We here at Native International Headquarters have been pretty excited ever since I, Dave Thomas, the drummer, made a big discovery deep in our labrynthian vaults.
If we were to wish for a particular gig to have been recorded in such a way that it could be remixed as a proper album, this show would be high on the list.
After months of touring to promote our eponymous first album, we had built up an armada of new songs for the follow-up release. And fortunately, that’s exactly what happened.
The headliner that night was Robbie Krieger of The Doors and special recording gear was brought in to capture that occasion. As the opening act, Native took advantage of the opportunity to do some capturing as well!
And, it’s a good thing. Little did we know that very shortly thereafter, John Epstein would leave, and our album plans would be shelved indefinitely.
Months went by before we settled on a new keyboardist – the effervescent John Watts – by which time we had accumulated even more new songs.
The fallout from all that was that several prime Native tunes never made it to the studio. Indeed it would be three years and a live album before another studio effort was done.
So, out of the past we find this golden treasure – a wonderful night with hardly a wrong note or forgotten lyric, and several extremely rare songs for you to feast upon! Mat Hutt and John Wood were so on you might forget the word off even exists! Mike Jaimes is on fire on every tune, especially his rarely-played Rolling Thunder which has an immaculate performance here. John Epstein’s Hot Day should make everyone lament that his tenure could not have been longer. And let’s mention Mat Hutt again because his rarities are sublime, and criminally under-represented in our archives. It’s just an astounding set list.
However, there is a caveat – isn’t there always a caveat?
The tape didn’t start rolling until about thirty seconds after we’d begun playing. I, Dave Thomas, the drummer, took it upon myself to blend in bits of a recording made two months earlier at the same venue. Many of the songs from that night matched up with the night we are presenting, with one major difference. I, Dave Thomas, the drummer, was in California. Which means that the drum chair was helmed that night by the incredible Roy Mayorga.
So, the opening bars of “Carried Away” are from that other tape, but also something extra and special. The version of “Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley” is also from that earlier night, so here’s our very belated tribute and thank you to Roy for sitting in while I was off trying to make a movie in Hollywood.
So, here you have it — our Christmas gift to you —
Native Live at Wetlands June 1995