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Caravan Live At Fairfield Halls - 1974 album cover
4.47 | 134 ratings | 13 reviews | 54% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
progressive rock music

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Live, released in 2002

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Memory Lain, Hugh / Headloss (9:27)
2. Virgin On The Ridiculous (7:14)
3. Be Alright / Chance Of A Lifetime (6:37)
4. The Love In Your Eye (15:23)
5. L'Auberge Du Sanglier / A Hunting We Shall Go / Pengola / Backwards / A Hunting We Shall Go (Reprise) (9:49)
6. The Dog The Dog He's At It Again (6:23)
7. For Richard (19:01)
8. Hoedown (5:58)

Line-up / Musicians

- David Sinclair / keyboards
- Geoffrey Richardson / viola
- Mike Wedgwood / bass
- Pye Hastings / guitar, vocals
- Richard Coughlan / drums

Releases information

CD Decca 8829022

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Fassbinder for the last updates
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CARAVAN Live At Fairfield Halls - 1974 ratings distribution

(134 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(54%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(34%)
Good, but non-essential (9%)
Collectors/fans only (1%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

CARAVAN Live At Fairfield Halls - 1974 reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
5 stars Yet another recording of the mid 70's (it was released as "best of caravan live "in France in the early 80's . If you should own only one live from them , get this one : "For Richard'" is simply stupendous and the rest is great too . The thing is that this line-up gelled particularly well for a long period although the bassist kept changing.
Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Canterbury in Croydon

All the classic early Caravan tracks are present, including "For Richard", "The love in your eye", "A hunting we shall go" etc. The recording quality is good, and the performance accomplished. For me though, there's nothing here which isn't as good if not better on the original studio albums.

If you're a fan of Caravan, this is probably worth having, otherwise, stick to the studio albums. For Caravan live, I would recommend the "New Symphonia" album, which sees many of the tracks orchestrated. Nice sleeve though!

Review by fuxi
5 stars If LIVE AT FAIRFIELD HALLS had been freely and universally available long before 2002 (when it finally appeared complete, in CD-format) it would probably be considered one of the great 1970s live albums. It contains eighty minutes of music which sound less messy than YESSONGS, less sterile than SECONDS OUT and less routine than BURSTING OUT. But let me be careful. I don't want to annoy people. My main purpose is to explain to you how adorable this album sounds!

First of all, FAIRFIELD HALLS reveals Caravan at the absolute height of their powers. The album simply rocks, and the band play much better than on the NEW SINFONIA album. The concert recorded was apparently Mike Wedgwood's first appearance with Caravan, but you could never tell. Wedgwood's bass has a nice fat sound, his playing is incredibly tight, and with veteran Richard Coughlan he makes one hell of a rhythm section.

Secondly, although the album features neither the vaudeville "Golf Girl" nor the band's best-known epic, "Nine Feet Underground", most other essential Caravan tracks are here, and they receive performances of the utmost warmth. I'll be the first to admit that, as a vocalist, Pye Hastings has his limitations (his singing never goes beyond mezzoforte), but what a range of lovely melodies does he get to sing, and how well does his fragile voice suit them! "Virgin on the ridiculous", "The love in your eye" and, of course, the immortal "For Richard" all sound delightful.

Caravan is often considered the most conservative Canterbury band, because their compositions are more straightforward and less intricate than those by Hatfield and the North or Henry Cow. You will 'get' them from the first time, and they never grate on the ear. FAIRFIELD HALLS contains lots of solos, and while many of them are similarly structured (starting off peacefully and gradually getting more intense), none of them fail to satisfy. David Sinclair proves himself to be one of prog's greatest organists and Pye Hastings (whose clear sound I love) does a superb job on electric guitar. But the concert's true hero is undoubtedly viola player Geoffrey Richardson, who underscores each sung melody with the most delicate arrangements, and who also builds up one instrumental climax after another. I adore Richardson's warm timbre, and I'm convinced he is one of Caravan's greatest assets. The only thing I regret about FAIRFIELD HALLS is the lack of a guest spots for flautist Jimmy Hastings. With one or two appearances by him this album would have been perfect.

Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This is an excellent live set of CARAVAN, which consists mostly of the songs taken from their masterpiece "For Girls...". The entire band is in full speed and Richardson is simply brilliant on his viola. Magnum opus "For Richard" is the highlight of the album containing all the best musical and performing abilities of Hastings, Sinclair and others. Simply, this is one of the best live albums ever!
Review by ZowieZiggy
4 stars My favourite studio album of the band is "For Girls".

Since this is a live performance from the promoting tour of this album, it is nothing but normal that I appreciate this one a lot as well. The recording of this live set is brilliant and the performance of the band is on par.

Such great numbers as "Memory Lain", and a great version of "L' Auberge Du Sanglier" are true highlights. Even if, like me, you are not deeply rooted in their discography, there is nothing to do. Just love this record.

The version of "For Richard" is of course splendid. Perfect violin and grand keyboards. A HUGE version of this excellent song. I am not a deep fan of "Caravan" but when such a performance is released, one just have to recognize the grandeur of it. The best "Caravan" live album, for sure.

I can only recommend this record to anyone who would like to get acquainted with the band. This is a magnificent journey into a dedicated part of their repertoire. Even if the audience participation during Hoedown is not the best Caravan experience you can get...

Four stars.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars 4.5 stars. This album was recorded at Fairfields Halls in 1974 just before CARAVAN embarked on their first tour of the USA. "For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night" was their latest studio album at this time and 5 of the 8 tracks are from that record. Great cover art by the way. The electric viola of Geoff Richardson really adds to their sound here.This recording really surprised me, it's almost a five star for me. The only negative for me is the final track "Hoedown" which I was never a big fan of anyway, but during this version it's taken up more with audience participation then the music itself. The rest is about as perfect as it could be.

"Memory Lain, Hugh / Headloss" is such an incredible track with the persistant bass, viola and charming vocals. Organ before 2 1/2 minutes with some excellent drumming 4 minutes in as viola rips it up. It changes after 5 minutes to the more uptempo second section. "Virgin On The Ridiculous" was never released on a studio album. Viola and drums to open before it settles with vocals. I can't stop smiling. It kicks in before 3 minutes with drums leading the way as viola and organ keep pace. "Be Alright / Chance Of A Lifetime" has a melancholic flavour to it and I love it. The guitar is great a minute in when the vocals stop. Vocals return as drums and viola continue to be relentless. The second part comes in before 2 1/2 minutes and is slower but still sad. Beautiful.

"Love In Your Eye" is from "Waterloo Lily". This is such a moving track. Nice rhythm 2 1/2 minutes in. Viola joins in then organ. Great section. Excellent guitar before 4 1/2 minutes. A calm with viola after 6 minutes. It picks back up with viola leading the way. The organ before 10 minutes is incredible.The guitar is back before 12 1/2 minutes ripping it up with the viola as the bass throbs. Just an amazing 15 1/2 minute version of this song. "L'Auberge Du Sanglier / A Hunting We Will Go / Pengola / Backwards / A Hunting We Shall Go (Reprise)" kicks in around a minute with viola and drums leading the way. The guitar before 2 1/2 minutes lights it up. It changes before 4 1/2 minutes as it calms right down and organ takes over. The tempo picks back up 8 minutes in to end it. I should mention that the original "Backwards" section was composed by Mike Ratledge, and the "Pengola" section was written by John G.Perry.

"The Dog, The Dog, He's At It Again" is opened with a funny story about how that song came about. This might be my favourite track on here. The vocals are so wimsical and the lyrics so humerous. The music is infectious too. Deep bass lines on this one. Organ before 2 1/2 minutes. Lots of viola throughout. "For Richard" was written by David Sinclair about his brother. It's from the "If I Could Do It All Over Again I'd Do It All Over You". This version is a monster at over 16 minutes in length ! The song starts to build after 4 minutes until we get this fantastic instrumental with killer guitar, viola and organ after 15 minutes.

