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CONCERT CLASSICS VOL. 4

UK

Eclectic Prog


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Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I was so lucky having this album as what I understood later that it was then withdrawn from the market due to some disputes between the label and one of the musicians involved in this concert. So, this CD is now becoming a rare collection. Itâ??s a joy listening to this record as it features the original line-up of UK with Allan Holdsworth (guitar), Eddie Jobson (keyboards, e-violin & electronics), John Wetton (bass & vocals), Bill Bruford (kit drums & percussion) performing tracks from their two albums: UK and Danger Money. As you know, Bill Bruford and Allan Holdsworth were absent for the Danger Money album. So, basically their second album was guitar-less and that what has made this live set is interesting because Allan fills his guitar playing for songs from Danger Money.

As I am a big fan of live record even though I have to trade it off, sometime, with poor sonic quality of the CD, I consider this record as a masterpiece of progressive rock live concert. You may discount my rating here but the spirit is that I want express my honest statement that prog rock bands should have this kind of live record. It does not really matter at all if you totally disagree with me and I fully respect your opinion. If you like live record you might be with me. The audio quality is not really bad, itâ??s acceptable. The album cover is terrible. But, the music that counts really. And itâ??s not just the music, it has the soul of true prog rock concert.

The record starts off with and ambient and soaring keyboard work of Eddie Jobson that projects an overture of great rock concert through â??Alaskaâ? (1:33), continued wonderfully with â??Time To Killâ? (7:16) in relatively fast tempo. With this live record the bandâ??s music is much improvisational in nature, especially with the stunning guitar work by Allan Holdsworth combined with Jobsonâ??s keyboard and violin. As usual Bruford plays his drum with his unique time signature and unique snare sound. He seems to enjoy playing the concert as most of the improvisation tend to be jazzy. Put it right, this live set is more Canterbury than the original studio version. The show goes on with a song from Danger Money album: â??The Only Thing She Needsâ? (7:21) which clearly shows the powerful voice of John Wetton.

The musical improvisation goes crazy when the band performs â??Carrying No Crossâ? (9:58) from Danger Money album and â??Thirty Yearsâ? (10:03) from debut album. The appearance of Allan Holdsworth has brought the music into jazz Canterbury style. I personally enjoy the improvisation of guitar, keyboard and violin. The band performs songs from their debut album creatively by putting reversely â??Presto Vivaceâ? before â??In The Dead Of Nightâ? (7:49). Itâ??s a nice shot, really! The live set concludes with a song from Danger Money album: â??Caesar's Palace Bluesâ? (4:29) .

Overall, enjoying this live set is really rewarding and makes my adrenalin running rapidly. If you love a live record, this is definitely one of the best prog rock concert. If you are lucky seeing this CD at record store, just grab it man! Itâ??s OOP now, at least you have a rare collection in your CD shelf. Keep on progginâ?? ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild â?" GW

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#42240)
Posted Tuesday, August 09, 2005 | Review Permalink
Fishy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Uk did two magnificent albums at the end of the seventies. Both albums are generally considered as masterpieces of progressive rock. Some prog lovers prefer the debut album because of the fusion influences while others like "Danger money" more for the adventurous keyboard parts. Everyone agrees on the fact that there's not much resemblances between the two albums. A lot of people are wondering what would the band would have been like if Bruford and Holdsworth stayed on board. This album is your chance to catch a glimpse of what could have been. It features material from both albums performed by the original line up at the time "Danger money" was to be released. It seems tracks like "the only things she needs", "carrying no cross" and "caesar's palace blues" were actually written without song writing contributions by the two previous members which could be considered as a sign all was not going well between the members. Although the guitar isn't adding any substantial melody lines, the overall atmospheres on these tracks is surely benefits from the fusion elements and the sound which is more diverse compared to studio versions. After you heard "Carrying no cross", you can easily understand why this band split up. I presume Jobson was playing his parts always the same while the guitar lines changed for every single gig. Sometimes these two parts go in separate directions but some parts do sound excitable. At the time this was been performed live, the songs from the second album were nothing more than work in progress. This version has some parts which later have been deleted or replaced ; the keyboards sound less Keith Emerson than on the album but truly a great track anyway ; the reflective lyrics beautifully sung by Wetton in the beginning and ending parts with an astonishing instrumental duel in between.

"Caesar's palace blues" is a great up-tempo track with leanings to folk music. Here the lyrics are definitely not finished as Wetton sings the melody line without any words at some parts ; really funny ! The guitar just follows the violin and sometimes it's annoying cause it takes an effort to listen to the vocals which are buried by the violin and the guitar. Not my favorite version.

"Thirty years" is one of the most adventurous tracks combining atmospheric prog with fusion. This is the first time I heard a live version and it's awesome ! This sounds more laidback and less pompous but for me this is the excellent highlight. Not many times have I heard 4 musicians to play their parts complementary to each other without ending up in chaos. On this live record the sound of the bass is more noticeable in the bands sound. This is an improvement as it proves to be an essential part of the songs.

