Toyah – Live At The Rainbow album review

12 10 2022

Cherry Red are releasing Toyah’s February 1981 concert recorded at London’s Rainbow Theatre as a CD/ DVD and a coloured double vinyl LP on 25 November 2022.

Toyah - Live At The Rainbow cover

Toyah – Live At The Rainbow is released for the first time on CD with seven additional songs, all previously unreleased and restored exclusively for this release.

Previously only available on VHS, the 53-min concert film has been remastered from the original Rolling Stones multitrack reels for the DVD release with improvements to both picture and sound. The newly remixed and remastered audio has been integrated to the concert for an enhanced viewing experience. All audio remastering was approved by Joel Bogen.

Three of the seven unheard songs appear exclusively on the CD as mono-only (originally mixed by Nick Tauber) bonus tracks, where no existing multi-tracks were available to present new stereo remixes. These three tracks do not appear on the 16-song double vinyl LP edition. Toyah provides a brand-new introduction in the 24-page booklet which contains iconic live photography by Barry Plummer and new notes by Craig Astley, Toyah’s official archivist.

I went to this gig, and so was happy to travel back in time, some 41 years later. 41 years, how did that happen? The DVD was not supplied for review, so I will have to wait until I receive my pre-order to fully relive the experience, so I am only reviewing the CD here. There has been some re-jigging of the original concert order for this release, which had to be done because of the issue of three of the tracks only being available in mono, but this release gives a good representation of the original show, and the remaster is of a high standard.

One of the support bands for this gig was Huang Chung, who became Wung Chung and had success later in the 80s. I saw on Jack Hues twitter account a couple of years ago that the bands albums, including Huang Chung’s debut from 1982, are due to be re-released in the near future, so one to watch out for.

Along with founding members Toyah Willcox and Joel Bogen, new band members Nigel Glockler, Phil Spalding and Adrian Lee make up this line-up of the Toyah band. The set opens with the heavily percussive War Boys from the Four from Toyah EP that had recently given the band their first major UK hit single.

Next up is the first selection from 1979’s Sheep Farming in Barnet album, with the punky-prog of Neon Womb, Waiting and the pop-thrills of Race Through Space.

An extended version of Four From Toyah‘s Angels & Demons slows the pace, before The Blue Meaning‘s Love Me dials in the post-punk feel again, along with album companions Mummies and Insects.

Toyah - Live At The Rainbow CD / DVD and booklet

“This next one you might have seen on Top of the Pops” introduced It’s A Mystery, which still sounds so fresh after all these years. The bass and drum interplay from Spalding and Glockler is a highlight of this 1981 live incarnation of this landmark Toyah song.

Computers makes a rare return to the set after a long absence, and early single Tribal Look highlights the added keyboard presence of new member Adrian Lee, with some wonderful Rhodes piano. Bird In Flight (the double A Side that accompanied Tribal Look) works so well with this new line-up, and this could turn out to be my favourite version of this early Toyah song.

Two of my favourite Sheep Farming In Barnet tracks follow, with Victims Of The Riddle and Danced. A powerful, just under 8 minutes version of the haunting Ieya ends the main set.

The final three tracks are mono, so lose a little of their sparkle. Revelations from the Four From Toyah EP is bookended by two Sheep Farming In Barnet tracks, Our Movie and Indecision, the latter of which loses some of its power for me, but that could well be the mono mix, with less space for the performances to breathe.

Live At The Rainbow is a great keepsake of one of Toyah’s most loved live performances, and will be welcomed by fans of the band, who have waited a long time for an updated release to replace the previously released VHS version.

Buy Toyah Live At The Rainbow CD/DVD from Amazon

Buy Toyah Live At The Rainbow double vinyl LP from Amazon



Disc One – CD

War Boys
Neon Womb
Race Through Space
Angels & Demons
Love Me
It’s A Mystery
Tribal Look
Bird In Flight
Victims Of The Riddle

Our Movie*

* mono

Disc Two – DVD

War Boys
Neon Womb
Tribal Look
Victims Of The Riddle
Race Through Space
Angels & Demons
It’s A Mystery

Double vinyl

Disc: 1

War Boys
Neon Womb
Race Through Space
Angels & Demons
Love Me

Disc: 2

It’s a Mystery
Tribal Look
Bird in Flight
Victims of the Riddle

News: Prince and The Revolution – live Purple Rain era CD/blu-ray and vinyl release

30 03 2022

Sony are releasing Prince and The Revolution’s classic Syracuse, New York 30 March 1985 Purple Rain tour show as a standalone release, remixed & restored in June 2022, as a 3LP vinyl set and a 2 CD / 1 blu-ray version.

For the visual side of the release, the original video source was rescanned, restored and colour corrected. The audio has been remixed from the original multitrack audio master reels by Grammy-nominated recording engineer Chris James.

The blu-ray has stereo, 5.1 surround and Dolby Atmos sound options.

