Janis Joplin - lead vocals; Sam Andrew - guitar, vocals; Richard Kermode - organ; Brad Campbell - bass; Lonnie Castille - drums; Cornelius "Snooky" Flowers - sax, vocals; Terry Clements - tenor sax; Luis Gasca - trumpet
This show was recorded during Janis Joplin's transitional period, when she was trying to find her own artistic space amid a sea of adulation, controversy, and confusion. At the urging of her manager, Albert Grossman, her label Columbia Records, and many writers in the rock press, she had abandoned Big Brother and the Holding Company, who was, of course, the Bay Area band that had added her as lead vocalist in late 1966 and had been part of her ascent to superstardom after an incendiary appearance at the Monterey Pop Festival.
Her final show with Big Brother and the Holding Company had been in early December, 1968, and by the 18th of that month, she was in rehearsals with her new group, the Kozmic Blues Band. By December 20th, completely unprepared, she had to fulfill an obligation and performed for the Stax/Volt Records Christmas Party. From there, it was an almost non-stop trek performing around the globe until June, 1969, when she and the band began sessions for her first solo album, I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama!.
The first few shows for Janis and this band were understandably a little rough. Only guitarist Sam Andrew had been held over from Big Brother, and the new band was designed to be an R&B group playing more soul music than the hard rock and electric blues Joplin had become known for. This is the second of two nights recorded at the Fillmore East in New York. The two-night stint got mixed reviews, but as a whole, audiences were blown away by the force of Joplin's onstage charisma. The Kozmic Blues Band were superior musicians to the members of Big Brother, and Joplin had far better material, although she did keep her biggest hits from Big Brother including "Summertime," "Piece Of My Heart," and "Ball & Chain."
These shows were some of the earliest showcases of songs that would become staples in the Joplin repertoire, including her sassy remake of the Eddie Floyd soul classic, "Raise Your Hand," her bluesy re-take of the Chantel's "Maybe," her complete re-arrangement of The Bee Gees pop hit, "To Love Somebody," and her showstopper, Nick Gravenites's blues anthem, "Work Me Lord."
Joplin remained with the Kozmic Blues Band through end of 1969 (although Andrews left after the Woodstock show and returned to join Big Brother with its new vocalist, Kathy McDonald). She disbanded the group and returned in early 1970 with the Full Tilt Boogie Band, with whom she recorded her greatest work, Pearl, and with whom she was working with at the time of her untimely death in October of 1970.