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3.98 | 93 ratings | 23 reviews | 33% 5 stars

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Live, released in 1976

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Lagrima (2:31)
2. T.N.K. (Tomorrow Never Knows) (6:14)
3. East of Asteroid (4:59)
4. Rongwrong (5:03)
5. Sombre Reptiles (3:26)
6. Baby's on Fire (5:03)
7. Diamond Head (6:21)
8. Miss Shapiro (4:20)
9. You Really Got Me (3:23)
10. Third Uncle (5:12)

Total Time 46:32

Line-up / Musicians

- Phil Manzanera / guitar
- Brian Eno / vocals, keyboards, synthesizer, guitar, tapes
- Lloyd Watson / slide guitar, vocals
- Francis Monkman / Fender Rhodes, clavinet
- Bill MacCormick / bass, vocals
- Simon Phillips / drums, rhythm box

Releases information

Recorded in the Queen Elizabeth Hall on the Island Mobile, 3rd September, 1976.

LP: Island L-36061

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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801 801 Live ratings distribution

(93 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(33%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(52%)
Good, but non-essential (10%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

801 801 Live reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Dick Heath
5 stars Phil Manzanera escapes the restrictions of Roxy Music with a real gem and a great line-up of guests. In fact, the album is more a reunion of Manzanera's former band Quiet Sun and other friends. Musically this steers through the overlapping territory between prog/rock/pop, played extremely well (and remember this is live album from the early 70's). Tunes range from the covers (brilliant work outs of the Kinks "Really Got Me" and Lennon's/ Beatles "TNK" - Phil Collins' variant is sad in comparison), tracks from the only Quiet Sun album, early Eno and Manzanera's first, "Diamond Head". One of many surprises is that Eno sings, and with his pleasant even if limited half octave range, adds something to the better known tunes. Eno provide some of the keys, but the main man here is Francis Monkman, between Curved Air and Sky. Bill MacCormack on bass is between Quiet Sun and Matching Mole. And this is the first album on which we were exposed to the talents of Simon Phillips the drummer (who now ranks with Dave Weckl and Dennis Chambers as one of the most in-demand sessionists), there is nothing to fault - and is he 18 years old here? Phillips gives a thundering underpinning to all the tunes here.

The very best of Manzanera. Other of his albums may have individual tunes that surpass in quality, (e.g. Robert Wyatt singing "Fronteria" in Spanish) or have guests like Godley &Creme or the Finn brothers (between Split Endz and Crowded House), but for a complete and satisfactory package provided on every track of one album and from a tight line-up, "801 Live" cannot be beaten.

Review by soundsweird
4 stars I save 5-star ratings for favorite all-time albums; otherwise, I'd award it to this classic. I only wish I had picked up the re-release CD with extra tracks. These guys were firing on all cylinders; I hate to say it, but there MUST have been some studio tweaking and/or re- recording done on this, because it just sounds too good to have been done live. Many of the familiar tunes are played at a faster tempo than the studio versions, and I dare say that some of the covers rival or even surpass the originals. I much prefer this version of "Rongwrong" to the one on Quiet Sun's "Mainstream". The Beatles cover "T.N.K." got a lot of airplay in the 70's, and I heard many people say that they preferred it over the original. I also remember some magazine (Rolling Stone?) stating that it was the best- sounding live rock album ever made at that time. With all the great musicians aboard and all the great songs, you cannot go wrong buying this album.
Review by erik neuteboom
4 stars Here is, between the floods of Dream Theater and Franz Zappa reviews, an amazing, often overlooked progrock album. All eleven songs on this live record are based upon the sparkling chemistry between the different musical styles from six outstanding musicians.The one moment the focus is on wonderful, very moving electric guitar play from Phil Manzanera ("Diamond head"), the other moment, you're blown away by agressive bass work and cynical vocals ("Miss Shapiro"). The cover "You really got me" (from The Kinks) has been given an extra dimension, it sounds very lush and elaborated. The final song "Third uncle" is a very dynamic goodbey, what a rhythm-section featuring Simon Phillips and Bill MacGormick (also vocals). The contribution on keyboards from Eno and Francis Monkman are often exciting and Lloyd Watson (also vocals) delivers some great slide guitar. AN EXCELLENT ALBUM!
Review by Sean Trane
3 stars 3,5 stars really!

