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LIVE AT MONTREUX 74/84

Mahavishnu Orchestra

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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Mahavishnu Orchestra Live At Montreux 74/84 album cover
3.56 | 12 ratings | 2 reviews | 17% 5 stars

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DVD/Video, released in 2007

Songs / Tracks Listing



Disc One - 1984
1. Radio-Activity
2. Nostalgia
3. East Side, West Side
4. Clarendon Hills
5. Medley: Blues For L.W. / It's The Pits / Living On The Crest Of A Wave
6. Jozy
7. Pacific Express
8. Mitch Match
9. Mitch Match (reprise)

Disc Two - 1974
1. Wings Of Karma
2. Hymn To Him
Plus Bonus Audio Only Tracks From 1974
1. Power Of Love
2. Smile Of The Beyond
3. Vision Is A Naked Sword
4. Sanctuary

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

1984 line-up
John McLaughlin / Guitar
Bill Evans / Sax
Jonas Hellborg / Bass
Mitchell Forman / Keyboards
Daniell Gotlieb / Drums


1974 Line-up

John McLaughlin / Guitar
Jean-Luc Ponty / Violin
Ralph Armstrong / Bass
Narada Michael Walden / Drums
Gayle Moran / Vocals , Organ
Steve Kindlter / Violin
Carol Shive / Violin
Marsha Westbrook / Alto violin
Phil Hirschi / Cello
Bob Knapp / Trumpet , Backing Vocals
Steve Frankivitch / Trumpet , Backing Vocals

Releases information

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Thanks to Sean Trane for the addition
and to Slartibartfast for the last updates
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ApocalypseApocalypse
Sbme Special Mkts. 2008
Audio CD$2.52
$1.89 (used)
Visions of the Emerald BeyondVisions of the Emerald Beyond
SBME Special Markets 2008
Audio CD$2.96
$2.12 (used)
Birds of FireBirds of Fire
Sbme Special Mkts. 2000
Audio CD$2.19
$3.99 (used)
Between Nothingness & EternityBetween Nothingness & Eternity
Sbme Special Mkts. 2008
Audio CD$2.60
$2.50 (used)
Lost Trident SessionsLost Trident Sessions
Sbme Special Mkts. 1999
Audio CD$2.64
$2.99 (used)
Inner Mounting FlameInner Mounting Flame
Sbme Special Mkts. 1998
Audio CD$2.86
$1.06 (used)
Inner WorldsInner Worlds
Import
Sony Bmg Europe 1994
Audio CD$4.70
$0.49 (used)
Original Album ClassicsOriginal Album Classics
Import
Columbia/Legacy Europe 2007
Audio CD$12.97
$12.97 (used)
Whiskey A-Go-Go 27 March 1972Whiskey A-Go-Go 27 March 1972
Klondike Records 2014
Audio CD$19.98
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MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA Live At Montreux 74/84 ratings distribution


3.56
(12 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(17%)
17%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(50%)
50%
Good, but non-essential (25%)
25%
Collectors/fans only (8%)
8%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA Live At Montreux 74/84 reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!

Finally some "official" film footage from the great period of MO, even if the MkII line-up fails to raise the same enthusiasm as the one that had released their first three line-ups. Actually this footage is part (50 minutes) of the Apocalypse set played at the festival in 74, followed by the rest of the set in an audio-only recording, while the first disc is a "reformation" where McLaughlin is the only historical member. Under a sober eclipse artwork, this 2 DVD set is a bit of a mixed-feeling as to the satisfaction guaranteed warranty.

If the 84 concert had been alone for sale, most likely that it would've probably been a bit of a disaster. Not that the line-up presented isn't good musicians, quite on the contrary, but the fact is that not only did they do an unknown set with a non- historical line-up, but it comes in the 80's where the music industry was definitely blinded by those awful digital equipment revolution. While Hellborg is a very good bassist and woks pretty well with drummer Danny Gottlieb (not the French cartoonist) and saxman Bill Evans is also perfect, but most of the problem rests with Forman's choice of keyboards (although they are not scandalous either), but really it is McLaughlin's almost constant use of his Synclavier-mounted guitar that screws the whole balance up. I was never a fan of that device, but here I am completely reinforced in my hatred of that stupid "gadget". Actually if you watch the DVD, this will only bother you partly, because McLaughlin's paying has lost its edge, urgency and uniqueness, because his guitar sounds like a cheap 80's keyboards. Where it would be really infuriating is if you were listening to this concert without the images: you'd have a hard time telling McLaughlin from Forman, because they are almost impossible to tell apart and you'd probably wouldn't recognize this was a MO recording or even McLaughlin's "guitar" playing. 'Nuff said of this one!!˛