Have a sneak peak of the quality with the official video of Let’s Go Crazy from this restored release. Whilst the video still displays it’s obvious 1980’s source, it is a marked improvement on the original VHS that was so dark, it was a difficult watch. This is the nearest thing to time travel, if you want to pop back to 1985 to experience Prince and The Revolution in their absolute purple pomp. This is one of Prince’s legendary 80s shows, so grab your tambourine and a front row seat for Prince and The Revolution live!

Buy the CD/Blu-ray and vinyl versions:

Prince and The Revolution: Live (2 CD / 1 Blu-ray)

Prince and The Revolution: Live 3 LP vinyl


CD / Blu-raybuy now

CD 1
Let’s Go Crazy
Little Red Corvette
Take Me With U
Yankee Doodle
Do Me, Baby
Irresistible Bitch
How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore
Let’s Pretend We’re Married
International Lover
Computer Blue

CD 2
Darling Nikki
The Beautiful Ones
When Doves Cry
I Would Die 4 U
Baby, I’m a Star
Purple Rain

Let’s Go Crazy
Little Red Corvette
Take Me With U
Yankee Doodle
Do Me, Baby
Irresistible Bitch
How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore
Let’s Pretend We’re Married
International Lover
Computer Blue
Darling Nikki
The Beautiful Ones
When Doves Cry
I Would Die 4 U
Baby I’m A Star
Purple Rain

3 LP vinylbuy now

LP 1

Side A

Let’s Go Crazy
Little Red Corvette
Take Me With U

Side B

Yankee Doodle
Do Me, Baby
Irresistible Bitch
How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore

LP 2

Side C

Let’s Pretend We’re Married
International Lover
Computer Blue

Side D

Darling Nikki
The Beautiful Ones
When Doves Cry

LP 3

Side E

I Would Die 4 U
Baby, I’m a Star

Side F

Purple Rain

The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band (vinyl, CD & Blu-ray)

23 09 2021

The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts from Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band were performed at the September 1979 MUSE (Musicians United for Safe Energy) benefit concerts held at Madison Square Garden in New York City. A recording from these shows is being released on CD, vinyl and blu-ray in November 2021.

The 2 CD set features 13 songs performed over two nights, that are newly remixed and remastered, along with a blu-ray of the 13 song concert performance film, newly edited from original film footage, restored and remixed in HD. This package includes a 24-page book with rare photos and memorabilia, an essay, vintage ticket envelope, ticket reproduction and sticker.

The vinyl version is a 2 LP set featuring 13 songs performed over the two nights, that are newly remixed and remastered. The gatefold package includes a 24-page book with rare photos and memorabilia, an essay and a 33” x 19” poster.

Available now:

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band – The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts – Double vinyl

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band – The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts – 2 CD / Bluray

Judie Tzuke – The Chrysalis Recordings review (Shoot The Moon, Road Noise and Ritmo)

21 03 2020

This new Cherry Red 3 CD collection brings together all of Judie Tzuke’s recording output whilst signed to Chrysalis Records, spanning 1982 to 1983. In this period Judie released two studio albums, Shoot The Moon and Ritmo plus a live album Road Noise: The Official Bootleg.

Whilst this is not a collection of new remasters, The Chrysalis Recordings set sounds amazing and it’s a great way to add these albums to your collection at a reasonable price.

Whilst I love the first three albums (1979’s Welcome to the Cruise, Sports Car from 1980 and 1981’s I Am the Phoenix), the first album in this collection, Shoot The Moon from 1982 is my favourite (and most played) Judie Tzuke studio album.

Album opener Heaven Can Wait is driven by a wonderful rhythm section (Charlie Morgan on drums and John “Rhino” Edwards on bass) and the warm guitar and smooth keyboards add a sense of tension to this emotional song.

“I’m the ghost in your headlights”

Single Love On The Border was more in the style of the previous albums, and is a good pop/rock song that should have had more of an impact in the singles charts.

Beacon Hill brings a jazzy vibe, with it’s rhodes piano and fretless bass.

“We get in trouble when we look too far”

The trusty rhodes makes another welcome appearance, accompanied by a Roland CR-78 drum machine for the touching ballad Don’t Let Me Sleep, that highlights the emotional range of Judie’s vocals.

I’m Not A Loser was also a single, and perfectly captures the sound of late 70s, early 80s classic / FM rock.

Liggers At Your Funeral did not really resonate with me on release, but listening to this song in later years, it is one of my favourite tracks on the album. The heavily processed guitar from Mike Paxman along with the twists and turns in the arrangement turn this song into an album highlight that I never tire of hearing.

The originally sequenced album ends with the upbeat carousel of Water In Motion and the short acapella title track.

There are four bonus tracks on this version of Shoot The Moon – the b-sides Sold A Rose and Run On Luck plus demos of I’m Not A Loser and How Do I Feel. Whilst these are interesting, for me the album will always end with the title track.

