Reed Nielsen - piano, guitar, vocals; Mark Pearson - guitar, vocals; John Bowen - bass, synths, vocals; Duane Temme - drums, vocals
Reed Nielsen and Mark Pearson formed the Nielsen-Pearson Band in the mid-1970s (later dropping the "band" part of the name), breaking out of Sacramento, California and staying together for over a decade. This show is among the earliest recordings of the band, made when the quartet was still three years away from a major label deal on Epic Records.
Taken from the late promoter Bill Graham's archives, this show was captured at the Winterland Ballroom in 1974, when the Nielsen Pearson Band was an opening act at shows in and around the San Francisco area. On this night they opened for Les Dudek. Likewise, the material is from the band's earliest period and none of these songs appear on any of the band's three label studio albums. Still, there is a 45-minute set here which is more than enough to see what the band and its music was all about.
Musically, they appeared to be influenced heavily by the first collection of Southern California acoustic rockers, most notably CSNY, Jackson Browne, and the early Eagles. The group is also not afraid to rock out on several of the tracks, especially the show opener and "Go Now, Pay Later."
The duo of Nielsen and Pearson began working together in 1969 after both had been kicking around the Sacramento club scene in various local bands. Initially, Nielsen was a drummer, but soon after he began writing with Pearson, he switched to guitar and piano, opening up the way for the two men to form a full fledged band. After eight years trying to get established, the band was finally signed by CBS's Epic Records (now owned by Sony) in 1977. They released a critically acclaimed debut album as the Nielsen-Pearson Band, before shortening the name with the second album.
Unfortunately, although they had a cult audience in the Bay Area and most critics felt they were extremely talented as writers and performers, none of their nationally released albums failed to sell in any major amount. They did their last album for Capitol in 1983.