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Sky - Live in Nottingham CD (album) cover

LIVE IN NOTTINGHAM

Sky

 

Eclectic Prog

3.03 | 6 ratings

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SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
3 stars Son of Hotta

As far as I'm aware, there are three (officially released) live recordings by Sky: the live concert video Live In Concert: Bremen, Germany 1980 (actually filmed and recorded in 1979 and released on DVD in 2005); Five Live (a double vinyl album originally released in 1983 but subsequently re-released in CD); and the present one, Live In Nottingham (recorded and filmed in 1991, but made available on CD--and also on DVD under the Classic Rock Legends banner--in 2002). Out of these three live releases, my first choice is without a doubt the Live In Concert: Bremen, Germany video, which despite a less than perfect sound and picture quality captures the band at their best and in my opinion this recording outshines the band's studio albums. My least favourite of the three is the incoherent Five Live album, which admittedly has several highlights, but overall lacks direction. This brings us to the present recording which falls in between those two in terms of quality.

I think it is fair to say that these three live releases focus on different aspects of the band: while the Bremen recording focuses on the band's progressive side, and Five Live more on the band's jazzy side, Live In Nottingham focuses on the band's Easy-Listening side. The latter showcases an altogether more laid back band. The three live recordings together give a nice overview. One thing that makes Live In Nottingham stand out is the presence of violin, mandolin, and ukelele.

The performance starts with Son Of Hotta (from 1983's Cadmium) and ends with Hotta (from 1980's Sky 2). The first of these is obviously intended as a follow-up to the second. Together with Cannonball (from the self-titled debut from 1979) the two Hotta-numbers are the most rocking tracks here, but they are somewhat less rocking than other versions of these tunes. These are certainly good and enjoyable versions, but I can't help note that the band feels and sounds somewhat tired here compared to the aforementioned Live In Concert: Bremen film.

Jehad is a Middle-Eastern-sounding number that is not present on any studio recording. It is dark and atmospheric yet never degenerates into ambient territory. I like it. Reverie similarly never appeared on a studio album. It is a beautiful, mellow, Classical piece driven by grand piano and acoustic guitar. It is very solemn to the point of almost sending you to sleep--in a good way! It is at this point that we get a couple of lesser numbers. Meheeco is jazzier here than the studio version (on 1981's Sky 3) and starts with a rather long improvisational part that I don't value highly. Still, that one is much less of a problem than the downright awful Would You say I'm In Love With You which features cheesy keyboard sounds and an unbearable tropical-island-beat. This is something you would expect in a touristy bar in some tropical holiday resort, not on a Rock album). Praeludium again represents the Classical side of the band and is a decent slice of Classical/Rock fusion.

Overall, a rather nice live album. (I have not seen the video version of it.)

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |

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