Impressive line-up for this second version of Quiet Sun. Yes Manzanera and McCormick rejoin to do yat another album after the superb QS's Mainstream, but augmented with Monkman (Curved Air), Phillips and Eno (already present on Mainstream). However this album is not quite as inspired as Mainstream (which was anything but...) as the Canterbury music as been replaced by a solid pop with prog leanings, still with that great Manzanera fuzz guitar, but little else..... except for the reprise of Rongwrong which IMHO was the worst QS track albeit abriged from 9 to 5 mins.

The not easily recognizable the Beatles cover starts things off rather interestingly and is quickly followed by the best track on the album East of Asteroid (easily the most powerfull track on the album) but Eno composition take over with the good Sombre Reptile , and the not that good Baby's on Fire both reminiscent of Roxy. Another highlight is Diamond Head but the Kinks reprise is clearly one of the worst I heard, and the album finishes on a good note with Eno's Third Uncle rather power poppish.

Not indispensible and certainly less interesting than Quiet Sun , this album is still worth a spin. Too bad the following and last album was a bit of a bore and lost all energy.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
4 stars Excellent live album by this one shot project led by legendary prog icon Brina Eno. I was caught by surprise when I saw it being released in Brazil: I could not believe so many stars in the cast! Phil Manzanera (Roxy Music), Francis Monkman (Curved Air) and Bill McCorminck (Quiet Sun) in the same line up? Wow! And the music inside does justice to their fame! Also I must note that although drummer extraordinaire Simon Philips was not very well known at the time (he was only 18), he was already one of a hell fine prog drummer (any doubts just listen to the wonderous East Of Asteroid and see how few drummers could actually pull off the kind of drumming this song demands).

801 live may not be perfect and I think the CD version would benefit with some extra tracks (I believe they played more than the 10 songs included on the original vinyl release). But itīs great! There are many highlights: their interpretation of the Beatles Tomorrow Never Knows is absolote awesome, one of the best Beatles covers I heard. Sombre Reptiles is better thean the studio version and I onlyt wished they played a little longer (I loved the way is started from merging at the end of the previous track, Rongwrong). Diamond Head and Third Uncle are other ones that I like the live renditions here more than the original ones.

The only real downside of this album is their version of the classic Kinkīs track You Really Got Me. But stil I think itīs allright, it doesnīt bother me since itīs a short one. 9 out of 10 is an excellent score anyway! The album may be a little short for tadayīs standards, but it is worth every note in it.

Very well done, played and produced. What a night for the fortunate ones who were there! Highly recommended

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
5 stars I recall that sometime in the eighties, in the record store I managed, I read in one of the mainstream music journals that this album was "thr greatest live album ever recorded". Is that so? Not in my opinion. But for an album like this to garner the praises of one of those industry stooges was quite a feat.

Despite the high praises mentioned above, this is one fantastic album. The band on this night was incredible, led by spectacular performances by the rhythm section of Simon Phillips and Bill MacCormick. The songs are great, nearly all much better than the studio originals. And even the cover songs, The Beatles' Tomorrow Never Knows and The Kinks' You Really Got Me are show stoppers.

My only complaint is that instead of playing the Quiet Son songs East Of Echo and Mummy Was An Asteroid, Daddy Was A Small Non-Stick Kitchen Utensil (there's a song title for you) in their entirety, they blended them into East Of Asteroid.

I own both the original and expanded editions. While the extra songs Golden Hours and The Fat Lady of Limbourg are good, they are not quite as good as the rest of the album. But I'm not complaining.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Great live debut of short-lived Phil Manzanera (ex-Roxy Music) project. Almost all-stars line- up,including Brian Eno,Bill MacCormick (Quiet Sun), Francis Monkman (Curved Air,Sky),Simon Phillips (played everywhere) and Lloyd Watson on slide guitar.

From the very first sounds you feel what a great music is! Very rich bass line, melodic, but never too sweet songs, very intelligent Manzanera's guitar line. Mid-tempo songs with perfect vocal. A bit dreamy atmosphere. The music itself is mix of bass driven jazz fusion, some art- rock and some early Eno (before ambient) pieces. Alltogether sounds fantastic!!!

Recorded live, album looks more as studio recording. Sound quality is perfect and music complexity is at the level of studio work. Lp's side A is absolute gem. Second side is good, but not so concentrated. But all album is great!

For me this work, near UK debut album, is two albums illustrated greatest progressive rock level somewhere in late seventies.