Many people regret the fact that UK only delivered 3 albums. Well two studio ones anyway, it was obvious this band was capable of much more excitable material but history decided otherwise. Somewhere in the nineties there was a rumour Wetton and Jobson would reunite but somehow it never happened. This is your long awaited chance to hear some excitable stuff from a transitional period between the first and second album. If you haven't seen them playing live after the debut album was released, get this album ; it is available. On the artwork there's a lot of covers shown from live albums, bootlegs I suppose but I've never spotted one of these items in a record store. I believe "Concert classics volume 4" is an official release and the sound quality of these recordings is excellent.

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Send comments to Fishy (BETA) | Report this review (#43120)
Posted Tuesday, August 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
lor68
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Well how many years did their original fans spend, listening to such a pleasant and skilful progressive/ symphonic jazz-oriented music?! Probably not so many, because such a great ensemble - featuring A. Holdsworth, E. Jobson, J. Wetton and B. Bruford- was characterized by a fast decline and fall in a couple of years, after some great performances all over the world in the late seventies.the present live songs - witnessing a golden era for Wetton & C.- were sometimes uneven (talking about the production) and just a little bit weak; but nevertheless their incredible jam sessions (and solo-performances as well) made an important contribution to the memory of a seemingly immortal super band!!

I prefer the last period with T. Bozzio replacing Bruford on drums, in the music format of a keyboard-oriented trio, but also their early years with Holdsworth on his electric and synthesizer-guitar were remarkable, despite of their style being more jazzy in comparison to the experimental progressive rock performed by Bruford and Wetton (since the dissolution of King Crimson) and already expressed within the mini-suite "Carrying No Cross" (shared between two different line-up, along with other two tracks entitled "Alaska" and "Time to kill", but recorded in the studio-version only inside the album "Danger Money", unfortunately without Allan. ). Anyway all these three tunes were fantastic to be played live on stage. Instead "Caesar Palace Blues" is more fitted into the improvisational jazz style of Holdsworth (here including the experimental solo by Jobson at the electric violin), in comparison to the prog rock jam sessions regarding the following years without guitars and well expressed inside UK "Night After Night". For me this latter album is better than this "Concert Classics Vol. 4", because the production and generally the way it sounds are superior.

An interesting collection anyway (add an half star at least), but first of all buy "UK Night After Night"!!

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Send comments to lor68 (BETA) | Report this review (#60576)
Posted Saturday, December 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars For a band that made a mere two studio records, U.K. left an impressive impact on prog rock and its listeners, and is still mentioned in the same breath with monsters such as ELP and Gentle Giant. In their time, the band's uniquely cold, streamlined sound was a fresh take on the more organic sounds of Yes and Tull, and dared to push the technological envelope with synthetic eccentricities and cyber-prog cool. Though the group's other live release - the flat and flavorless 'Night After Night' - is more popular, this captures four A-list players during a brief and shining moment just before prog's demise and is a far superior (if less clean) performance.

And as with all good live albums, we get to peek into the true nature of a band and observe the naked reality of a live performance with all its potential pitfalls, miscues, flubbed notes and fumbled moments. We hear this on 'Alaska', a good keyboard-based track that gives the band a chance to warm-up, Eddie Jobson's electric violin coming through nicely, Bruford unshakable, somehow keeping the complex music together with John Wetton's bass. 'Time to Kill' plinks open and allows Allan Holdsworth to finally break through, and features some treacherous passages pulled-off gracefully by the boys. The infectiously odd meters of 'The Only Thing She Needs' are fun, showing off the act's robo-jazz syncopation, Wetton's heavy thudding and quite competent singing. By now they're in the swing of it and things are moving well, and we're treated to a sparkling solo from Holdsworth and some of Jobson's sweet piano. The giant 'Carrying No Cross', a huge, burdensome piece to recreate, is attempted with mixed results, missing Jobson's spectacular piano break and replaced by a lengthy but good space-jazz jam. The reflective 'Thirty Years' has Wetton's typically thick lyrics, saved by bubblegum videogame blurps and some killer riffs. The evening's highlights have to be 'In the Dead of Night' with death-defying showmanship, mistakes and all, and the killer 'Cesar's Palace Blues'.

By far the better of their official live issues... a great glimpse of this band unadorned by studio trickery, and at how music is constructed and reproduced.

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Send comments to Atavachron (BETA) | Report this review (#140720)
Posted Thursday, September 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover and E&O Teams
4 stars My first experience with this interesting band and I have to say, I was expecting a lot, after all these words I've heard (bad side of this "boasting", flattering and admiring stuff), but (clap- clap), I've received it. I was right about it. Maybe the correct procedure should be to listen studio albums first, but order of some things you just can't change.

Music here is progressive, that's for sure. It's something new, even they were just few years before Asia (you know, one same member, similar bands) and when you put these bands on contrast it's breathtaking. It's like doing things right and wrong, even they're the same people. To have one project for being progressive and second just for money in AOR way (actually it can also be Arena Oriented Rock). But these things aren't true here.

Quality of sound is better average, I would be happiest in case that I wouldn't find out that it's live version, but never mind it, there are more important things to value. Performance for example is one of these responsible. These gentlemen are doing their best. But there are things I don't agree with. Like some strange melodies, don't fitting me to overall symphonic composition. But after all, it's not so bad. Just am not enjoying it so much for masterpiecy rating.

4(+),

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Send comments to Marty McFly (BETA) | Report this review (#249059)
Posted Sunday, November 08, 2009 | Review Permalink

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