Saturday, July 18, 2015

U.K.: "Night After Night" (1979), and more

Ever since hearing UK's Night After Night album in April of 1994, I had always wondered what the other songs from Danger Money (namely, the longer songs) sounded like played live. I used to buy and find stuff through collectors' magazines, such as Goldmine and DISCoveries, where one could find bootlegs in the right places by just about anybody, but I never saw anything from UK in any of the listings.

I did eventually find one CD at Borders in May of 1999, but it was really confusing. It had pictures of the guys in the band on the front, but they were recent shots (this was when the original band was said to be reuniting, but it never really happened), and some of the songs on it were from Danger Money. I bought the CD, and found out that it was indeed a live show, but from 1978, and songs such as "The Only Thing She Needs" and "Carrying No Cross" were test-driven by the original 4-piece band. But Bill Bruford and Allan Holdsworth sounded bored and unconvinced of the new material (as well as everything else) on this recording. It was interesting to hear, but I was still anxious to hear any additional live material by the 3-piece lineup.

In 2015, two things happened. First, I discovered a live show from 1979 on YouTube, from Oakland, when they were supporting Jethro Tull in the fall of 1979. It was an audience recording, about 52 minutes long, and although it didn't have all the songs I was longing to hear, this was an interesting companion to their live album. Plus, it had one "new" song on it, called "Waiting For You".

After a lot of searching (and getting nowhere most of the time), I FINALLY came across some links to some live recordings from various locations on the 1979 tours: the US tour in the spring of 1979, and the final European tour just before winter of that year. Not only were there full shows to downloaad, they were free, and they also sounded great (some more than others).

This one comes from Paris, February 11th, 1979. It goes under the titles Parisian Rendezvous, Paris Incident, Paris Master, and Three Court Musicians, among others (pick your favorite). A stereo soundboard recording, in pristine sound quality. This is one of the band's first show as a trio, if not the first show they did as just the three guys. And--wow!--is it intense! Terry Bozzio does nothing short of shredding for the whole 90 minutes. He and Eddie Jobson had been together in Frank Zappa's band for a time a few years prior to this, and Frank's influence on them shows in the music and their playing. Live versions of "Danger Money" and "Carrying No Cross" most definitely did not disappoint!

This one is from the Philadelphia Spectrum, March 1979. Great show, well played, although the sounds is not the best. I think this one may have even been from a radio broadcast of the show.

Also in the "not great recording" category is a show from the New York Palladium, under the title Amnesia, but it is a complete show.

And now onto the European tour shows. They had dropped "Carrying No Cross", but kept "Danger Money" (minus the intro), and when they did "Alaska", they went straight into "Nothing To Lose"; kind of a strange and jarring transition, but it worked. This one is from Hamburg, December 1979. After the first two songs, the crowd shouts at the band "It's too loud! Turn it down!", something I've never heard any crowd do on a live recording, official or otherwise!

Stockholm. Getting toward the end of the line, for the tour and the band itself. Another great show. The sound quality is not great in the first half, but eventually gets better as it goes along. Wetton's bass solo is pretty darned intense on this one. After the show, there is a brief but interesting backstage interview with Wetton, and then Jobson. Wetton tells of how and why Bruford and Holdsworth were ejected from the band, what the band's future plans were, and Jobson explains that Night After Night was originally intended to be a Japan-only release.

The final show in Nijmegen, Vienna (no, I've never heard of it, either!), on December 17th, 1979. The sound is a little better than its predecessor, in front of a happy and enthusiastic audience. It was the last show of the European tour, but they were still going strong, no tiredness to my ears, although Wetton's voice does sound a little dried out here and there. And...that was it. The end.

Although this was not included in the cluster of free downloads, I am still intrigued by the thought of all of their Japanese shows (in their entirety), some of which were recorded for their live album. Five shows in all. Very tempting...very tempting...stay tuned!

1 comment:

  1. "The final show in Nijmegen, Vienna (no, I've never heard of it, either!), on December 17th, 1979."

    Actually: Nijmegen is a city in The Netherlands. The venue was De Vereeniging, in Nijmegen.