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The Philadelphia Inquirer, February 10, 2006

It's About That Time

Reader Lou Perfidio - the very same Tacony Lou who long ago strung for the Inky's Horsham Neighbors office - sent me deep into Wolfgang's Vault yesterday, and I'm here to report on this trip into the heady days of the Fillmore.

Named after promoter Bill Graham - born Wolfgang Grajonca in 1931 Berlin - the site is in the business of moving concert memerobilia - those vintage '60s and '70s posters, t-shirts, ticket stubs, photos - but they bait the hook with a Web radio station stocked with vivid live selections from the likes of Jeff Beck, Cream, Grateful Dead, Frank Zappa and Bruce Springsteen.

Clapton's wah-wahing on "Tales of Brave Ulysses" from a Fillmore show in 1967, Miles Davis's zoo-burning-down "It's About That Time" from three years later in the same hall, pre-Airplane "White Rabbit" by Grace Slick's Great Society - it all seems fresh from the soundboard. And it is.

Graham produced more than 35,000 concerts, taped thousands of them, and stored the tapes in the basement of Bill Graham Enterprises. Wolfgang's Vault, a Minneapolis concern, bought them in 2003 from Clear Channel Entertainment for more than $5 million, according to this report (, and has been streaming them in an FM-quality, 128k digital form. It's uncut, unsweetened - what the bands sounded like that night.

A Billboard piece about the Vault reports there's lots of video to come after the 75 songs being streamed initially. A Wall Street Journal piece reports that among the shows are a Led Zeppelin recording from when the lads were opening for Country Joe & The Fish. And there's the legendary raggedy last performance of the Sex Pistols at Winterland, which ended with Johnny Rotten asking, "Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?"

By Reader Lou Perfidio

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