Review by Slartibartfast
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam
4 stars I will not ever forget my first encounter with this album. It was on 8-track. Putting the medium aside it made a huge impression on me. I was just getting into Roxy Music and this one has Phil Manzanera and Brian Eno on it as the primary artists. If you don't care for Bryan Ferry's earlier vocal stylings, not to worry, he's not here. This is pretty much an Eno/ Manzanera affair. Eno is also very prominent and for the remastered version, there are extra tunes are from Brian Eno's solo albums.

You get a couple of covers. The Beatles Tomorrow Never Knows and the Kinks You Really Got Me done quite well. Brian Eno may have had enough of Roxy, but he kept working with Phil and they did make some really good music. This album was one of their best collaborations. When it comes to live albums where the tracks distance themselves from their originals, this one can't be beat.

"When things get bad, I can always turn into a cloud, if the wind will blow me there."

Review by Matti
3 stars Roxy Music guitarist Phil Manzanera had this short-lived side project with Brian Eno (ex-Roxy at the time). Others involved in the concert in the Queen Elizabeth Hall, September 1976, were keyboardist Francis Monkman (Curved Air, Sky), bassist Bill MacCormick (Matching Mole, Quiet Sun) and dummer Simon Phillips. These names make one expect a lot, but I can't help I don't share the enthusiasm with previous reviewers here. [There was one thing I felt totally unnecessary in the package I borrowed: it was an extended edition with an extra disc featuring the rehearsal (of the same set) in Shepperton Studios. Jesus, who cares. That of course shouldn't have affected to my reception of the live album itself, but it may have, in terms of frustration, having expected more of various material.]

Agreeably the repertoire is very many-sided, from Manzanera's biting guitar pieces and instrumental jazz-rock (mainly from his solo album which I haven't heard) to three ENO songs - already familiar to me, and IMHO not among his best - and two 60's rock covers ('Tomorrow Never Knows' and 'You Really Got Me'). On the other hand this diversity means some sort of directionlessness. Maybe I felt too strongly that this band lacks its OWN profile in material instead of taking stuff from here and there. Maybe they could have been called Phil Manzanera & Friends or something, if they were just a live project. It's inevitable that the other musicians - except Eno for his own songs - are in much lesser role than Manzanera in musical direction. For example I wished to hear more of Monkman's excellence.

Surely this is a noteworthy set if you dig Manzanera and live albums in general, but to me this was rather unnecessary; I'm not that much into live albums. Actually I would have preferred to hear the Manzanera solo album in question, or Quiet Sun, to find out what kind of music he makes outside Roxy Music. By all means don't let my attitude affect yours. By the way, also in this release is praised (4,5 stars).

Review by Sagichim
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Let's just play!!

It seems like phil manzanera and brian eno had a good time playing together in roxy music , so why not putting a new band together?? collecting some friends and musicians led to the rise of 801. before cutting their sole album this live show was released , and what a show it is!! it's a slight problem having a concert when you haven't really wrote any songs , so what can you do? if you are a talent bunch you can just play!! what ever you feel like.

So what's presented here is a mix of some cover songs ( tomorrow never knows , you really got me ), some of phil's songs ( diamond head ) and some quiet sun songs ( lagrima , rongwrong ). i'm not familiar with every song's origin but i know about half of them there are some great energies spent in this show and you can find a well organized band playing together . actually not all the songs are in the same high quality , but i'll have to mention T.N.K is good , turning the original song from psychedelic to a groovy energetic rock song, i really like the start , you can never recognize the song before the vocals join in. "east of asteroid" is a different jamy kind of version for "mummy was an asteroid..." out of the quiet sun album and is totally awsome!! "baby's on fire" , " diamond head" and "third uncle" is also to good mention with fiery guitar from manzanera great rhythm and great solos. i like the upbeat moments more than the slow parts which sometimes get me feeling not bored but waiting for something to happen , although "diamond head" is my favourite. "third uncle" ends this album with a great bang ,amazing stuff.

How much prog is it? i would say not prog at all but deffintely not straight forward rock . they are a highly skilled band with great driving enrgies , songs are with a slight jamy feel with good keys , amazing guitar and that's what makes it a prog related offer.

