solos which, considered on their own, were often exciting - but in the context of a show, the music just rolled interminably on, laid-back shuffle rhythm traffic jam after jam after jam, got really boring. Some of the old favourites were included -40.000 Headmen, No Face No Name No Number- but without any contrast between numbers, even they failed to stir the heart of the undemonstrative audience, who seemed to have resigned themselves to a long, long night.
John Martyn, whose solo spot opened the show, fared quite well in the face of appalling sound. His throbbing guitar solos, using feedback and echo machine, and his soft almost-jazz singer's voice needed a higher order of sound quality than a group can get away with.
However, his genial personality and thrilling cascades of notes showed that he has moved from the folky bag, found his own genuinely original style and with better sound, he would have blown Traffic off the stage. RS.
This review was printed in Record Mirror of 21 April 1973 in the 'live!' section on page 4. The text points out that they attended the second show of 21:30 hrs. The piece was signed 'RS' and this must have been Rick Sanders.
Material provided by Rob Jarvis.