If you like CARAVAN don't even hesitate, track this outstanding recording down.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
5 stars Although I can hardly describe myself as a Caravan fan, much less a connoisseur of the so called Canterbury sound, I was completely taken by this live album when I got it this weekend by pure chance. Recorded originally in 1974 when the band was touring to promote their For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Nigh album, it was only released in CD in 2002, with a superb remastering work. It seems this show was one of the first with new bassit Mike Wedgood (ex Curved Air) who had replaced original member Richard Sinclair. But he really seems to be in the band forever, as his playing here is simply great.

Live At Fairfield Halls is Caravan at its peak. They play a killer tracklist and the band is tight and inspired. Much credit should be given to another relative newcomer: viola player Geoffrey Richardson is rocking all over the place through the concert. Together with David sinclair´s fantastic job on the Hammond organ, he is responsible for much of the best individual perfomances. Their version of the much played For Richard is the best I´ve heard, but in general I found their perfomances an improvement over their studio counterparts, in my opinion. The crystal clear production and remastering makes you think the album was recorded yesterday with the latest technique available. You can hear every instrument in a very balanced level.

This live album has everything a music lover wants to hear: great songs played by a band that possess both the technique and the passion to make this a unique perfomance that fortunaltly was recorded for posterity.

A classic, a masterpiece of progressive rock music. Five stars with honors.

Review by Warthur
5 stars Easily the best Caravan live album, Live at Fairfield Halls captures the band seamlessly integrating new bassist Mike Wedgwood into their ranks. At the time the album was recorded, the group had been touring with the For Girls Who Grow Plump In the Night material for a good while, and this shows in the confidence with which they bring pieces such as L'Auberge Du Sanglier to the stage. Without the distraction of the orchestra on the New Symphonia, the band are able to simply concentrate on giving the material their all, which they do with gusto. Between-songs banter with the audience is preserved to give an authentic taste of the live Caravan experience. In short, this album absolutely did not deserve to languish in the vaults for as long as it did, and we should thank Decca for making it available to us at last in 2002. Along with If I Could Do It All Over Again I'd Do It All Over You and In the Land of Grey and Pink, I would say this is one of the essential Caravan albums - even more so than For Girls Who Grow Plump.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Quite simply, 'Girls that grow plump...' is a fantastic album, and in particular I just love the last track. To that end I've always wanted to find a 'live' version of it, and after a bit of research I found it! So, does it deliver? Well, the musicianship is first-rate, the same as listening ... (read more)

Report this review (#505364) | Posted by sussexbowler | Thursday, August 18, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This CD had been gathering dust in my collection, but Tarcisio Moura's excellent review of it a week ago made me dust it off and giving it a try. I have always known that this is a superb live album. Caravan is one of my favourite bands. But I have spent most on my recent times in PA on revi ... (read more)

Report this review (#267737) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Wednesday, February 24, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Live board of CARAVAN released in 2002 "Caravan Live At The Fairfield Halls,1974". Work that recorded live in fair field hall on September 1, 1974. This tour is debut a tour of Mike Wedgewood (Lead Vorcal is announced in the third tune "Be Alright"). Work composed of "For Girls Who Grow Plump ... (read more)

Report this review (#54337) | Posted by braindamage | Wednesday, November 2, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Creatively, Caravan were at their peak in 1971 ('In the Land of Grey and Pink'), but their performance got that extra that made Caravan my all-time favourite (Canterbury-) band with the introduction of the viola of Geoff Richardson in 1973. (Violins always improve prog music.) 'Live at Fairfie ... (read more)

Report this review (#21441) | Posted by Paul de Graaf | Sunday, May 15, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Everybody knows that all bands have a creative peak. It's nearly impossible to maintain a masterwork level constantly. Caravan probably had it in 1971 with In The Land Of Grey And Pink, with Richard Sinclair still in the band. But good bands also have a live peak, when their performances are nothing ... (read more)

Report this review (#21436) | Posted by | Thursday, January 15, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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