4 star is a proper rating.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars This was a Phil Manzanera side project that did three live gigs in August / September of 1976. This album captures one of those nights where the band was firing on all cylinders. And what a lneup ! The core of this band was in the QUIET SUN band that released their one record the year before (1975) and included Manzanera, Eno and MacCormick. That same core lineup was also in Manzanera's first solo album called "Diamond Head". Of course Eno and Manzanera were in ROXY MUSIC together as well earlier. Add Simon Phillips on drums, Francis Monkman (CURVED AIR) on Fender Rhodes and Lloyd Watson an slide guitar. All of these songs were previously known to me which was cool. Three and a half from "Diamond Head", one and a half from QUIET SUN's "Mainstream", three from three different Eno solo albums and then two covers. One from THE BEATLES and one from THE KINKS. I have to say the Fender Rhodes and bass work are fantastic, and i've always liked Manzanera's guitar work. Eno is on vocals (and other things) and does a really good job.

I should mention that most of these songs blend into one another. "La Grima" from "Diamond Head" features Manzanera doing his thing on guitar and it's impressive. "T.N.K. (Tomorrow Never Knows) is THE BEATLES cover and they make it sound different enough from the original to make it interesting. The rhythm is catchy and how about the bass playing. Killer sound before 5 1/2 minutes as it gets more intense. "East Of Asteroid" combines two songs. One from "Mainstream" called "Mummy Was An Asteroid..." and from "Diamond Head" "East Of Echo". The drumming is prominant early on then it settles but not for long as the guitar comes in lighting it up as the drums stampede. It settles again as we get some raw guitar and electric piano. So freaking good. "Rongwrong" is from QUIET SUN's "Mainstream". Atmosphere and a beat to start and it will close the same way. Vocals and a fuller sound inbetween. "Sombre Reptiles" from Eno's Another Green World" is next and it sounds amazing when it picks up and gets fuller.

"Baby's On Fire" is also from ENO but from "Here Comes The Warm Jets". Lots of energy and the guitar rips it up 2 minutes in. "Diamond Head" has some tasteful guitar early on then it all gets heavier. Love the electric piano 5 minutes in. "Miss Shapiro" is from "Diamond Head" as well. Just a killer instrumental intro. Vocals before 2 minutes. Love the guitar in this one. "You Really Got Me" is a cover of THE KINKS popular song and well done. "Third Uncle" ends it from Eno's Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)". It sounds like PINK FLOYD until it kicks in to an uptempo groove. The guitar is killer. Vocals after a minute. Lots of energy and the bass is incredible.

