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Gentle Giant - Playing The Fool - The Official Live CD (album) cover


Gentle Giant


Eclectic Prog

4.52 | 422 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
4 stars This really is an example of how great a live album can be. Recorded during their "Interview" tour from 1976 the band plays not only a song from that album (the final track) but they play at least one song from the previous 7 albums as well. Before you say What about "Acquiring the Taste" ? They include the title track from that album in the middle of the "Excerpts From Octopus". Go figure ? Anyway they rearranged it for the acoustic guitar if you didn't catch it right away. In fact a lot of these tracks were rearranged for these concerts, something GENTLE GIANT loved to do. What a talented band they were. And that's also what is so great about this recording, we can hear them play this complex music live. The sound here is perhaps louder and rawer then what we're used to from their studio work but that's pretty much what you'd expect. I like the picture in the liner notes of what I thought at first was constellations with lines running to all these different dots. What they are though is all the cities they visited on this tour all over the world. Cool to see they came to my province of Ontario and played not only Toronto as you'd expect but Ottawa and London as well.

So many highlights here, in fact there really isn't a bad track but i'd like to touch on my favourites. "Proclamation" from "The Power And the Glory" opens with piano as vocals come in. I like the instrumental break later followed by those vocal arrangements they're famous for. More of those vocals on "On Reflection" from the "Free Hand" album. Flute and cello early on this one. I should mention that "Free Hand" has the honour of being the album with the most music on this recording. There are five songs sampled on the "Excerts From Octopus" song. They really impress on this 15 1/2 minute track.

"Funny Ways" from the debut is my favourite song on here. Something melancolic about it. I like when it builds late and when it reaches it's peak the crowd roars it's approval. "The Runaway" from "In A Glass House" opens like the studio track with a sample of breaking glass. This is uptempo and so impressive. "Experience" is also from that album and is probably my second favourite song on here. It's so complex and intricate, I just love to really listen to it. The final medley of "Peel The Paint / I Lost My Head" end the recording in style. The former from "Three Friends" is just a killer track with powerful vocals.

A must for GENTLE GIANT fans out there.

Mellotron Storm | 4/5 |


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