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Gentle Giant - Missing Face CD (album) cover


Gentle Giant


Eclectic Prog

3.92 | 10 ratings

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The Runaway
4 stars To quote Badabec, this is finally, a Gentle Giant bootleg with good quality! I literally had opened 5 GG bootlegs at the store and heard them before this came, needless to say I was very embarassed when the clerk had a hard time wrapping them back up!

The album starts with an opening track, ironically called, Opening, which sounds like a mellotron playing the opening to Giant, then slowly becoming a twirly synth shooting sound beams everywhere, until fading into the ultimate funkadelatron,

Two Weeks in Spain! Gary Green's funky guitar lick plays out three awesome notes and then the whole band blasts out with this very, very, very late seventies funk piece. Very reminiscent of Int'rview-days Gentle Giant, but also very poppy, reminiscent of the Bee Gees. The singing is too loud at times, and too soft at times, as if the soundman is still trying to find the best volume, but still, it doesn't interrupt the quality of the music and the music !

Clapping, shouting, accidently plucked guitar strings, and a smooth fade later, Free Hand begins. The famous Hammond organ opening is go, and Gary and Ray Shulman join moments later. Stop drop & roll, it's Kerry Minnear with his busting clavinet skills, very similar to those of Stevie Wonder! BOOM, a loud crash cymbal sounds, and the whole band plays, with Derek Shulman taking lead vocals, and boy, what a singer! Like the first time I reviewed this song, in my Free Hand review, I still can't say exactly what bands this song sounds like. If I had to try, I'd say Stevie Wonder, Gryphon, and Yes, but overall, it's always Gentle Giant! There's also the must have part for any live show, where the song breaks, and it's only drums, and vocals and clapping, and the whole crowd starts singing!

*Derek Shulman speaks to Cleveland, cleveland does not reply*

On Reflection starts, with the new arrangement, which I do not really like, but is still fantastic. Instead of opening with the quadruple vocal counterpart, they open with Kerry Minnear's part, but rearranged for Cello, Violin, Recorder, and Timpani. It brings out the hidden beauty, that lies deep within Kerry's singing. This new arrangement reminds me of old medieval music, from the 19th century. "All around, all around all ar-", oh wait, "ta tata, ta tata, ta tata", and they go into the vocal part. It's fun hearing Ray, Gary, and Kerry finally singing live! And of course, the crowd sings along...

They also do I'm Turning Around from The Missing Piece, probably their first real pop song in 7 years, which sucks, so I'm not gonna write anything about it, except for this: Good performance, but it still sucks.

I didn't really get what happened here, but somehow they entered with an effing amazing performance of Playing the Game! While Derek Shulman stands there with his poor Shulberry, John Weathers, Ray, and Gary are getting the funk on! "As a w***e that keyed through the backdoor" is what I hear most of the times, heh.

There's also a good performance of Memories of Old Days, which has probably the best sound on the album, but I don't really like the song, so I won't review it.

Betcha Thought We Couldn't Do It is the song with the worst sound on the album. Because of it's punk attitude, and Derek's screaming, everything just twirls into one. Also there's a lot of feedback.

Funny Ways starts with Gary plucking his Maj7's and Ray and Kerry on the more orchestral instruments. Around the 3 minute mark, the song blasts, with John going in hard, and Ray (?) trumpeteering his way to freedom! There's also a vibraphone solo, and a guitar solo, if you didn't have enough!

Drum roll, drum roll, drum roll, drum roll, and yes, you guessed it (or not), it's The Face! As this is also a blasting track, like Betcha Thought, the sound here isn't so good. However the band is playing fantastic! The usual wah-violin solo is a must, and it is followed by, yet another guitar solo. You can also look for the hidden Plain Truth reference!

*Derek asks Cleveland if he's himself*

1, 2, 3, and! Weathers counts, and the band blasts out the final rocker for the show, For Nobody! I sit in my room, imagining how pleased Gary and Kerry look when playing this song... I really like the part where they use the vocal harmonies, it feels to me as if this is the last song Gentle Giant made as the band we all know as Gentle Giant, you know? It's also a bit sad...

So that's it with the album. Overall the sound quality is great for a bootleg, and it almost feels like an original, non-bootlegged, live album! Some songs are a bit bad in quality, some songs are bad music, and some songs are good quality AND music! So 4/5 for the second best live GG album.

The Runaway | 4/5 |


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