|Nektar: Sunday Night At The London Roundhouse (Remaster / Reissue)
Posted by Duncan Glenday, SoT Staff Writer on 2005-03-01 18:37:09
When first listening to this CD, the initial impression was - who is this - it aint my Nektar! If you're familiar with Nektar's work, you'll have to put aside any thoughts of their carefully crafted studio albums. Instead, reach for that old tie-dye, cast your mind back to the psychedelic '60s and let the vibe wash over you. Oh - the songs are familiar - but if someone told you that Grand Funk had played a live concert with 2 hours of Nektar covers, you'd quickly get an idea of what to expect. The material is pure Nektar but the delivery is pure Woodstock-era hard-edged psychedelic rock.
The live show was in London, in November 1973, as Nektar's career was peaking. The venue was an abandoned railway shed converted to a stage to become one of London's most important 'underground' venues hosting luminaries like Cockney Rebel, Brian Eno, Van der Graaf Generator, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Hawkwind, Blondie, the Ramones, Soft Machine, the Rolling Stones and The Who. The show was recorded and the LP released in 1974, but only recently were the full complement of tapes found in Bellaphon's archives. Eclectic Discs's now-legendary remastering magic was applied and the full 100+ minute show was put to this double-CD re-master / 2005-re-issue, which will transport you right into the heart and particularly the soul of that era's rock music.
Many of the tracks are significantly expanded from their original LP lengths - for example, a perennial favorite of Nektar's live shows - "A Day In The Life Of A Preacher" - was 13 minutes on "...Sounds Like This", but here it jams on for nearly 20 minutes. The keyboard / lead guitar jams are long, head nodding blocks of music that mercifully escaped an editor's scalpel and you can almost see the audience rocking in unison to these gems. The songs will be familiar to those who know Nektar's catalog, but you'll hear lines that are almost completely new to you. Mo Moore's bass in particular is very prominent in many tracks, providing a rollicking, almost jazzy backbone for the other instruments to build on. Listen to the first part of "Odyssey" and see if you can decide whether it's rock or fusion.
The vocals are pitchy on Remember The Future, but that's about the only real criticism For the rest - this CD is about the quality of Nektar's live musicianship, the clarity of the recording and the ambience of the event.
So fall into the groove of Sunday Night At The London Roundhouse and enjoy it for what it is - a throwback to a time when rock was an integral part of daily life. Recommended to all Nektar fans - and anyone with a hankering for London's equivalent of the Woodstock era.
1 King Of Twilight (12:10)
2 Desolation Valley (9:02)
3 A Day In The Life Of A Preacher (19:49)
4 Summer Breeze (3:04)
5 Cast Your Fate (5:40)
1 Remember The Future Part 1 (19:12)
2 Odyssey (11:12)
3 1-2-3-4 (14:36)
4 Remember The Future Part 2 (5:13)
5 Woman Trouble (6:09)