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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Best British Rock Concert of All Time - Live at Knebworth CD review

The Best British Rock Concert of All Time - Live at Knebworth
20th Anniversary reissue (Eagle Records)

This concert that took place back in 1990 was generally a show that featured winners of the ‘Silver Clef award.’ The Silver Clef award was given to artists who have actively support charities such as Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy and the Brit School for Performing Arts.

Artists here include the likes of Eric Clapton, Status Quo, Genesis, Elton John, Dire Straits, Paul McCartney, Pink Floyd and Cliff Richard and the Shadows to name most here.
Ironically the 2 CD set here starts with Tears for Fears, who in fact were not winners of the award, but were invited as special guests, probably due to their popularity at the time of the gig.

All these artists have many great tracks in their repertoires and this could’ve easily been a 5 or 6 CD set for sure if not more, but unfortunately this is just a 2 disc set highlighting – if you will – the best of the show, so artists on here typically only got about 2 tracks each on these discs.

Tears for Fears open proceedings here with ‘Everybody Wants to Rule the World,’ which actually has a tasty guitar solo at the end. Good start.
They then give us a really extended version of ‘Badman’s Song’ from their very good ‘Seeds of Love’ album.

Onto Status Quo then next, who are known best to many as the 12 bar masters in the rock world, but surprisingly their first number here is crowd sing along song, ‘Dirty Water’ from their ‘Rocking All Over The World’ album. Great stuff that brings back many fond memories of seeing Quo live when I used to live back in the UK.
Next, another Quo’s classic in ‘Whatever You Want,' and I can just imagine the British audience at Knebworth, all jumping up and down to this one. Quo were always a great people mover and a Quo crowd was a party crowd!
They finish their bit with the song that perhaps most people – in the UK – associate with them, in John Fogerty’s ‘Rocking All Over The World.’ Great stuff that the crowd clearly lap up here.

Remember Cliff Richard and The Shadows? Ha ha perhaps not for many, but that was how these 2 artists started out with success in the 60's, before Cliff took on a very successful solo career, likewise The Shadows too, with lead man Hank Marvin.
They give us, ‘On the Beach’ and ‘Do You Wanna Dance’ which are very ‘pleasant’ shall we say.

Next up, former Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant with 3 of his solo tracks starting with rocker ‘Hurting Kind’ from the ‘Manic Nirvana’ album, along with slower number number ‘Liar’s Dance’ from the same album. Nice.
‘Tall Cool One’ next from ‘Now and Zen’ before Jimmy Page joins Plant for Led Zep’s ‘Wearing and Tearing,’ as they totally rock out. Go guys!

It’s really Phil Collin’s set next, but he introduces ‘some old friends of mine …,’ as Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford make the set a Genesis one as they close out the first disc. First with ‘Mama’ before the ‘Turn It On Again Medley’ paying tribute to many of their influences with snatches from, 'Somebody To Love; Satisfaction; Twist and Shout; Reach Out I’ll Be There; You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling; Pinball Wizard; In The Midnight Hour’ before finishing ‘Turn It On Again.’ Excellent stuff.

Phil Collins kicks off disc 2 with his solo ‘Sussudio’ track, at a lengthy 7 plus minutes, before Eric Clapton gives us a seriously extended version of the Cream classic ‘Sunshine of Your Love,’ clocking in at almost 12 minutes, including an over 7 minute drum solo, why? Why not another Clapton track? Weird?!

Next the credit is given as Dire Straits although it’s just 3 of the bands line up in Mark Knopfler – Who I guess was Mr. Dire Straits – and John Illsley (Bass) and Guy Fletcher on keyboards, with ‘I Think I Love You Too Much,’ a great track with house backing band filling in the other slots.
Side note – I love the late Jeff Healey version of this track.

Time for the flamboyant Elton John to take the stage next with up tempo version of ‘Sad Songs’ and a ripping ‘Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting,’ for the Knebworth crowd.

An extremely funky version of ‘Coming Up’ with some scratching(?!) and what have you going on, for the start of Paul McCartney’s set what the heck?! His band included his late wife Linda McCartney on keys and backing vocals, also Robbie McIntosh (Guitar, vocals), Paul ‘Wix’ Wickens (Keys, vocals), Hamish Stuart (Bass, Guitar, Vocals) and Chris Whitten on drums.
Then it’s ‘Hey Jude’ time with the song that seems to get dragged out more and more by whoever seems to play it and don’t get me wrong, I used to really love most of the song, except for how long it does get dragged out for!
This one runs for just over 7 minutes for you.

Pink Floyd close things here with the excellent ‘Comfortably Numb’ for starters at almost 9 minutes long, then ‘Run like Hell’ plays out well as the final number on here.
It’s a good compilation CD, sure a couple of moans and gripes from me, but overall not a bad album.

Sadly, it’s just a reissue, nothing new, no new tracks or additional disc(s), but if you don’t have this, it’s not essential, but an interesting one perhaps for fans of any of the artists involved.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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