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Gentle Giant - Live at the Bicentennial CD (album) cover


Gentle Giant


Eclectic Prog

3.98 | 35 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars This is a virtual unedited live concert performance of the band at the Calderone Theatre in Hempstead NY on the eve of the US Bicentennial celebrations for a promotional tour of their album, Interview and comes from the same period of touring that the band released their more familiar, Playing The Fool album. What we don't get are the encore pieces from the latter album, Sweet Georgia Brown/ Peel the Paint/ Lost My Head, which is a pity because Peel the Paint is a highlight of any Gentle Giant concert. Instead we get extended versions of three tracks on the Interview album, Interview, Timing and Give It Back. Timing is especially good because you get about 10 minutes of improvised violin and echo effects. Give It Back is a Bob Marley reggae piece with lots of drum and xylophone. The track Interview is very tongue in cheek with Derek Shulman's voice introducing the song in the format of a radio interview with alternating bass and organ riffs giving it a rolling rocking feel.

Most of the other songs on the Live at the Bicentennial album follow a similar pattern to the Playing the Fool album. So Sincere has some of Gary Green's best electric guitar work before John Weathers begins his extended drum solo. All the musicians are super talented who work within the basic structure of the songs to explore nuances you don't think are there from their studio versions. My only other complaint apart from the exclusion of the encore pieces from the concert, is the band's preference to play excepts from the Octopus album rather than the individual songs from that album. I prefer the fresher sounding unedited Bicentennial album to their better known Playing the Fool album if only for greater audience ambiance you get on this album. The voices aren't as clear, but I don't think it matters. The bonus of having three tracks off the Interview album performed live, makes this a very valuable addition for fans of Gentle Giant to add to their collection.

iluvmarillion | 4/5 |


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