Eclectic Entertainment is doing a fantastic job reissuing and remastering the old Nektar classics from the 1970's, and this double disc set, the essential Live in New York recorded at the Academy of Music on September 28, 1974, is no exception. This here's the complete concert, every last breath of it, sounding better than ever , with wonderful digi-pack packaging to boot. Dive in Nektar lovers, and savor the results!
The fact that this was Nektar's first tour of the USA, and that this show was broadcast over the radio thanks to New York's WNEW (then THE radio station for rock music), helped make this show all the more memorable, but how about the music? Well, many of their early classics were played, and even some tunes from the just released Down to Earth album, and the soon to be released Recycled.
The first CD contains a scorching rendition of part one of "Remember the Future", perhaps the best ever live version available of this song, with Roye Allbrighton's guitar work really shining throughout, as well as Taff Freeman's keyboard playing. There's the bouncy and fun "Astral Man" from the Down to Earth album, as well as the proggy tunes "Marvellous Moses" and "It's All Over", both in their early incarnations before they made their album debuts the following year on Recycled. Fans of the hard rock sounds heard on ...Sounds Like This will enjoy the bombastic riffs of "Good Day" (aah, that classic guitar & organ combo) , powerfully performed here, and including an especially passionate vocal delivery from Allbrighton. This disc closes with two more numbers from the Down to Earth album, "That's Life" and "Show Me the Way", the former an aggressive rocker that is fueled by Allbrighton's insistant guitar riffs and the driving rhythm section of bassist Mo Moore and drummer Ron Howden, the latter a more melodic piece that uncovers many layers and styles of the band.
CD 2 kicks off with the heavy rock of "A Day in the Life of the Preacher", a song from the ...Sounds Like This album that hints at a slight nod to contemporaries like Deep Purple and Uriah Heep with its muscular guitar work, raging Hammond organ, and wailing vocals. A Tab in the Ocean's brilliant "Desolation Valley" follows, echoing all sorts of powerful and majestic nuances, only to segue into part two of "Remember the Future", with Freeman ripping into a nimble solo that starts on the Moog, and then moves to Hammond, while Allbrighton lays down some funky rhythm guitar licks. Closing out this disc is the mind-numbing "Crying in the Dark/King of Twilight", which kick off the encores that also include "Woman Trouble" and a 50's medley that also has Down to Earth's "Fidgety Queen" thrown in for good measure. It's an exhaustive and exhilarating experience, and with the exception of missing out on Mick Brockett's light show, you feel as if you were there in attendance back in 1974.
Quite simply, this is one of the best live albums you can get your hands on, and if you have a SACD Surround Sound player, I'm sure the experience can be even more fulfilling. A mandatory, must-have release for Nektar fans and lovers of hard-driving prog rock.
2. Astral Man
3. Remember the Future, Pt. 1
4. Marvellous Moses
5. It's All Over
6. Good Day
7. That's Life
1. Show Me the Way
2. A Day in the Life of a Preacher
3. Desolation Valley
4. Remember the Future, Pt. 2
5. Crying in the Dark/King of Twilight
6. Woman Trouble
7. Medley: Johnny B. Goode/Sweet Little Rock and Roller/Blue Suede Shoes