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Gong - Classic Rock Legends CD (album) cover




Canterbury Scene

3.93 | 18 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars There are a few considerations I would like to make before I attack the content of the DVD from one of my favourite group GonG. I would like to talk about the Classic Rock label that can be controversial although they have some really priceless documents in their catalogue.

This catalogue is IMHO divided in three categories - not necessarily the ones the label would use to categorize their releases. First, there are the real gifts to 70's rock fans with TV specials and live concert footage about some seminal groups that only them seem to market, and I would like to thank them sincerely for it. DVDs from Atomic Rooster, VDGG, Focus, and Purple are invaluable documents that warm our heart. Then comes the second part of their catalogue, however, it does not really merit the same respect: the Inside Of series is a bunch of so-called critical review of the careers of seminal rock groups holding few images and interview footages simply because the label does not have permission to do them and does not seem to have the will to ask for it for royalty reasons. These DVDs are highly misleading and deceptive since they hold a bunch of interviews that have no link or part of the group discussed even if the interviewees are obviously fans of the featured groups. In this regard I hold as much contempt for Mostly Autumn than I do for Classic Rock label for issuing such blatant commercial attempts at making money on bands without their agreement.

The third category of DVD releases that they have is concerts that come from those same classic and seminal 70's groups, but of a much later date sometimes from original line-ups reforming for one shot deals (Wishbone Ash, Caravan, and Hatfield And The North) or mid-90's until now concert dates from bands that are usually well past their prime or out on a nostalgic/exploitation tour (I will not name these out of respect for them) or in this case, with this Gong concert, a real tour with solid arguments and a continuing career.

However as usual with this series, informations are hard to get to on the label, cover or booklet and the exact date of the recording and the line-up listing not clearly offered and even approximate track listing.

Enough with those side issues and onwards with this great performance of a classic GonG concert concentrating on the Radio Gnome Trilogy and its introduction Camembert. From the glory days are present Daevid Allen and his wife Gilly Smith but also Malherbe and Pip Pyle, aide by fresher member Steffi Sharpstring. Bert Camembert, Bloomdido and Zero the Hero are back in full stride and the madness is complete, augmented by extra dancers adding more folklore (as if a GonG concert needed such things). The group is clearly in top shape and back from long holidays from Planet Gong and this DVD might just make a perfect intro if you are a rookie looking to investigate the mad world of the Pothead Pixies. The band rips through a selection of classic track from those four seminal albums (although I think the album You is a little under-represented), staying very close to the spirit of the tracks but also altering them a bit to meddle in few tracks, hence the changed titles of some tracks.

Simply one of the best possible introduction to Gong and its bizarre mythology, this is a must for most gong fans, even for this old geezer who has seen them live some 8 times in the last decades (not counting the many solo tours from different long-time members). One of the better Classic Rock DVD in this category.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |


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