I saw the band live in May of 1982 at Fairfield Halls, Croydon and bought the vinyl version of Road Noise (The Official Bootleg) on release. Do not be put off by the “official bootleg” in the title, this is a professionally recorded live album, with material taken from Tzuke’s 1982 performances at Hammersmith Odeon and the Glastonbury Festival.

Road Noise contains tracks from Tzuke’s first four albums, and features the same core musicians as on Shoot The Moon, apart from Jeff Rich who replaces Charlie Morgan on drums.

Road Noise open with a stunning version of Heaven Can Wait, which segues (why does no-one do that anymore) into Chinatown from Tzuke’s second album, Sports Car. This is the sound of collection of musicians at the top of their game.

The Shoot The Moon album is well represented on Road Noise, as are tracks from the previous three studio albums. You Are The Phoenix from the previous years I Am the Phoenix features a fabulous Mike Paxman guitar solo.

The title track of Sports Car is one of only two songs from that album on Road Noise, whilst debut album Welcome To The Cruise is represented by 6 tracks. Highlights from this album include the sung to backing track, mostly acapella For You and the big hit, the instantly recognisable Stay With Me Till Dawn, which sounds as good today as it did when first released in 1979.

Come Hell or Waters High is a fine FM ballad, at its most powerful with a simple mix of piano and voice, and a restrained live arrangement as the song progresses. City of Swimming Pools, in hindsight, is a mix of FM rock and prog. The vocal arrangement works well as the song takes us on an increasingly progressive journey.

“City of swimming pools
Where you can buy anything”

The album ends with a rare (at the time) Tzuke cover version, of The Hunter which was first recorded in 1967 by Albert King. As well as being a very good live album, Road Noise serves as a fine introduction to the first four albums.

The final album in this collection is Ritmo from 1983. This album is a much more synth-heavy collection of songs, and sadly, that’s the albums downfall.

The China Crisis sounding first single from the album, Jeannie No, opens the album, and is a strong pop song. She Don’t Live Here Anymore, despite the more synthetic than usual sounding drums, has haunting qualities and so has stood the test of time fairly well.

Shoot from the Heart works well with an electronic backing that builds as layers of guitar and synths plus backing vocals are added. Face To Face has more of the feel of earlier Tzuke material, but the drum sounds let it down.

Another Country is a bit of mis-step, and a track I skip pretty quickly. The chorus of Nighthawks lifts the album but the following two tracks, Walk Don’t Walk and Push Push, Pull Pull (with it’s Mick Karn alike basslines) have really not stood the test of time.

The album’s final track, How Do I Feel works a little better. The interesting vocal arrangement on the chorus is a strength, but by the end of the album I am left feeling that I wish the Simmons SDS series of drums had never been invented (even though I once owned one myself).

An extended and a 7″ version of Jeannie No ends this version of the album, which overall is a bit of a mixed bag for me, but the inclusion of Shoot The Moon and Road Noise make this a must-buy collection for anyone interested in the work on one of the UK’s finest singer-songwriters.

Shoot The Moon (1982)

  1. Heaven Can Wait
  2. Love On The Border
  3. Information
  4. Beacon Hill
  5. Don’t Let Me Sleep
  6. I’m Not A Loser
  7. Now There Is No Love At All
  8. Late Again
  9. Liggers At Your Funeral
  10. Water In Motion
  11. Shoot The Moon
  12. Sold A Rose (Bonus Track)
  13. Run On Luck (Bonus Track)
  14. I’m Not A Loser (Demo) (Bonus Track)
  15. How Do I Feel (Demo) (Bonus Track)

Road Noise (The Official Bootleg) (1982)

  1. Heaven Can Wait
  2. Chinatown
  3. I’m Not A Loser
  4. Information
  5. You Are The Phoenix
  6. The Flesh Is Weak
  7. Sportscar
  8. For You
  9. Come Hell Or Waters High
  10. Southern Smiles
  11. Katiera Island
  12. Love On The Border
  13. Black Furs
  14. City Of Swimming Pools
  15. Bring The Rain
  16. Sukarita
  17. Stay With Me Till Dawn
  18. The Hunter

Ritmo (1983)

  1. Jeannie No
  2. She Don’t Live Here Anymore
  3. Shoot From The Heart
  4. Face To Face
  5. Another Country
  6. Nighthawks
  7. Walk Don’t Walk
  8. Push Push, Pull Pull
  9. How Do I Feel
  10. Jeannie No (Extended Version) (Bonus Track)
  11. Jeannie No (7” Version) (Bonus Track)

Buy Judie Tzuke – The Chrysalis Recordings on Amazon

Buy Welcome To The Cruise

Buy Sports Car & I Am The Phoenix

News: Hope & Anchor Front Row Festival CD (The Stranglers / XTC / Dire Straits)

9 11 2019

The live Hope & Anchor Front Row Festival album from 1978 is getting it’s first release on CD in December 2019.