For me this is a high 4 star album. Highly recommended to Eno, Manzanera and ROXY MUSIC fans.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I am not normally a fan of live albums, nor am I much of a Phil Manzanera fan, but this release did happen to capture some one-of-a-kind magic and we in prog world are so much the luckier for it! A true "all-star band" with the likes of Phil Manzanera on guitar, Brian Eno singing, playing keyboards, synthesiser, and guitar, while also running tapes, Lloyd Watson on slide guitar and background vocals, Francis Monkman on Fender Rhodes and clavinet, Bill MacCormick on bass and background vocals, and Simon Phillips on drums and "rhythm box." A lineup like that alone deserves some attention, but then to produce the quality of recorded songs--from a live format!--is something short of miraculous! The opening free-form guitar instrumental lets the listener know who's in charge here (Phil) but when it bleeds into their version of The Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows" ("T.N.K."), one cannot help but be surprised and impressed. In fact, this is still my favorite version of the song. The band is so tight, with Eno's sublime vocals and the keyboard flourishes constant and textural. Awesome. "East of Asteroid" is a heavier, jazzier instrumental with Phil on display but all in support playing with full vim. (And vigor). Simon and bill's work, in particular, in the bridges impress me the most. As East abruptly stops the band bleeds directly into the slower, synth-based "Rongwrong" with amazing sensitivity and control. It's just amazing that an ad hoc band can come together with this kind of timing. Eno's singing here sounds as if it comes straight off of his "Before and After Science"--though there are couple of pitch issues here, but, then, it's a live performance: mistakes happen. Still, a good song. "Sombre Reptiles" is again a bleed over from the previous song with programmed drum and tape samples carrying the song while percussionists play over the top and then the JAPAN-like guitar-driven melody takes over as the driver. Bass, drum, and clavinet play here stand out on this three minute long Latin groove. Side Two starts with a funked up version of Eno's classic "Baby's on Fire." Here we get to hear Manzanera playing some decent lead--alternating with Lloyd Watson's slide guitar--taking on the Fripp and Paul Rudolph parts from the original. Great energy! Next the album transitions into Manzanera's "Diamond Head" via Francis Monkman's clavinet and Rhodes play. Though Phil is a favorite on many prog lovers' top guitar lists, I've never been able to join the club, and the flaws on this album--even here, on his own song--are perfect illustrations as to why. His timing while using the effects he uses (here, very STEVE HILLAGE-like) is often way off. Nice melodies, I admit, but not a great guitarist, IMO. Still, a nice song, though rather simple and flat in structure and dynamics. "Miss Shapiro" is a straight on rocker (complete with prominent cowbell!) with a kind of Skynyrd "What's that Smell" sound and feel to it. While it works, based on the nice lead guitar parts, it's the awesome Eno vocal that makes this one a keeper. Then it transitions directly into the band's version of The Kinks' "You Really Got Me"--a stripped down, multi-voiced affair that has a different, almost tongue-in-cheek, punk-rock RAMONES-like feel to it. The finale is called "Third Uncle" and it starts out sounding like a Roger Waters or Pink Fairies affair, rocking with increasing speed and abandon, it turns into a fun jam with all band members treating it as if it's their In retrospect, it's Side One of this vinyl album that I always gravitated to with Side Two receiving infrequent visits. But, that Side One is one heck of a side! And the second side, albeit more straightforward rock, is still of amazing caliber and creativity. Five stars; a masterpiece of live prog and one of the few great, inventive, and refreshing live all-star jams I've ever encountered.
Review by tarkus1980
4 stars Phil Manzanera and Brian Eno always brought out the best in each other, so it shouldn't be a tremendous surprise that they'd make a really good live album together around their primes. Roxy Music was on hiatus, and Brian hadn't done much lately except for helping Manzanera out on a solo album and on another side project (a band called Quiet Sun), so when they got the urge to form a temporary band and play a small handful of shows, there was nothing to stop them. 801 (named after the chorus to "The True Wheel," obviously) only played 3 shows, but they decided to record the last one, and an album made from the recordings was released a couple of months afterwards. It's often praised as one of the absolute greatest live albums of all time, and while I definitely wouldn't go that far, it's one that I enjoy and respect plenty.

If there's any significant issue with the album, it's that the band was a little short on material, and the album (about 48 minutes, and even the deluxe edition, which I don't have, is only about an hour) reflects this. Despite the fact that I file this under Brian Eno in my collection, three of the tracks are from Manzanera's solo album Diamond Head and two are based on material from Mainstream (the Quiet Sun album), and while the Manzanera- based tracks are good on the whole, they're not quite compelling enough for me to call them great. The best tracks from this group are "Diamond Head," an atmospheric and kinda jazzy instrumental (where the guitar is heavily treated to sound like a synth), and "Miss Shapiro," an up-tempo borderline glam-rock number with Eno's vocals going like it's 1974 and he's making Tiger Mountain again. The opening "Lagrima" is basically just an extended introduction (not a bad one, but it's clearly just walk-on music), "East of Asteroid" is a fairly interesting dose of astral-prog (not much like anything from solo Eno or from Roxy Music, that's for sure) that features some nice twists and turns, and "Rongwrong" has guitar and synth parts that make it sound like a leftover from Another Green World but doesn't have an especially compelling vocal part. Overall, this chunk isn't bad, but it doesn't really seem like the main feature.

The rest of the album consists of three solo Eno tracks and two covers. The big surprise from the Eno group is "Sombre Reptiles," which sounds essentially the same as in the original and yet much more fluid and lively, and it works much better in a live context than I'd have ever imagined. "Baby's On Fire" is great but not quite as great as the original (no matter how good Manzanera's solo is, it can't live up to The Greatest Guitar Solo Of All Time), but the closing "Third Uncle" is a blazing glam-rock monster, with Eno snapping out the lyrics in his inimitable way and Phil firing out his solos and riffs in a way that once more reminds me why he's one of my favorite guitarists. If you can listen to this version of "Third Uncle" while jogging and not feel compelled to run a mile-per-hour faster than usual, I don't understand you.

Meanwhile, the covers are fantastic. The first one is of "Tomorrow Never Knows," where only the basic vocal melody is preserved (with Eno singing) and the music is almost like a space-jazz deconstruction of the original, and while it doesn't have all of the goofy tape loops and sound effects stuffed into it, what's here is great. The other cover is of "You Really Got Me," coming out of "Miss Shapiro," with Eno's synth bloops working in perfect tandem with the growling guitar riffs, and the moment where the crowd is faded into the mix (the crowd is usually mixed completely out) and you can hear them going nuts is intoxicating.

