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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z Back to main page

Jazz On A Summer's DayJeff Lynne's ELO
Live In Hyde Park (Eagle Rock)

As the accompanying short interview section confirms Jeff Lynne really doesn't like touring, which is why he has been seen so seldom on stage over the last fifteen years, but he's clearly been missed as The 50,000 tickets for the show in Hyde Park on 14 September 2014 sold out in 15 minutes. OK so he's not the most charismatic or even comfortable of front men but this isn't about showmanship, this is all about the songs, and despite fluffing the odd line and intro this show is pretty much note perfect throughout and whilst for most bands a greatest hit's set may include (if they're lucky), three or four songs this really is pretty much all killer, no filler including 'All Over The World', 'Evil Woman', 'Showdown',' Livin Thing', '10538 Overture', 'Sweet Talkin Woman', 'Turn To Stone', 'Don t Bring Me Down', 'Telephone Line', 'Mr Blue Sky','Roll Over Beethoven' and Lynne even manages to slot in the Traveling Wilburys 'Handle With Care'. If you then factor in the additional inclusion of excellent full length documentary Mr Blue Sky (recently seen on the telly box) it makes adding this to your collection pretty much a no brainer.
Ray Harper

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EloyEloy
The Legacy Box
(Soul Food)

Something for you fans of progressive rock because, as hard-core prog-heads will doubtless be aware, progressive rock was not an entirely UK based affair (although the UK was certainly where the roots of the genre lay), with France (Magma, Clearlight), Italy (Banco del Mutuo Soccorso, Premiata Forneria Marconi), Holland (Focus, Trace) and of course the very influential Krautrock scene in Germany all producing incredible material. Which brings us to German Proggers Eloy who never really connected, in any meaningful way, outside of their homeland (often dismissed as simple Floyd copyists), but who still deserve our attention, not least because they have made some great music. On the downside the documentary has some clumsy subtitle translations and little live footage (preferring to utilise various transitional video effects), but the various bands members trips down memory lane are consistently entertaining – and they don’t shy away from the more fractious elements of their history – plus a second disc of music clips more than makes up for the lack of musical footage in the doc' (perhaps they simply didn’t want to show clips twice). In all a great two disc set for fans and an equally good introduction for those of you seeking prog-pastures new (and old).
Ray Harper

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Emerson Lake & PalmerEmerson Lake & Palmer
Pictures At An Exhibition
(Eagle Vision)

Those of you old enough to have first seen this in 1973 at the pictures (as we old folks would call going to cinema), may well recall what remains my major complaint about this concert film now (pauses to allow old brains to creak into gear…). I still clearly remember spending most of the journey back home on the bus bemoaning the gratuitous use of ludicrously heavy handed psychedelic effects, laid on with a trowel and exhibiting all the artistry of a secondary school rock fan. For example you may or may not want to watch Keith Emerson thumping seven shades of shite out of his keyboard whilst stabbing it and leaping all over it like a school gym pommel horse, that is a matter for you, but to have said acrobatic nihilism swathed in so much psyched out goo that you can’t see anything but, well psyched out goo is hellishly frustrating. Filmed at the Lyceum in London in December 1970, this new special edition is the most complete version of the film available and despite the rubbish graphics the band are captured here in top notch form flexing their noodly prog-rock pecs to mind-boggling effect.
The Oracle

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Efterklang Efterklang & The Danish Chamber Orchestra
Performing Parades (Leaf)

It’s no longer unusual for a band to perform albums in their entirety - indeed it seems to have reinvigorated both live performance and live performers - it is altogether something else to reinvent your whole album with an orchestral score (and not have it sound like you’ve just bunged some faux classical strings on) and then perform it live, and make no mistake this is a very different beast to the original album. From the clownishly uncool costumes and spare but atmospheric stage set to the newly realised music this is a truly magical performance which leaves you goosebumping like a bugger, and do yourself a favour and kick off with the short documentary where lighting, design, orchestra and band struggle to create a unified whole as the clock ticks down (even something as simple as a click track, used as the orchestra has no conductor, becomes a time consuming hurdle). If you are a fan of Parades, you will love this to bits, if you have never heard the album however this is still a wonderfully uplifting experience which will send you beetling back to the original album. Don’t let anyone tell you there’s no new music being created, this is fucking brilliant. Also includes an audio CD of the show and seven videos.
Drew Bass

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Electric DreamsElectric Dreams
(Second Sight Films Ltd.)