Recorded in the winter of 1977, but released a year later – the album is a double disc featuring live tracks recorded at the festival from The Stranglers, The Wilko Johnson Band, XTC, Dire Straits, X-ray Spex, The Only Ones, Steel Pulse and more.


The album is a time-capsule capturing some of the punk, new wave and pub-rock acts of this era, in their prime.

Previously only available on vinyl and cassette, this a first CD release for the Hope & Anchor Front Row Festival album.

Buy the CD at Amazon

Disc: 1

  1. Dr. Feelgood – The Wilko Johnson Band
  2. Straighten Out – The Stranglers
  3. Styrofoam – Tyla Gang
  4. Don’t Munchen It – The Pirates
  5. Speed Kills – The Steve Gibbons Band
  6. I’m Bugged – XTC
  7. I Hate School – Suburban Studs
  8. Billy – The Pleasers
  9. Science Friction – XTC
  10. Eastbound Train – Dire Straits
  11. Bizz Fizz – Burlesque
  12. Let’s Submerge – X-ray Spex
  13. Crazy – 999

Disc: 2

  1. Demolition Girl – The Saints
  2. Quite Disappointing – 999
  3. Creatures Of Doom – The Only Ones
  4. Gibson Martin Fender – The Pirates
  5. Sound Check – Steel Pulse
  6. Zero Hero – Roogalator
  7. Underground Romance – Philip Rambow
  8. Rock & Roll Radio – The Pleasers
  9. On The Street – Tyla Gang
  10. Johnny Cool – The Steve Gibbons Band
  11. Twenty Yards Behind – The Wilko Johnson Band
  12. Hanging Around – The Stranglers

Trevor Horn Band – Live at Sarm Music Bank 19/7/2018

29 07 2018

The Trevor Horn Band played live at the opening of Sarm Music Bank‘s impressive new facility in Old Oak Common on July 19th 2018.

Sarm Music Band invite

The band included Trevor Horn (bass and vocals), Lol Creme (guitar and vocals), Luis Jardim (percussion), Phil Palmer (guitar), Steve Ferrone (drums), Izzy Chase and Hayley Sanderson (vocals), Jamie Squire (vocals and guitar) with guest appearances from vocalists Matt Cardle and Steve Hogarth (Marillion).

Lol Creme, Luis Jardim, Trevor Horn and Steve Ferrone

The invite / competition winners only performance was the perfect opportunity to christen the new rehearsal space, and was also a great way of showcasing some of the songs that will appear on the  forthcoming Trevor Horn album. Reports online suggest that the album may be called The Eighties Reimagined, and will consist of some of Trevor Horn’s favourite 80s songs, recorded with the band, a 65-piece orchestra and guest singers.

The set opened with the air-raid sirens signalling Two Tribes, the first of three Frankie Goes To Hollywood songs. Sporting one of the finest basslines of the 80s, this was a powerful opener, and the acoustics in the room, even at a very loud volume, sounded amazing.

Sadly we were only treated to one song from The Buggles back catalogue on this occasion. After an amusing Boris Johnson anecdote, TCH and the band performed a note-perfect Video Killed the Radio Star.


“And now we meet in an abandoned studio
We hear the playback and it seems so long ago”

I was expecting to hear some Godley & Creme, and clearly Five O’Clock in the Morning or Art School Canteen were not likely as part of this performance, so as expected the band performed the TCH produced perfect pop of Cry.

Lol Creme can still hit the high notes, evidenced as the band delivered a rowdy version of 10cc’s first no1 single, Rubber Bullets, which was originally released in 1973.

Marillion vocalist Steve Hogarth joined the band for two songs – David Bowie’s Ashes To Ashes (you could not have an 80s tribute without the Thin White Duke) and the most surprising song in the set, Joe Jackson’s Different For Girls (from the I’m the Man album). This timeless song was released in 1979, so although it is not an 80s song, it was an interesting choice.


A re-imagining of Slave to the Rhythm marked the halfway point in the set. On stage percussionist and frequent Trevor Horn collaborator Luis Jardim performed the bass on the studio version of the track, fact fans.

Trevor switched back to lead vocals on the Yes hit from 1983’s 90125 album, Owner of a Lonely Heart, complete with Synclavier / Fairlight sounding stabs. The second Frankie Goes To Hollywood song of the night was sung by guest vocalist Matt Cardle. A string laden version of The Power of Love went down a treat with the audience.


A version of the 2002 no1 single All the Things She Said by Russian pop duo t.A.T.u.was performed with Izzy Chase and Hayley Sanderson sharing lead vocals.

The set wrapped up with a trio of massive 80s singles – a reworked version of Tears For Fears Everybody Wants to Rule the World (which will surely feature on the forthcoming The Eighties Reimagined album), Dire Straits Money For Nothing and the final FGTH song of the evening, Relax.

