This was most likely Mountain's very last show with the "original" lineup, recorded on New Year's Eve 1974 at the NYC Felt Forum within the Madison Square Garden complex.
Though formed in 1969, Mountain first disbanded in February 1972 after a tour of the UK. After West, Bruce & Laing and Leslie West's Wild West Show in June and July 1973, Felix Pappalardi and Leslie West reunited and hired Bob Mann and Alan Schwartzberg for a Japanese tour in August 1973.
At the beginning, this might have been regarded as a one-off undertaking. However, this tour yielded the Twin Peaks double album that was originally planned as a Japanese-only release but was released worldwide in 1974. Alas, the Japanese shows and this resulting album did not represent Mountain adequately by any means.
After the tour, West insisted that Corky Laing be part of the band if they were to continue. Pappalardi agreed but demanded in return - much to West's dismay - that the band took on David Perry as an additional guitarist (to avoid the Mountain look and not sound too much like Cream [he had produced three albums for the group]). It seemed the band's original organ player, Steve Knight, was not considered.
In a nutshell, this four-piece toured from late 1973 to September 1974, and recorded the band's last album, Avalanche, in January 1974. The few existing recordings from this period showed a revitalized band with some refreshing new and up-to-the-mark material.
After their September 1974 tour, it seemed West finally succeeded in convincing Pappalardi to condense the band to his favourite trio format. Pappalardi obviously gave in and it was left to West to phone Perry to give him the bad news. Perhaps it was already decided at this point that their autumn/winter 1974 tour would be the band's farewell which may have made it easier for Pappalardi to actually concede.
The band kicked off their last tour on October 3, 1974 with a phenomenal show at NYC's Radio City Music Hall. Fortunately there is a decent audience recording of this in circulation and it's worth getting hold of. On this tour, Mountain were the main act when they played mid-sized venues and, for larger venues, they were the support act, for instance, they supported new stars the J Geils Band.
One can only hope that West was indeed happy on this tour - at least, this recording demonstrates a still extra-tight band. They even came up with an otherwise not-to-be-found rendition of Ten Years After's I'm Going Home, perhaps a nod to their colleagues (both bands often appeared in festivals together) who were also, at that time, on the verge of splitting.
The sound quality for this recording is superb, it's a first generation off-the-master copy, and it's a complete recording of the show. Close listening reveals that it must be an audience recording but it is indeed so well recorded that one may mistake it for a soundboard tape.
New York 1974
Live at the Felt Forum, New York, December 31, 1974
Leslie West - guitar, vocals
Felix Pappalardi - bass, vocals
Corky Laing - drums
Track 01 Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On
Track 02 Theme For An Imaginary Western
Track 03 Thumbsucker
Track 04 You Better Believe It
Track 05 Nantucket Sleighride I
Track 06 Nantucket Sleighride II
Track 07 Medley: Leslie West's Solo / Roll Over Beethoven / Drum Solo / Going Home Jam
Track 08 Mississippi Queen