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Horslips - The Belfast Gigs CD (album) cover

THE BELFAST GIGS

Horslips

 

Prog Folk

2.85 | 8 ratings

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SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
3 stars Trouble with a Capital "T"

During the period between the release of their first live album in 1976 and this, their second, live album in 1980, Horslips had gradually degenerated from Prog Folk to straight Rock. This transformation was taken to its logical extreme on 1979's Short Stories - Tall Tales, the band's final studio release and also their worst. Thankfully, only one track from that album is featured here in the decent Guests Of The Nation. The other three studio albums that had been released since Horslips Live was recorded are however not bad at all. The title track from 1978's The Man Who Built America, another decent rocker, represents that album here. Somewhat disappointingly there is not a single number from the often overlooked Aliens from 1977, however. Finally, the excellent Book Of Invasions - A Celtic Symphony is represented with Trouble With A Capital "T", The Warm Sweet Breath Of Love, The Power And The Glory, and (as a bonus track on the CD version) Sword Of Light. It is primarily the latter songs together with older classics like Blindman, King Of The Fairies, and Dearg Doom that prove that Horslips never strayed as far away from their roots in the live arena as they did in the studio setting. As a live band they still remained true to their past, at least to a larger degree.

The out-and-out Rock 'N' Roll number Shakin' All Over is the only real disaster here. This awful boogie could easily have been replaced by something more interesting (by a track from Aliens, for example). Other drawbacks of this live album is it's short running length and the fact that three of the nine songs had already been featured on Horslips Live. Still, The Belfast Gigs constitutes a much more fitting ending to the band's career than the poor Short Stories - Tall Tales (though, the end was not final as the band has recently reformed).

Compared to the two other live albums I've heard from Horslips (Horslips Live and the recent Live At The O2) the present one is clearly inferior. Make sure you get those others, as well as most of the band's studio albums, before turning to this one. But The Belfast Gigs is nonetheless a decent, though certainly not essential, addition to a comprehensive Horslips collection.

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |

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