I’m looking forward to hearing The Eighties Reimagined album (hopefully later this year) and it looks like there will be further live dates from The Trevor Horn band to promote the album. Follow TCH on Twitter or Facebook to stay in the loop.

Full setlist:

Two Tribes
Video Killed the Radio Star
Rubber Bullets
Ashes to Ashes
Slave to the Rhythm
Owner of a Lonely Heart
The Power of Love
All the Things She Said
Different For Girls
Everybody Wants to Rule the World
Money For Nothing


Buy Legacy – 3 Chord Trick (the band features new, original material from former members of Dire Straits, and features Trevor Horn on bass)

Buy Godley & Creme – Body Of Work (1978 – 1988) Box set

Buy the Trevor Horn – Slaves To The Rhythm live DVD

Buy the 10cc Classic Album Selection Box set

Buy Grace Jones – Slave To The Rhythm Collector’s Edition, 2015 remaster

Big Big Train – Merchants of Light

24 07 2018

PrintMerchants of Light is the new live album from three times Progressive Music Award winning band Big Big Train. The album features the best performance of each song played at the band’s three sold out shows at Cadogan Hall, London, in the autumn of 2017.

The title track from their 2016 album Folklore ushers in the 16 track live album. The brass / strings and Shaft like rhythm guitar lines snuggle up together better than they should on this powerful opening track. Brave Captain from Folklore‘s companion album Grimspound works equally well in its live setting. As I mentioned in my original review, from the half way section of the song, there are shades of Dire Straits Private Investigations in the piano lines and the breakdown.

Last Train was originally on the 6th Big Big Train album The Underfall Yard from 2009. The song tells the story of a station masters last day at work. One of the more progressive songs on this live album, the harmonies are a pure joy to hear.

London Plane is built on a solid foundation of an intricate vocal arrangement, and serves up an adventurous mixture of jazz and prog flowing through the instrumental sections.

Meadowland is a gentle pastoral sounding track, with subtle brush drums, violin and restrained piano. A Mead Hall in Winter is one of this live album’s highlights. Synths and strings jostle with jaunty organ, throwing musical nods to 70s giants Genesis and Yes, with a sprinkle of early Steely Dan thrown in for good measure.

Swan Hunter from English Electric Part Two and its tale of a long-lost shipping industry has become one of the band’s standards. The use of brass always evokes a feeling of the early 1970s to me, and this fine version of Swan Hunter is no exceptionDavid Longdon’s vocals are in fine form here and throughout the album.

Big Big Train live by Simon Hogg

My favourite Big Big Train song is The Transit of Venus Across the Sun. It’s the brass again! The arrangement is so light and gentle, with no bombast used in getting the emotion across. There is real beauty in both the arrangement and performances from all the musicians.

East Coast Racer gets a fantastic reception from the crowd, and is the longest track on the album. The song charts the history of Mallard, the worlds fasted locomotive.  East Coast Racer is the band at their most progressive and highlights some of their finest melodies and harmonies.

A great version of  the mid 70s pop / rock influenced Telling The Bees is followed by one of the oldest songs on this album in Victorian Brickwork. This track is one that will appeal to fans of the first progressive era of the early 70s. The twists, turns and swells will lift the darkest of moods, and is modern progressive music at its finest.

Drums and Brass is an instrumental interlude that leads into the albums final track, Wassail.

It is easy to get lost in the music of Big Big Train – from the fascinating stories told through the lyrics, to the varied musical styles. If you have not heard the band before, Merchants of Light would be a great starting point, and it is highly likely that you will set off on a voyage of discovery to take in all of the bands recent albums.


Folklore Overture
Brave Captain
Last Train
London Plane
A Mead Hall in Winter
Experimental Gentlemen part two
Swan Hunter
Judas Unrepentant
The Transit of Venus Across the Sun
East Coast Racer
Telling the Bees
Victorian Brickwork
Drums and Brass

Buy the Merchants of Light double CD from Amazon


Also available now is the Swan Hunter EP, that includes 3 versions of Swan Hunter (a radio edit, a 2018 remix of the album version and a live version), plus a new recording of English Electric: Full Power‘s Seen Better Days (an emotional duet with no-man’s Tim Bowness) and a 2017 live at Real World Studio version of Summer’s Lease (originally on 2007’s The Difference Machine album).

Thomas Lang – Torch

19 02 2014

Thomas Lang - "Torch"Torch is the first new album from the Liverpool singer-songwriter Thomas Lang since Versions in 1996. Like Versions, the majority of the new album consists of cover versions. But where Versions was in some ways a homage to soul music, this pays tribute to late night, smokey jazz. For an artist so well known for his electrifying live performances, this is surprisingly only Lang’s second live release.

Torch opens with a cover of the Paul McCartney classic Maybe I’m Amazed. Recorded live in the studio, with just piano and no overdubs, stripped of the full band of the Macca original, it’s a powerful performance of one of the finest McCartney solo songs.

