Live In New York 1975 is the latest in a series of 'official bootleg' recordings from Gentle Giant released on the Glass House/Voiceprint label. Recorded on October 3rd, 1975, at the White Plains Music Hall in White Plains, New York, this set features six songs, very indicative of the set list that Gentle Giant were playing at the time on their tour of the classic album Free Hand. The sound quality here is pretty good considering the source, and the band as always plays excellent.
After an opening keyboard blast (probably a tape of Kerry Minnear) the band come out and tear into the impossibly complex "Cogs in Cogs" from The Power and the Glory. That segues into one of their more charming pieces from earlier in their career, "Funny Ways", a real majestic number with vintage keys, violin, cello, acoustic guitars, vibes, and horns. As with almost every live recording of this song I have ever heard has sounded, this version is just stunning. The band then launches into their In a Glass House medley of "The Runaway/Experience", which becomes a real workout for guitarist Gary Green and keyboard player Minnear. Derek Shulman's vocals here are quite effective and full of whimsical qualities, giving these pieces a full-on British flair, but the rest of the band adds some nice backing vocals as well. Listen closely for some very muscular bass work from Ray Shulman and John Weathers' always nimble drum fills, which never fail to impress. Another visit to The Power and the Glory comes in the form of So Sincere, another complex number both musically and vocally, opening with Ray's violin dueling with Derek's vocals, then becoming a full rave-up for the entire band. The final two pieces come from the Free Hand album, the heavy rock of the title track and the upbeat and quirky "Just the Same", each one a classic in its own right. The sound quality of these two songs though seems to suffer a bit from the rest of the set for some reason.
All of these songs were all previously available on the CD Endless Life, which contained the full set from that night that also included "Proclamation", "On Reflection", "Excerpts from Octopus", and "Plain Truth", plus another show from California on the same tour. I'm not really sure why Voiceprint would release this seeing as the material is already available, and the fact that they didn't include the full show here is rather mysterious, which makes you wonder if these songs were actually from the White Plains headlining show or an opening act slot from another gig. A little track by track listening comparisons between the two CD's might have to be done to figure this all out. Despite these uncertainties, this is still a pretty smoking set from one of progs most respected and unique bands in their prime.
1. Cogs In Cogs
2. Funny Ways
3. The Runaway/ Experience
4. So Sincere
5. Free Hand
6. Just The Same