The second disc is the one we all want to know about: the 74 Apocalypse album rendition. If MO had always been McLaughlin's ship, nowhere but here had it become so evident. Yes John rules his group and if not on studio recordings, it certainly shows in concert, where he is the centrepiece and star of the show. Only Jean-Luc Ponty is able (allowed??) to challenge the master, but he doesn't get all that many chances (he only plays around 50% of the time) and I'm not sure he really would like to do so, as he looks completely bored too. Furthermore when he does get a chance to play up and really shine, Gayle Moran's keyboards seem to be at their loudest of the concert (we can even see Ponty asking her to play it down), which is most likely no accident. The very same Moran that we have all seen better elsewhere: she's dressed in an awful pink nightgown-like dress and seemingly content to play the sidekick and not much else, obviously looking at her master with puppy respect/love. Gayle plays her keyboards calmly and is responsible for much of the fusion Santana-like moments (as in the Santana-Alice Coltrane collab of Illuminations) even if suggested by John himself.

However, there is a third star on stage and Narada Walden is brighter from behind his drum set than that sun being eclipsed in the artwork. Yes, that man is so hot on his kit that he always looks set at setting fire to his cymbals, and especially in the opening Wings Of Karma. As for bassist Ralph Armstrong, if he wasn't dressed completely in red (with a red Fender Precision bass) and with a way too tight Superman t-shirt, we don't really notice him much, until the second part of his lengthy bass solo at the two thirds of the last filmed piece, Hymn To Him. He even seems a bit lost some minute before his solo and discusses with John. Outside the opening minute the string section is fairly useless (except for the two lady violinists (which John seems to be looking at most of the set, ostentatiously turning his back towards Moran and Armstrong) and only starts playing after 10 minutes for a short duel with McLaughlin, than they wait until next track, where they'll have a bit more work. The same can be said of the two- man brass section that only intervenes some 19 minutes into the first track.

As for the music itself, if the Apocalypse album was a bit insufferably soft and overproduced, the live version is much rougher and livelier. While we have only two tracks of the concert that were filmed, the rest of the set was recorded and is released here as a "bonus" 'aren't they generous, uh, without having to click anything, the film being replaced by a repeated Eclipse virtual simulation. The non-filmed part of the set is clearly of the same quality (sonically speaking) than the first part and the whole album is played, somehow extended to a 2 hour concert. Not a bad disc, this only partly answers what we had of bright hopes to get some superb MO live footage that the 84 version had completely failed to do, leaving us a mixed bag of feeling at this 2 DVD set. All we can do is hope that the BBC Paris Theatre of 72 gets an official release sometime soon.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#143802) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, October 12, 2007

Review by Slartibartfast
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The 1984 appearance of the MO was a lineup that didn't have any of the previous MO lineup of musicians except for John. Still there was a pretty impressive roster. Jonas Hellborg, on bass, steals the show. I suspect he's been rather influenced by Jaco at this point. Also, we also have Bill Evans, fairly fresh out of his stint saxing with Miles Davis. There's also a fine drummer, Danny Gottlieb, who'd played with Pat Metheny prior. Don't know much about Mitchell Forman. With John experimenting with the Synclavier Guitar so much, the keyboards are almost redundant in this ensemble. I had a hard time sitting through this at first. It definitely has that '80's taint, if you know what I mean. But I've warmed up to it. It's a bit like an attempt to return to the magic of the original lineup that doesn't quite get there. Still, if you judge it in the context of the time, it's not too bad.

I got this for one reason and one reason only, it was the two video bits from the Apocalypse lineup of Mahavishu Orchestra. Actually calling them bits isn't quite accurate. Wings of Karma and Hymn to Him are actually decently long pieces. I was pleasantly surprised to see that they had some actual orchestra musicians with them there at Montreaux. The first inkling I got that there was some live footage from this MO lineup was a poor quality video of Smile of the Beyond on a certain video clip web site many of us know of. It's very disappointing that we only get two clips from the show with video and the rest are audio only. I'm guessing the rest of the original footage has been lost. One can only hope that it will resurface. The performance is a bit more structured than the more compact MO's could be live, but that's to be expected due to the larger number of musician's involved. Still the core band does get to work in some improvisation, McLaughlin in particular.

This release is all in all a pleasant surprise for 2007, but there's more video out there from the older Mahavishu Orchestras, and I hope to see that material surface soon. It gets a four on the round up.

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Send comments to Slartibartfast (BETA) | Report this review (#147488) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, October 27, 2007

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