The rest of the album was recorded live during an intimate show at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall in April 2011. As someone who attended the live concert, Torch is a great reminder of the evening, though sadly Lang’s between song quips are not part of the live album, which would have necessitated a double or triple album release to accommodate the often lengthy Lang tales!

The performances on Torch are subtle and restrained – listen to the end of the Torch version of Me & Mrs Jones below. The raw emotion in the performance seeps through, making this my favourite version of the song (surpassing the studio version from the debut Thomas Lang album, Scallywag Jaz…).

Masquerade (previously recorded by Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye to name but two) is a highlight of the album. The arrangement with just piano, sax and Lang’s powerful, rich vocals feels so right – see what I did there, Lang fans?

Torch has a real feel of the late 50s and early 1960s, especially on Billie Holiday’s tale of addiction, Good Morning Heartache. Some wonderful sax and guitar interplay from Paul Thomas and John Wheatcroft on this song.

My Prayer, a huge hit for The Platters in 1956, has a bossa-nova feel that takes you back to a long-lost era of our parents and their music collections that were filled with Elvis, Neil Sedaka and Connie Francis records. Younger listeners will recognise My Prayer from the David Fincher film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

© Brian Roberts

God Bless the Child was previously included as a studio cut on the Versions album, but this live recording is closer to the Billie Holiday arrangement. The band get a wonderful laidback groove going on this song. Another great take of God Bless the Child is a wonderful 1980s version by Billy MacKenzie and The Associates from a Radio 1 session. But I digress…

The album ends with Shoelaces, from Scallywag Jaz… continuing the Mrs Jones story and the only Lang original song on the album.

Hopefully the release of Torch will see Thomas taking the band on tour, so we can hear more Lang originals given jazz re-workings, maybe with some other long-lost classic songs re-worked (I’ve always thought a Thomas Lang version of Rickie Lee Jones On Saturday Afternoons In 1963 or Steely Dan’s Dirty Work would be worth hearing).

But for now, dim the lights, pour a glass of your favourite tipple and enjoy Torch. It’s good to have you back Tom.

Torch tracklisting:

Maybe I’m Amazed
In The Wee Small Hours
He Needs Me
Me and Mrs Jones
My Prayer
Good Morning Heartache
God Bless The Child

Buy the CD from Amazon UK

Other Thomas Lang releases
August Day / Scared mp3 single on Amazon

Scallywag Jaz and more – the best of Thomas Lang mp3 album on Amazon

The Lost Letter Z mp3 album on Amazon

Live in Tokyo mp3 album on Amazon

Versions mp3 album on Amazon

Feels so Right mp3 EP on Amazon

Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood mp3 EP on Amazon

Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band – Wembley Stadium June 15th 2013

16 06 2013

This was my first Springsteen gig since the Tunnel of Love Express tour show at Wembley Stadium in June 1988. The 2013 show started around 20 minutes later than advertised, with Land Of Hope And Dreams, from the 2012 Wrecking Ball album. A natural opener, with it’s anthemic chorus, the sound in the stadium was quite muddy for the first few numbers, but soon settled down.

Jackson Cage was sadly one of only two tracks from The River featured in the show, and was followed by Radio Nowhere from the recent Magic album.

From early on in the set, Bruce was constantly running to the front of the stage, and picking set-list request banners from the enthusiastic crowd, and showing the banners to band members so they knew what to play next. The E Street band members never get the chance to phone in their gigs!

Wembley Stadium June 15 2013

Save my Love, one of the key tracks from The Promise (the Darkness on the Edge of Town companion album) was up next, and a hint to what was to follow shortly in the mammoth set. Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) was played quite early on in the set, and is always a highlight of Bruce gigs. I am sure Rosalita is responsible for turning on a lot of UK fans to Springsteen’s music, via the clip shown on the Old Grey Whistle Test back in 1979.

Lost In The Flood echoed around the full to capacity stadium, a powerful song from Springsteen’s debut album, and the first time the song has been performed live in the UK since 1975.

The moving Wrecking Ball and Death To My Hometown from the latest album picked up the tempo, before Bruce dropped the biggest Boss-bomb of the evening. Asking the crowd if they wanted to stick with more requests, or let him play the whole of the Darkness on the Edge of Town album. This is my favourite Springsteen album, and luckily the crowd roared their approval at the second option.

The next 40 minutes or so was the highlight of the show for me, transporting me back in time to when I was a teenager listening to this classic album on cassette. Badlands got the entire stadium raising their hands in time to the music.

Something in the Night was stunning live, with the vocals as powerful as they were back in the days when FM was the preferred frequency of music lovers. The short, frantic Candy’s Room is one of my favourite songs of all time, and I was so glad I was here to finally here this song live and in the flesh.

