Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Gong - Full Circle - Live 1988 CD (album) cover



Canterbury Scene

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bookmark and Share
4 stars This is a brilliant live album recorded in 1988. It starts off with a incredible version of "Second Wind" from the same album recorded earlier that year, this version is not that polished as the studio version, much better infact, the next song "Deep End" is also on the Seond Wind album, this one is also better and more attitude and punchy. The Third track is also on that same album, this song reminds me of earlier Pierre Moerlen`s Gong, somewhere between Shamal and Expresso II. Then Comes "Leave It Open" from that same albumtitel from 1981, Very jazzy and good song, Ten minutes of aural bliss. Then we get a drum solo, very good drumming, Pierre Have always been one of my favourite drummer (along Christian Vander and Bill Bruford) This drumsolo is not like the average solo`s. The next song is from Expresso II called "soli", Just as nice as the one on the record, maybe a little more relaxing in a way. Then comes "Breakthrough" a song from 1986 with the same title, This song have never done anything for me. Then the last song Xta-sea from "Downwind" from 1979 closes the album in a very nice way, i love this song very much.

Overall a good Pierre Moerlen`s Gong album, If you have earlier albums and dont know their latest Leave It Open (81) Breakthrough (86) and Second Wind (88) you should check out this one, it gives you a good example of the songs from those albums. Happy Hunting ;)

Report this review (#84147)
Posted Wednesday, July 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Quite nice live-recording of Pierre Moerlen's (Rest In Peace) Gong recorded in 1988 and released ten years later. I personally like this album because of using of mallet instruments there - and Pierre Moerlen's drumming of course. The music is not "something-very- eternal-and-aspirative" jazzrockfusion, but these crazy "good ol' mallets" save the music finely! Secondly I like this record because of the chance to listen to the live version of my fave Pierre Moerlen's Gong tune (till now I still don't know why exactly - is this symbiosis between this melody and juicy mallet sound?) Second Wind! In addition there are a bunch of the other "sweets" like Leave It Open, Drum Alone, Soli and Xtasea. Relaxing jazzrockfusion with "singing" mallets!
Report this review (#131499)
Posted Friday, August 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Excellent artifact from the Pierre Moerlen era. The sound and vibe here are far more organic than the bland Live album released in 1980. The recording is quite full and there is exquisite banter that really gives the album an exciting, intimate feel. A healthy selection of band favorites make this a top live album worth seeking out. My personal favorites on this album are Exotic and Leave it Open, but all the tracks put together make this something no fan of Pierre Moerlen's Gong should be without. In fact, this is among the best late eighties prog performances I've heard.
Report this review (#2011531)
Posted Saturday, September 1, 2018 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Honorary Reviewer
4 stars This 1988 recording was first released ten years later, then again by Musea in 2001 and then again by Gonzo in 2013 which is the version I am listening to, although I do believe they are all exactly the same. Recorded direct to cassette, this featured the rather unusual instrumental line-up of the band featuring of course Pierre Moerlen on drums, alongside Benoit Moerlen and Stefan Traub who both provide vibraphone and synthesizer, and bassist Hansford Rowe and guitarist Ake Zieden. As one might expect, we get mostly songs from the more recent albums 'Second Wind', 'Breakthrough' and 'Leave It Open', but for anyone coming across this band for the first time then this is an absolute delight.

The recording has cleaned up incredibly well, and one would not think the source was a cassette from some years earlier, while the band are on fire and there is very strong interplay between them. Their style of fusion is incredibly accessible and interesting, and I cannot actually think of another band who would perform with two vibraphone players. This gives the music a very interesting dynamic, as while the sounds being produced are often similar to keyboards, the mallet strike is very different, and they change between using keyboards and vibes. The guitar often sits right at the back, almost invisible, just coming in when needed, while the bass is often in the front with complex lines, and Pierre keeps it all together with very powerful drumming.

Pierre Moerlen's Gong were a very different beast indeed to Gong, yet very much related, and to my ears one of the most important Gong offshoots. Even now, more than 30 years on from the original concert, it is fresh and exciting and something which will happily in any prog lover's collection.

Report this review (#2534082)
Posted Saturday, April 10, 2021 | Review Permalink
3 stars Clear through the 1980s, Gong lived on in this second iteration, and in my opinion, still nearly as strong as the mid-70s when Pierre took up the helm! I think what kept them alive, at least looking at them here, is that they were able to continue on, adjusting style appropriately, now in the age of Guitar Fusion. And of course, from Allan Holdsworth on, guitar was a necessary function to their sound, regardless of its (secondary) priority (after percussion, obviously).

Well performed British Fusion. They did, I think, generally help really drive the genre forward (Since when/who? NUCLEUS?!--I would see them as a continuation of Ian CARR's powerful legacy). Of course, this music is highlighted by the aforementioned percussion. Pierre is an excellent drummer, his brother Benoit and Stefan Traub share the responsibility of the necessarily-Gong vibes as well as synthesizer, and lastly we have the great bass-playing of Hansford Rowe. Not familiar with the latter, but he's a tethering force on "Leave It Open" and, as mentioned on the mic, he was the songwriter for "Soli".

At worst, we get some, to me, stale and boring tracks, like with "Deep End". I think where the band is weakest is in their synthesizer choices. A tad cheesy at times, perhaps. The guitaring is good, for sure, but unlike earlier iterations of the band, there aren't too many memorable riffs or whatnot (the closer, "Xtasea", is the exception). Is what it is. And maybe with that, it should be said, it's not as great as I was anticipating (or how I made it maybe seem above).

Report this review (#2650094)
Posted Monday, December 6, 2021 | Review Permalink

GONG Full Circle - Live 1988 ratings only

chronological order | showing rating only

Post a review of GONG Full Circle - Live 1988

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.