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Barclay James  Harvest - Berlin - A Concert For The People CD (album) cover


Barclay James Harvest


Crossover Prog

4.10 | 10 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars BJH may have never been among the biggest prog bands in their home country, but during the whole 70's they enjoyed big success in Germany. So they gave a free open air concert in Berlin in August 1980, when the cold war and the Berlin Wall were still there. The crowd was huge, actually one of the biggest ever in a rock concert, and it was a definitive highlight in the band's career. A shame that their original keyboardist 'Woolly' Wolstenholme had left the group the previous year. But the guest musician fills his shoes just fine (the leaflet names two but the other is not seen really). The concert portion in the film is only about an hour long while the concert actually was two and a half hours long. I'd like to know the complete track list.* The emphasis here is on the then oncoming Turn Of The Tide album together with some of their best known songs ('Mockingbird', 'Hymn'). Two songs were written especially for this event.

I can happily say that this was better than I expected. Beautifully filmed in great surroundings, performed with love. No compliments on either sound or picture quality. Interwoven visual material other than the concert itself (seashore and other landscapes, soldiers guarding the Berlin Wall, etc) is artistically a little hazy and very suitable as such. They help to create the hearty atmosphere and also help the message come through better. BJH seemingly were a very conscious band at that time. Think of songs 'In Memory Of The Martyrs' and 'Child Of The Universe'. I haven't heard their albums after Gone To Earth (1977), but in this evidence they are quite good listening - quite far from prog though.

During 'Berlin' we are shown the putting-up of the stage and the city president welcoming the band with lousy English. 'Mockingbird' is certainly a highlight. Very romantic visual material in it. Many songs were naturally new to me, but all the more delightful was to see/hear videos from the Time Honoured Ghosts album (1975). In all their simplicity they are at least nostalgic (in addition to the band playing one can see e.g. blue skies on 'Jonathan', a naked girl floating and circling in the water on 'Moongirl', and of course The Beatles on 'Titles', which is based on the Beatles song titles).

Already the concert itself reminded how much I like this band. Les Holroyd is a very charming man with his long curls, friendly smile and brown eyes! :) He sings e.g. the happiest tracks 'Sip Of Wine' and 'Life Is For Living'. There indeed is a nice balance between lightness and seriousness. The overall feeling is very warm, and I'm sure that this DVD will be worth watching for all the friends of this band.

* PS. I was sent this full set list - Thanks! Here it is: Love on the Line/ Capricorn/ Jonathan/ Poor Man's moody Blues/ Rock'n'Roll Lady/ Nova Lepidoptera/ The Song ( they love to sing )/ Mockingbird/ Crazy City/ Suicide ?/ Sip of Wine/ In Memory of the Martyrs/ Life is for Living/ Sperratus/ Play to the World/ Child of the Universe/ Berlin/ Loving is Easy/ Hymn.

Matti | 4/5 |


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