Prove it all Night has stood the test of time, and sounds as fresh now as it did back in 1978. Featuring highly visual guitar theatrics from Nils Lofgren, the album playback (in order) ended with the title track from Darkness on the Edge of Town. This was apparently the first time that Springsteen has played a whole album in this way in the UK, and while it may have slowed down the set for the more casual fans, it was a treat for long-term Springsteen followers.

Brice, Steve and Roy Wembley Stadium June 15 2013

The whole stadium were back on their feet for the remainder of the gig. Wrecking Ball’Shackled And Drawn got the crowd dancing and signing along.  I’m sure the beer being thrown down people’s necks also helped. After commenting on the end of the world rain witnessed in London in the early afternoon, it was maybe tempting fate to play Waitin’ On A Sunny Day, but thankfully The Boss kept the rain away.

The title track from 2002’s The Rising is a powerful live song, and fitted well in the running order before set closer Light of Day (a song recorded by Joan Jett in 1987).

Bruce explained that “30 seconds from now, everybody in this place is gonna be dancing” and Pay Me My Money Down followed by Born to Run certainly got the remaining bums off the seats.

A rarely mentioned track from Born in the USA, Bobby Jean, sounded much better live than it’s recorded version (I hope remastered versions of Springsteen’s older albums, including Born in the USA, is on the menu at some point soon).

Dancing in the Dark signalled the now customary invitation to dance with The Boss. On this occasion, Bruce took an audience members Mum up on stage to dance with him (gratefully accepting a dollar bill stuck to the banner requesting the dance as payment) and a younger girl to bash away at a thankfully not plugged in guitar.

Born to Run‘s horn driven Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out, along with a Rocky referencing dance from Springsteen, included a poignant tribute to two departed E Street Band members,  saxophonist Clarence Clemons (the Big Man) and organ / accordion player Danny Federici.  The final song with the band was the cover of Twist And Shout that was famously cut short at Hyde Park. The E Street Band left the stage as Springsteen performed a curfew ignoring solo version of Thunder Road.

The 2013 Springsteen show was much more enjoyable than the two Wembley gigs I saw in the 80’s on the Born in the USA and Tunnel of Love tours. The show is so well paced, with something for diehard fans as well as the more casual audience. I know it’s a much repeated statement, but Bruce and the E Street Band have got to be the hardest working band in recent history, with setlists torn up mid-set and no two shows being the same.

If you get the chance to catch Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band on this tour, you really should take that chance while they are still performing. Nothing lasts forever.

Wrecking Ball 2013 tour poster

Setlist in full:

Land Of Hope And Dreams
Jackson Cage
Radio Nowhere
Save My Love
Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
This Hard Land
Lost In The Flood
Wrecking Ball
Death To My Hometown
Hungry Heart
Adam Raised A Cain
Something In The Night
Candy’s Room
Racing In The Street
The Promised Land
Streets Of Fire
Prove It All Night
Darkness On The Edge Of Town
Shackled And Drawn
Waitin’ On A Sunny Day
The Rising
Light Of Day


Pay Me My Money Down
Born To Run
Bobby Jean
Dancing In The Dark
Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
Twist And Shout
Thunder Road (solo acoustic)

Buy the Wrecking ball deluxe edition on Amazon UK

Buy the excellent The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town Documentary [DVD]

Buy The Promise – The Darkness On The Edge Of Town Story (3 Cd+3 Dvd boxset)

Buy London Calling: Live in Hyde Park [Blu-ray]

no-man – Love and Endings

9 04 2012

Love and Endings is a recording of  no-man‘s concert at the Leamington Spa Assembly in October 2011, as part of the record label Burning Shed’s 10th anniversary celebrations.

For the those not yet familiar with no-man, they are a British band comprising Tim Bowness and Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree). Formed in 1987, no-man have produced a fine back-catalogue of work, and boast guest appearances from the likes of King Crimson‘s Robert Fripp and Pat Mastelotto, Porcupine Tree’s Colin Edwin, Richard Barbieri and Gavin Harrison, jazz musicians Theo Travis and Ian Carr, electronic artists Scanner and Faultline, Bruce Kaphan (American Music Club) and Dave Stewart (Egg/Hatfield & The North). Former members of 80s band JapanSteve Jansen, Richard Barbieri & Mick Karn, toured and recorded with the band in the early 1990s.

Since the early 1990s, the band have existed mainly as a studio outfit, rarely venturing into the live arena, so no-man live shows are hugely anticipated events. As well as capturing one of the finest no-man live performances, Love and Endings is also a perfect introduction to the band’s music for the uninitiated. For people already familiar with the band’s music, Love and Endings may come as a surprise, as the live incarnation of the band is a powerful beast.

Recent studio releases from no-man have included twisted, dark electronica (the Wild Opera album), fragile, semi-acoustic / minimalist songs with stark lyrics (Together We’re Stranger) through to their most organic release in 2008’s Schoolyard Ghosts. Recent no-man live appearances, though few and far between, hint at a new direction, and one that will appeal to fans of Steven Wilson’s work in Porcupine Tree.