All in all, the material isn't perfect, but it's really good overall, and the production of the album (for various technical reasons this is one of the best-sounding live albums made to this point) makes the good material sound really great. Any serious fan of Eno should own this, and it's a great reminder of how much material with Eno on vocals could rock out back in the day.

Review by friso
2 stars 801 Live (1976)

This band with Phil Manzanera (Roxy Music, Quiet Sun, solo, later Divid Gilmour) and Brian Eno (the electro pioneer) recorded a live album with material from the different member their groups. It is often hailed as one of the better recorded live albums of the seventies, but I'm not that impressed to be honest. I was mainly interested in the Quit Sun tracks, which is one of my favorite progalbums. Furthermore I was thinking about investigating the Manzanera albums under his own name, of which the track Diamond Head is on the tracklist.

I've listened to the record a couple of times and I must admit it is a bit of a dissapointment. I like the Quiet Sun tracks and Rotwang improved quit a lot, but most of the other tracks are way to poppy for my tastes. Especially the tedious 'Baby's on Fire' and the poorly sung 'Miss Shapiro' are track that really want me to raise the needle. Having that said, the rhythmical section of the band sounds really tight and the good moments have a great amount of energy in it. The guitars of Manzanera sound great.

Conclusion. Perhaps best enjoyed when you are a fan of Roxy Music and Brian Eno. Properly recorded seventies crossover prog record with strong instrumental tracks and weak songs. Two and a halve stars.

Review by VianaProghead
4 stars Review Nš 209

In 1976, taking a break from his duties in Roxy Music while that art-rock group went on hiatus, guitarist Phil Manzanera assembled a group for three-off concerts. Choosing in some very heavy friends, Manzanera dubbed the group 801, after a lyric from a song by the group's vocalist, one Brian Peter George St. John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno. Yeah, I'm talking about that guy who is more shortly known as Brian Eno, the guy self-described as 'non- musician' but which is subsequently responsible for some of the music's most critically lauded productions like U2, Talking Heads and Devo.

The 801 group was an extension of Manzanera's not very well known but great fusion group Quiet Sun, which quietly issued one marvelous album ''Mainstream'', but that suddenly died. By the other hand, few realized that it also featured the pre-ambulatory Brian Eno, one of the 20th century's greatest musical figures, along with Robert Fripp. As Quiet Sun released only one album in 1975 and died in the same year, 1976 saw, somehow, 801 rising from the ashes of that band.

The line up on this live album is Phil Manzanera (guitar), Lloyd Watson (vocals and slide guitar), Brian Eno (vocals, keyboards, synthesizers and guitar), Francis Monkman (Fender Rhodes, piano and clavinet), Bill MacCormick (vocals and bass) and Simon Phillips (drums and rhythm generator).

So, with members drawn from Roxy Music who had decided to part ways, Manzanera and Eno, along with Quiet Sun and some friends, all together settled in for three legendary nights back in November of 1976, to the final show at London's Elizabeth Hall, giving the born to this new experimental prog rock project. The album took many people by surprise, especially because 801 were formed for this live outing for the first time. Their only studio album, ''Listen Now'' was released only in 1977. Besides, the album was released at the height of the punk rock revolution in the UK. So, the album wasn't a major commercial success, but it sold well throughout the world, particularly because it gained rave reviews from critics both for the superb performances of the musicians and for its groundbreaking sound quality.

On ''801 Live'' the arrangements were quirky and muscular. The dozen songs performed at their few live concerts were a mixture of solo material from Manzanera's and Eno's catalogues, plus some really out there covers in really out there versions. The tracks most often mentioned when discussing the album include the Beatles' 'Tomorrow Never Knows' (here dubbed simply 'T.N.K.') and a cover of the Kinks' 'You Really Got Me'. The instrumental interplay is exciting, and there's something for all lovers of slightly off kilter art-pop here. Francis Monkman's keyboards add a lot to the songs and the powerful and precise drumming of Simon Phillips set the stage for the rest of the drummer's musical career.

