Marvin Gaye - What's Going On: Live
Only Live Performance of Landmark 1971 Album What's Going On Receives Its First Standalone Release on Vinyl 2LP; Newly Mixed by John Morales at M+M Mix Studios and Mastered by Alex Abrash at AA Mastering
The only live performance by Marvin Gaye of his landmark 1971 album What's Going On – his first concert for four years – is to receive its first standalone release on double vinyl LP. Recorded at the Kennedy Centre in his home town of Washington during the city's Marvin Gaye Day on May 1, 1972 and then shelved for decades, it was released on CD in 2001 as part of the expanded deluxe edition of the album, but it has never before been issued on vinyl in its own right.
What's Going On Live has been newly mixed by John Morales at M+M Mix Studios and mastered by Alex Abrash at AA Mastering. The deluxe gatefold packaging also includes rare images from Gaye's performance as well as new liner notes by his biographer, David Ritz, who describes it as "an invaluable and vibrant historical document marking a milestone in the artist's career." The album includes the only known live recordings of Gaye performing four songs: "That's The Way Love Is" and "You" (which opened the Washington concert as part of a meditative 13-minute medley), "Right On" and "Wholy Holy." A delay in switching reel-to-reel tapes during the concert meant that his performance of the What's Going On hit "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)" was not successfully recorded.
It was his first live show since 1968, and he gave only one other brief performance in the year of 1972 the following month, a short set in Chicago on September 27 which was filmed and recorded for the documentary Save the Children. Gaye later told Ritz about the withdrawal from performing that followed the tragic early death of his friend and Motown recording partner Tammi Terrell. "I understood that I'd been punishing myself by staying away so long," he said. "I'd been denying myself love, and that's one of the most foolish things a man can do."