Opening track my revenge on seattle is very electronic, awash with percussive synths in it’s studio incarnation, but the Love and Endings live version is stripped back, with deep chorused bass, textured guitar and mournful violin. The joyous middle section showcases some wonderful interplay between the musicians and powerful tom / cymbal work from drummer Andrew Booker.

“maybe there’s more to life
than just righting wrongs
maybe not”

time travel in texas is another song from the mid-90’s Wild Opera album, with the 2011 live version losing it’s scratchy Portishead trip-hop atmosphere, mutating into a brooding, twin-guitar heavy assault.

all the blue changes is a more percussive take on the track that originally appeared on 2003’s Together We’re Stranger album. One of the highlights of the live set, with my favourite Bowness vocal on the album and some fine layered keyboards from Stephen Bennett.

“giving up on beautiful
and making peace with strange,
all the blue changes rearranged”

The song shifts up a couple of gears with some brutal Wilson guitar and pounding Booker drums around 3/4 of the way through, sounding like Sigur Rós on steroids or the wall of noise of Mono, I swear you can hear the audience gasp before applauding at the end!

The formerly sample-driven pretty genius is reinvented as a much looser song on love and endings, but remains true to the spirit of the original version, with some beautiful violin work by Steve Bingham, and a great sloping back-beat from Messrs Morgan and Booker.

lighthouse is my favourite no-man song, and the love and endings live version does not disappoint. It’s no-man’s most progressive sounding track, and although originally written in the early 1990s, has not aged at all. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, the section of the song from 4:08 onwards is one of my favourite pieces of music of all time. It never fails to move me.

Have a listen to the Love and Endings version of lighthouse, taken from the official no-man SoundCloud, below.

“the love and endings,
the almost starts”

beaten by love is a previously unreleased no-man track, written in 1987 and performed for the first time at this show. The track displays hints of some of the darker This Mortal Coil tracks mixed with a healthy dose of Siouxsie & the Banshees, and is unlike any recent no-man material.

Following the darkest track on the album with one of the most uplifting no-man songs, wherever there is light,  works well, and shows the range in singer Tim Bowness’s vocals (from beaten by love‘s growl to the soft, breathy croon on this emotive and deeply personal song).

“Jane passes through the crowds
outside the mercury lounge.
she loves the city sounds.
she feels that she’s been found.”

The live version of mixtaped is a lot looser than the Schoolyard Ghosts studio take, with some inventive percussive touches, and a wonderful mixture of textures and distorted, heavy guitar from Wilson and Bearpark, and works well as a set closer.

“you’d kill for that feeling once again”

The final track on the album was the encore on the evening, things change. The highlight of the live version of this track has always been the electric violin solo that is an integral part of the powerful outro. The version on Love and Endings is very different from previous live outings, watch the filmed version on the accompanying DVD to appreciate the performance fully.

“you walk upon the dirt and chocolate wrappers, 
leaving me behind you.”

Love and Endings DVD

Love and Endings also comes with a DVD of the whole performance. The Love and Endings DVD is a very different concert film to the previous live no-man DVD, 2009’s mixtaped, which was a multi-camera shoot.

The HD footage shot by Dion Johnson (of Signify films) captures the performance and the mood of the show perfectly on just two cameras. It was filmed from the front-row of the audience, so you get a real feeling of being in the crowd, and this gives a different perspective to most live films.

The mixtaped DVD does offer a better variety of shots, and more close-ups of individual band members, features a full-length concert and an excellent no-man documentary, so perhaps should not be compared to the DVD that comes with Love and Endings. The Love and Endings film, although it has a few awkward zooms and camera angles that might not normally be kept in an official release, does capture a band performance that was better than the one on the previous DVD, and so is definitely a worthwhile addition to the no-man discography.

The concert was not filmed with a DVD release in mind but the footage came out better than was expected, and the ‘guerilla style’  does give the recording its own, unique identity and captures the performance perfectly, and so offers good value for money as an added extra.

The extra content on the DVD is a photo gallery – with an instrumental version of the live version of mixtaped as background music.

Watch the promotional video for the album / DVD below.

Love and Endings sees no-man’s core duo of Tim Bowness (vocals) and Steven Wilson (guitar) joined by classical violinist Steve Bingham and regular collaborators Michael Bearpark (guitar), Andrew Booker (drums & backing vocals), Stephen Bennett (keyboards) and Pete Morgan (bass).


my revenge on seattle (6.02)
time travel in texas (4.51)
all the blue changes (6.10)
pretty genius (3.58)
lighthouse (8.16)
beaten by love (3.58)
wherever there is light (5.09)
mixtaped (9.32)
things change (8.24)

The Love and Endings CD / DVD is available from The Burning Shed.

For more information on no-man, visit the no-man website, like no-man on Facebook and follow no-man on Twitter.

The pictures of Tim Bowness & Steven Wilson courtesy of Charlotte Kinson.

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