About the tracks, the selection almost obliterates their studio counterparts, especially in terms of tension and spontaneity. Manzanera's instrumental ''Lagrima'' opens the album. It's an ambient instrumental equal to anything on ''Another Green World'', that stemmed from his solo debut studio album, ''Diamond Head''. This goes on into ''T.N.K (Tomorrow Never Knows)'', a six-minute plus reinterpretation of the climax to ''Revolver'' that was ''Tomorrow Never Knows'' of The Beatles. It's one of the best Jazz Fusion songs I've ever heard. ''East Of Asteroid'' opens with a wild collision of speedy drumming and keyboards before a wild guitar comes in, slipping from slick prog to avant gardness at will. ''Rongwrong'' is a lovely song performed by Eno on lead vocals, evoking a similar feeling to a charming ditty like ''I'll Come Running''. It was written by the Quiet Sun's drummer, Charles Hayward. ''Sombre Reptiles'' shifts out of the Eno's 1975 album ''Another Green World''. This is much groovier than the original version of Eno. ''Baby's On Fire'' having the immediacy of punk rock, but has a refined sensibility with its carnival-like motif, charming English vocals and heavy handed treatments from Eno. Manzanera's ''Diamond Head'' lets him explore territory between Eno and Pink Floyd. ''Miss Shapiro'' is another lost pop song with Eno at the helm. This is a better song than the original version, too. Fans of The Kinks should appreciate a raucous rendition of the ''You Really Got Me'', one of the best versions I've ever heard. In a similar vein is ''Third Uncle'' with a starting bass line reminiscent of ''One Of These Days'' of Pink Floyd.

Conclusion: There are three versions of this fine album, the original of course, and what is referred to as the 1999 Reissue Collector's Edition with bonus material, and finally the Collector's Edition in 2009. ''801 Live'' was musically many things to many people that thought it surely stood at the crossroads or intersection of rock, progressive music, pop, and experimentational sounds. While Brian Eno was responsible for being the cosmic imager with an earthbound attitude, it was Phil Manzanera who was responsible for the sonic textures and direction of the music, coming off with a sophisticated and elegant album. This was an odd album to come out when it did, right in the middle of the 70's. All of which allowed this bit of cohesive wax to sound both refreshing and out of step. It even seems fresh to me even today.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars "801" was the name of Phil Manzanera's supergroup band that was created while Roxy Music was on hiatus in 1976. Originally, the other members involved were Lloyd Watson who was a session musician for Roxy Music's saxophonist's solo album provided vocals and slide guitar, Francis Monkman was the pianist/keyboardist for Curved Air and Sky, Brian Eno on keys and synths who was also with Roxy Music and of course well known for his involvement with U2 and his solo work, Bill MacCormick on bass and vocals who also worked with Manzanera in the past, and Simon Phillips on drums who had worked with 10cc, Jeff Beck, The Who and later with Toto among many others.

The bands first album would be titled "801 Live" and most of their albums would also be live recordings. For this performance, music would consist of songs from Manzanera's, Eno's and Quiet Sun's (of which Manzanera and MacCormick were members) albums. Rehearsals for the concerts would begin 3 weeks before the actual concerts, of which there were three all taking place at the Reading Festival in Norfolk on September 3. The final concert the band performed was the one that was used for the album.

The album begins with the arousing and introductory track "Lagrima" by Manzanera. This one is fairly short, but works effectively at getting the excitement going for the live crowd. This flows into a cover of The Beatles "Tomorrow Never Knows" called on this album simple "TNK". This is a decent cover that turns it quite effectively into a psychedelic jam and includes vocals which have been digitally enhanced, but not annoyingly so. Quiet Sun's "East of Asteroid" follows this and is a very good performance, again staying in a psychedelic style, but still quite accessible. Nothing on the album is really that far out in jazz or experimental territory, yet the album is still quite enjoyable. Charles Hayward's "Rongwrong" comes out of the previous jam and gives the album a more commercial aspect with vocals, and leaning more towards a pop sound. Then we get a selection from Brian Eno called "Sombre Reptiles", an instrumental with a mid-Easter flavor, but leaning more towards an experimental melody. The song fades at the end of side one.