Originally released in 1984, in the days when people were convinced that computers barely more powerful than pocket calculators were, when accidentally transformed (in this case by a bottle of spilled champers), capable of taking over our lives, nicking our birds and quite probably ruling the world – I blame Hal from 2001. Let’s be honest here, were not talking Citizen Kane, and if you have an aversion to bad ‘80s fashion and Miami Vice hair then Electric Dreams is not going to toot your whistle. If however you have a fondness for MTV style films loaded to the gunnels with music by the likes of Culture Club, Heaven 17, Jeff Lynne, Giorgio Morodor and Phil Oakey (both of whom suppliy the title track and the ‘video-of-the-hit-single’ special feature) and, for the chaps at least, a youthfully petite Virginia Madsen (rather than the busty blonde found on red carpets nowadays), then chances are you’re gonna enjoy an hour and a half in the company of Electric Dreams. It may be ludicrously implausible and about as dated as a Howard Jones Top Of The Pops appearance but it’s fun, and far better than most of the rom-com dross out there right now.
Josh Marks

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Earth Wind & FireEarth Wind & Fire
Live In Japan
(Eagle Vision)

This is utterly joyous music played with panache – these really are prodigiously talented musicians – and delivered with the sort of stagecraft that leaves most white rock bands (with the possible exception of Peter Gabriel) looking positively mundane. The vocal harmonies, although often convoluted and off-beat, are consistently on the button whilst the horn section may not be the legendary Phoenix Horns but they regularly take songs to another place altogether. OK this isn’t the same inspirational line-up of the mid ‘70s who delivered one of the all time great live albums in Gratitude – or as loaded with pyrotechnics, magic, laser lights, flying pyramids and levitating guitarists as back in the day - but neither is it a collection of session men going through their paces as long termers Maurice and Verdine White, Philip Bailey, Andrew Woolfolk and Ralph Johnson lead the, heavily choreographed set (is there a more active bass player than Verdine White in the world?) which is peppered with such classic EWF moments as ‘Getaway’, ‘September’, ‘Fantasy’, ‘Reasons’ and the mighty ‘Shining Star’, and aside from a couple of ill-advised rap sections this mélange of funk, Latin, jazz and soul tears the roof off. And they even manage a little bit of EWF magic to round off the show.

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Echo & The BunnymenEcho & The Bunnymen
Dancing Horses
(Secret Films)

There’s been much made of Liam Gallagher’s obsession with John Lennon, but a far less trumpeted influence is Ian McCulloch, who may not quite boast Gallagher’s pipes but he more or less wrote the book on arrogant swagger – which we’re pleased to note is still present and correct. Notoriously wayward as a live proposition and blighted by disaster (not least the death of drummer Pete de Freitas), the Bunnymen split in the late ‘80s only to begin working together again, just over a decade later, after lacklustre solo careers. Which neatly brings us to this concert recorded at London’s Shepherds Bush in 2005 where we find a positively energised Bunnymen (OK so they don’t move much but take it from us this is the bunnyboys on form), mixing up old classics and new material for an audience of die-hard bunnyfans. Extras include substantial interviews with Will Sergeant and Mac who, if anything, proves even more bullish today than in his glory days, and if it’s highly unlikely that the Bunnymen will be clambering again to the exalted heights of their mid ‘80s heyday we would all be hellish disappointed to find McCulloch intent on anything less than world domination.

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****************************************************************** That'll Be The DayThat’ll Be The Day/ Stardust
(Optimum)

After the recent kerfuffel about Slade In Flame – a fair, if seriously flawed, effort at ‘70s gritty realism – another effort from the same era (made just a year before in fact) is due it’s own reassessment, not least because it was actually rather good. Set in the mid ‘50s and, depending on who’s version of events you subscribe to, loosely based either on the Harry Nilsson song '1941' or the early years of John Lennon, Jim MacLaine (David Essex) in an act of spontaneous rebellion skips his exams at the last moment only to find himself frustrated and directionless, drifting through a series of grim seasonal jobs before heading back defeated to his dreary hometown for a more respectable family life, only to bugger off again for a career in the music biz (the consequences of which are dealt with on disc two in Stardust the less impressive but still well worth watching follow up attempt at documenting the hedonistic rock and roll lifestyle). What lifts this above the general rock star film vehicle is that it’s not ostensibly about music, although rock and roll permeates the films very core, and is helped immeasurably by a worthwhile script and the fine performances by all concerend including the films non-actors Essex and Ringo Starr.

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Easy Star All StarsEasy Star All Stars
Dub Side Of The Moon
(Easy Star)

Anyone who has spent more than the odd passing moment at a festival in the last few years will doubtless have come across the remarkable dub reinterpretation of Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon which, when you sit and think about it for a moment, was always going to be a brilliant idea. And so it proved, managing to both remain faithful to the original whilst simultaneously becoming something of a stone dub classic. Now we have the live DVD, recorded in Falls Church Virginia of all places, and once again it’s a blast. Having watched this in the same sitting as the newly re-released Pulse DVD – now complete with Gilmour and Co. playing Dark Side... in it’s entirety - you might imagine this would suffer by comparison but not at all, sure the production values aren’t of the same order (the Easy Stars stage show even playfully includes a small circular projection backdrop with approximations of the visuals seen in Pulse) but the quality of the recording is fine, the film captures the band in excellent form and is rounded out with interviews, backstage footage, making of.. features and more.

