SANTA MONICA CIVIC - A recent capacity Civic crowd seemed delighted at being submerged by three Island Records acts, all boasting new albums and all exhibiting broad appeal. Traffic played a lengthy but rewarding set. Triumvirate Steve Winwood, Chris Wood, and Jim Capaldi drive their audience into many moments of musical rapture via their highly stylized orchestrations. They are all superb musicians, probably some of the finest around. Particularly nice were 40,000 Headmen and Nothing To Say. The song Sometimes I Feel So Uninspired off Traffic's latest vehicle Shoot Out At The Fantasy Factory sounded like a potential hit single.
Sandwiched in between Traffic and John Martyn was Free. The group's lead ginger Paul Rodgers was 'free' enough with his microphone: the hotwired affair ended most abruptly at the end of the act when Rodgers uncontrollably threw it to the rear of the stage. This kind of exhibitionism along with the group's previous hits Fire And Water and All Right Now seemed to bring the act home free. They provided visual and audio excitement.
John Martyn, who opened the show, didn't command the attention of his audience until after his audio was turned up. His new Island album is called Solid Air, and though he is good, it will probably take a hit single to make him a solid attraction. The best received numbers were the acoustic instrumentals.
This review was published in Cash Box of 10 February 1973, in the Talent On Stage section. The author R.B. is probably Hollywood correspondent Ron Baron.