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Hillage, Steve: Paris Bataclan 11.12.79

It’s with increasing regularity that the Steve Hillage vaults have been plundered in recent years, with this 1979 show from the Paris Bataclan the latest in quite a line of live and vintage releases. Now, I can’t pretend to have been keeping up with these reissues, Hillage an artist I’ve always respected from a distance without ever really investigating too deeply, but if they and the rest of Hillage’s work is up to these standards, then boy have I been missing out. It helps that the sound, which has been remastered, is excellent, with the only real niggle I can find being that the crowd are quiet and therefore quite distant in the mix. However, with the band of Hillage (guitar, vocals), Miquette Giraudy (synths, vocals), Andy Anderson (drums), Paul Francis (bass) and Dave Stewart (rhythm guitar, glissando guitar, vocals) in incredibly tight form, that issue soon fades into the distance as you lock into what are some truly mesmerising performances.

“Earthrise” opens the set and already makes this release a must for fans, what with it being the only live performance of the song to ever be released. What it also illustrates is just how fiery and on it Hillage was this night, the man himself stating in the build up to this release that he was possibly at his guitar peak during this period, and on this evidence I for one cannot disagree. However, as alluded to above, he’s not alone, with the interplay between Hillage, Giraudy and Stewart off the charts in places. Add in an excellent rhythm section and you have a pretty fantastic live set captured for posterity.

Highlights come thick and fast, but for this non-expert, I simply can’t get enough of the quick fire run through of “The Fire Inside”, “1988 Aktivator”, “Crystal City” and “Activation Mediation”, which seem to dart by in the blink of an eye. That said, everything from “Open” and “Searching For The Spark” set not one foot wrong and as the encore is closed out with “Unidentified (Flying Being)”, you just know that the crowd, low in the mix though they be, have had a night to remember. Thankfully, we can all now share in those memories.

Track Listing
CD 1
1. Earthrise

2. The Fire Inside

3. 1988 Aktivator

4. Crystal City

5. Activation Meditation

6. The Glorious Om Riff

7. Day After Day

8. Getting In Tune

9. Palm Trees (Love Guitar)

10. New Age Synthesis (Unzipping The Zype)

11. Healing Feeling CD 2
1. Open

2. Saucer Surfing

3. Searching For The Spark

4. Definite Activity

5. It’s All Too Much

6. Castle In The Clouds

7. The Salmon Song

8. Unidentified (Flying Being)

Added: February 23rd 2024
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Steve Hillage online
Hits: 544
Language: english

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