Side two begins with a quick fade in with another Eno song "Baby's on Fire", a fast moving funky tune with some sarcastic sounding vocals (which fits the theme of the song). The sound is one of the main problems on this album with the sound not being well mixed and lacking depth, and that is most apparent on this track, but the guitar solos are pretty great which, in the original, were done by Robert Fripp. Manzanera's "Diamond Head", a melodic instrumental led by guitars and synths. There is a break at this point and one of the few places where you can hear the crowd. The heavy riff and cow bell from "Miss Shapiro" gets things going again on this rocking track with vocals. This leads into a familiar riff with a cover of The Kink's "You Really Got Me" where you can really hear the influence of Eno on the signature vocal harmonies added to the track. The whole thing ends with Eno's "Third Uncle" which seems to have been performed as a very rousing encore where the band really smokes on the instrumental ending.

The music on the album is pretty great, but the production is lacking on this album which brings it down a few notches. It would have been quite an amazing concert, however, from the sounds of it all. The interesting thing about the project is that it was currently activated again in 2020, and I'm not sure if that means a new album might be forthcoming. Missing from the original line-up is Watson, Phillips and Monkman. The new lineup consists of Phil Manzanera, Brian Eno, Paul Thompson (drums) and Andy Mackay (multi-instrumentalist), all four of which were part of Roxy Music. Bill MacCormick returns on bass and lead vocals. The most interesting addition is Mick Jones (from "Foreigner" and "Spooky Tooth") on rhythm guitar, keys and backing vocals.

"801 Live" was reissued in a collectors edition in 2009, which features two discs, the first being the September 3 performance with two more Eno songs added in, namely "Golden Hours" and "Fat Lady of Limbourg" inserted right where the break between album sides happens on the original release. The 2nd disc contains the same tracks, but this time is a rehearsal recording done in August 23, 1976. I haven't heard this edition, but would hope that the sound is much better. It is the sound of the album that brings it all down as the performances seem quite lively and exciting, but this is all mostly washed out on the original. The sound is bad enough to take the album from a 4 star down to 3 star rating. But, fortunately, the project would release further live albums for us to explore. This is an excellent project and performance that was unfortunately diminished by the lackluster recording.

Latest members reviews

4 stars WHAT A LINE-UP! Phil Manzanera - guitar (Quiet Sun and Roxy Music) Brian Eno - vocals, keyboards, synthesizer, guitar and tapes (Roxy Music and Fripp & Eno) Lloyd Watson - slide guitar and vocals (as solo artist support-act for Bowie, Roxy Music and King Crimson) Francis Monkman - Fender ... (read more)

Report this review (#3030389) | Posted by TenYearsAfter | Saturday, March 16, 2024 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This supremely talented band rose to the occasion in late summer 1976. Culled from their handful of live appearances, the festivities begin in pristine fashion with the Manzanera showcase "Lagrima". Accordingly, the melody dreamingly drifts into an updated Beatles cover "Tomorrow Never Knows". ... (read more)

Report this review (#1648154) | Posted by DePloy | Wednesday, November 23, 2016 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Short lived and fascinating, 801 burned briefly but brightly in the (northern) summer of 1976 then disappeared. The band brought together Brian Eno, late of Roxy Music, pal Phil Manzanera, Roxy guitarissimo, Simon Phillips (whose diverse list of drum credits deserves a dedicated article), Fran ... (read more)

Report this review (#972363) | Posted by Vinyl Connection | Thursday, June 6, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The year was 1978. My first year of college. Ah, the memories. One of those was being introduced to progressive rock, I'm sure like many, with my first introduction to Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon. But that's a different review. At some point, I don't remember when, where or why, I picked u ... (read more)

Report this review (#765084) | Posted by tboyd1802 | Tuesday, June 5, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars We are the 801...We are the central shaft... 1. Lagrima:::::::::::Opens the album with a train sound_perhaps the train from the Diamond Head album cover_which reminds me of the opening to David Bowie's Sation To Sation album released in 1976. Then Manzanera starts to play the solo, which is t ... (read more)

Report this review (#126084) | Posted by Jake E. | Saturday, June 16, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A live showpiece. How often do you see a band who issues a live album before issuing a studio album. Phil Manzanera (Roxy Music) and Brian Eno headline a group that includes the first appearance of Simon Phillips on drums, Francis Monkman (Sky) on Keyboards, Bill MacCormick (Manzanera's Quie ... (read more)

Report this review (#29456) | Posted by | Thursday, October 7, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The most interesting side project from Roxy Music guitarist Phil Manzanera, 801 played for a very short time, and 801 Live came forth. 801 Live is a captured performance of what they thought was the best night of the few gigs they played. Everything fell into place. Well, it would be surpri ... (read more)

Report this review (#29454) | Posted by | Saturday, September 11, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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