I was wrong, of course. Yes, ego and display were involved, but then they always are, and the music was more than capable of transcending those dreary concerns. Listening to Birds of Fire today made me wonder what was wrong with my ears all those years ago, and made me question how I could possibly have been so dismissive of something I had previously recognised the value of. The beauty of Thousand Island Park was too fragile for my younger self, I'm afraid, and that's just one from several outstanding cuts. I suppose my penance should be to get hold of the albums I missed and do them justice, but that's hardly likely to involve any degree of suffering.
By the by, we saw Billy Cobham, the drummer on the first two Mahavishnu albums at the Singapore Womad a couple of years ago. He played a solo set on the upper stage, just a piece for drums lasting about 45 minutes and it was of the highest quality, leaving you wanting more - possibly the first drum solo I've ever heard that achieved that.