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ELOElectric Light Orchestra
Out Of The Blue: Special Edition
(Eagle Vision)

In 1978 possibly the most un-cool thing anyone under the age of 20 could do was admit a sneaking admiration for ELO. Punk was doing it’s utmost to dismantle the ‘tiny spot on the horizon’ style stage set-ups, the hideous brickie in flappy drag-glam costumes, the massive perms and mullet helmets, in fact pretty much everything ELO stood for at this stage, so Jeff Lynne, Bev Bevan and Co. simply decamped to the US and created the multi-million selling Out Of The Blue around which this live set filmed in 1978 at London’s Wembley Arena is built. Fabulously naff moments abound like the fawning Tony Curtis intro or Bevan pointing out the Duke and Duchess of Kent are in the house (and then bowing for gods sake!) but when all’s said and done when you have Phil Spector meets the Beatles tunes like ‘Mr Blue Sky’, ‘Livin’ Thing’, ‘Sweet Talking Woman’ and ‘Telephone Line’ in your set you can bow to whoever the hell you want (and wear a pack of tinfoil if you like), and it all comes nicely packaged in a slip-cased digipack with a neat little replica tour programme to boot.

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EuropeEurope
Live From The Dark
(Sanctuary)

Go on, name one Europe song other than the abysmal ‘The Final Countdown’, you can’t can you? Well a few of you might be able to but you’re fans aren’t you? Beyond the fringe of the metal mag community these Scandinavian rockers have barely registered on the rock-ter scale (sorry, dismal joke). So, for the uninitiated what we have here is a muscular old skool denim and leather rock outfit al la UFO or Uriah Heep – not forgetting the usual metal sixth form drivel masquerading as lyrics – and given the altogether misleading evidence offered by their one big hit, Europe are actually not at all bad in a Marshall stacked grunting, beer‘n’chopper kinda way. There’s nowt here to suggest they will ever be anything other than a foot-note in the margins of rock history, but to be fair if you like your rock more Judas Priest than System Of A Down then this DVD may well be right up your street and for die-hard fans there's a handy second DVD which is fully loaded with tons of interviews, talk about gear, lots of big boy mucking around, sound-check recordings and extra videos so plenty of bang for your buck.

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The EaglesThe Eagles
Farewell Tour Part One – Live From Melbourne
(Warner Music Vision)

The first thing that strikes you about this two-DVD live Eagles set is the mighty disconcerting image of our archetypal long-haired, west-coast, country/rock hippy heroes togged out in their best bib and tucker, suited and booted to such an extent they look like a passing troupe of lookie-likey architects co-opted onto the stage due to the band having had another of their legendary spats – although to be fair they do don rather more, erm, comfy attire for the second set (and none of this applies to Joe Walsh who looks like a pile of dirty washing regardless of what he wears). The second thing that hits you is just how many of the songs you know in this three hour set (no real surprise given that Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975 is the biggest selling album of all time). The third thing is that what at first appears to be a rather soulless workmanlike plod through their songbook - although once again, to be fair, the Eagles never were the most mobile of live acts - is in fact them easing into a, long, long, show and in fact not only are they pretty much note perfect throughout (both musically and vocally), but as the show builds so does the sweat and smile quota.

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Emerson Lake & PalmerEmerson Lake & Palmer
Beyond The beginning (Sanctuary)

Considering just how huge ELP were, how fond of over the top spectacle (a fondness that would ultimately almost bankrupt them), they are strangely ill-served on film. But despite the paucity of quality live recordings available the creators of Beyond The Beginning have succeeded in collating a hugely watchable double DVD set, all the more so due to the extremely frank interview sections wherein Keith Emerson and Greg Lake both prove to be totally bemused at the others appeal leaving poor old Carl Palmer to play the placatory 'piggy-in-the-middle' role which was obviously necessary if the band were to last beyond their first rehearsal, and in truth ELP were three separate performers masquerading as a band – hence the massively extended solo sections in their live shows. Featuring oodles of drum solo's, destructive organ work, spinning aerial pianos, an interview with Bob Moog, video’s of previous outfits (King Crimson, The Nice and The Crazy World Arthur Brown), fascinating tetchy rehearsal footage and a complete US concert this is a damn near perfect document of the most unconnected trio in the history of music.

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