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Renaissance Live at the BBC Sight & Sound album cover
3.96 | 7 ratings | 1 reviews | 29% 5 stars

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DVD/Video, released in 2016

Songs / Tracks Listing

DVD - Main feature

BBC 'Sight & Sound - In Concert' Live from the Golders Green Hippodrome, London 8th January 1977

1. Introduction (0:51)
2. Carpet of the Sun (4:17)
3. Mother Russia (11:03)
4. Can You Hear Me (14:17)
5. Ocean Gypsy (8:02)
6. Running Hard (10:43)
7. Band Introduction (0:56)
8. Touching Once (Is so Hard to Keep) (10:42)
9. Prologue (7:23)

Total Time (61:15)

CD1 - Main feature

BBC 'Sight & Sound - In Concert' Live from the Golders Green Hippodrome, London 8th January 1977

1. Introduction (0:51)
2. Carpet of the Sun (4:17)
3. Mother Russia (11:03)
4. Can You Hear Me (14:17)
5. Ocean Gypsy (8:02)
6. Running Hard (10:43)
7. Band Introduction (0:56)
8. Touching Once (Is so Hard to Keep) (10:42)
9. Prologue (7:23)

Total Time (61:15)

CD2 - Bonus audio

Radio 1 'Sight & Sound - In Concert' Live from the Golders Green Hippodrome, London 8th May 1975

1. Running Hard (11:52)
2. Mother Russia (10:31)
3. Prologue (7:30)
4. Ocean Gypsy (8:09)
5. Ashes are Burning (18:34)

Total Time (50:35)

Radio 1 'BBC Sessions' 19th August 1978

1. Day of the Dreamer (9:54)
2. The Vultures Fly High (2:51)
3. Midas Man (3:51)

Total Time (16:36)

CD3 - Bonus audio

Radio 1 'Sight & Sound - In Concert' - Live from The Paris Theatre, London 25th March, 1976

1. Prologue (8:01)
2. Running Hard (10:12)
3. Ocean Gypsy (5:47)
4. Mother Russia (10:26)
5. Song of the Scheherazade (25:36)

Total Time (50:02)

Line-up / Musicians

- Annie Haslam / lead vocals
- John Tout / piano, synthesizer
- Jon Camp/ bass guitar, backing vocals
- Michael Dunford/ guitar
- Terence Sullivan/ drums

Releases information

Repertoire Records

Thanks to rogerthat for the addition
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RENAISSANCE Live at the BBC Sight & Sound ratings distribution

(7 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(29%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(57%)
Good, but non-essential (0%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (14%)

RENAISSANCE Live at the BBC Sight & Sound reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by rogerthat
4 stars Repertoire Records has previously dug out the De Lane Studios and Academy of Music concerts of Renaissance for official release. In comparison, this 'Live at the BBC Sight & Sound' package includes material that fans are well acquainted with. It draws from the previous BBC Sessions CD and adds, as the main attraction, video of the concert performed by Renaissance at the Hippodrome, London in 1977 as part of the Sight & Sound in Concert series. However, this main attraction has already been available, 'unofficially', on youtube for a few years now, something that the band acknowledged while promoting this release on their facebook package.

I was excited as this was the only colour footage taken from a live performance given by the band in the 70s. And it is a beautifully shot concert, way ahead of all of the band's DVDs including the recent ones in that aspect, covering the band from a whole variety of angles. However, when I saw the nervous look on Annie Haslam's face in the first close up shot in the concert as they perform Carpet of the Sun, I began to have misgivings. After a somewhat glaring misstep (hard to be too harsh when somebody's got a voice like that) towards the end of that song, her confidence seems to drop even more and she wears a kind of anxious and downcast look through the rest of the show, for the most part. The wide variety of giggles and grins sported by her in shows over the years attest to how unusual it is for her to be that aloof while performing. I didn't mind the show on the whole but I was also not overwhelmed and just said to myself that you can't have it all. Maybe best quality audio and video had to come at the (slight) expense of musical quality and show(woman)ship.

So I decided to play the audio CD version of the concert, just to see if the audio was better on it as compared to the DVD (it was). And I began to get a different impression of the concert, indeed of Annie's singing. On video, she looks tentative, perhaps weighed down by her perfectionist streak and perhaps also battling a throat that was protesting the workload she had imposed on it. But, on audio, I heard beautiful, confident and expressive renditions, as always. Yes, with those little missteps hither and thither, but it is much harder to notice when the sheer quality of her vocal delivery overwhelms you.

Turns out the Sight & Sound concert is another fine example of Annie's quiet resilience. Perhaps she may have been embattled by inner demons and may have completely abdicated the role of frontperson for this show to the more composed Jon Camp but she was still striving to give her best song after song and did not disappoint the eager fans who had turned up to watch the show. I could finally put in perspective the enthusiastic cheering from the crowd after every song. No, it is not that they were forgiving. It is that she and the band as such had truly mounted a wonderful show, in spite of the somewhat scripted quality these Sight & Sound shows have compared to less high profile performances by Renaissance (or other bands). My pick would be Ocean Gypsy but don't miss John Tout's wonderful piano work on Mother Russia. There are some fine, subtle variations in there that he's sneaked in unobtrusively without altering the spirit of the composition.

He is bolder still on the 1975 Sight & Sound show, also performed at the Hippodrome, shining especially on Ashes Are Burning, where he attempts a modest harmonic expedition rather than trying to play fast. No, it's not the second coming of Dave Stewart but it's still the most interesting keyboard solo I have heard from John Tout on this track. He's on a roll as such on this show and some of his best work on Ocean Gypsy can also be heard here. Annie is in finer voice, that is to say more like her usual, frighteningly invincible self and knocks Ashes Are Burning in particular out of the park. If I haven't said much if anything about the others, it's only because there isn't much to add except to say they are all in reliably good form, just as fine as on any of the other shows from the 70s.

The Paris Theater show is also a fine set but there's little to add because the song selections overlap, barring Song of Scheherzade. It is a more by-the-book set compared to the 1975 show. There is also a little trio of songs performed as part of 'BBC Sessions' first released on radio in 1978. Of these, Day of the Dreamer turns out best and has some lovely bass playing by Camp, especially in the slow second verse.

So, is it worth it at the end of it all? If you are only interested in the DVD, maybe not, because you necessarily have to buy the full compilation of Renaissance's BBC appearances. Maybe they could have (and can still) release the DVD as a standalone purchase. But if you don't have the earlier BBC Sessions release, it is well worth the money. Not only because the performances are good but because the recordings are top notch too, easily better than Live at Carnegie Hall or Live at Albert Hall. You do miss the orchestra here, but as I have said in other reviews, the orchestra was never a quintessential aspect of Renaissance's live shows, only a special addition in a select few shows. If you want to hear Renaissance the way they usually were, except a bit more formal, this is a fine place to start.

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