Photos By Arnie Goodman
Forest Hills’ own Leslie West returned to a New York City stage to celebrate the release of his forthcoming Provogue album Soundcheck, which also turned into a celebration of his upcoming 70th birthday.
At the start, West and his band launched into the Mountain classic “Blood of the Sun.” There it was, the classic Leslie West guitar tone reverberating throughout the venue, bringing the crowd of long time New York fans back to the glorious days of his band Mountain, Woodstock and the Fillmore East. West’s vocals were also in fine form, at times sounding smoother and more melodic than his rougher vocal sound from back in the day.
The set featured many Mountain classics, including “Theme From An Imaginary Western,” which West introduced, mentioning the recent passing of Cream’s bassist-singer/songwriter Jack Bruce, who wrote this song, one that has been part of West’s repertoire for 45 years. After an energetic solo from West’s longtime bass player Rev Jones, they launched into “Crossroads” as a tribute to Cream.
West, his jovial old self, fielded questions for a short Q&A session handled by his wife, Jenny. Later, at the show’s conclusion, she presented him with a huge birthday cake on stage, closing out a classic performance by one of the seminal rock guitarists of our time.
– Barry Fisch