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Gentle Giant: Artistically Cryme

Artistically Cryme, another in the set of new Gentle Giant "official bootlegs", is a 2 CD set taped September 19th, 1976 at the Olympen Sparta in Lund, Sweden. It's a shame that the sound quality is rather poor throughout this release, as the band was really firing on all cylinders musically and vocally. The biggest problem is with the audio levels of the vocals of Derek Shulman. You can barely hear him half the time, or he is just plain muddy. It's especially annoying when he is talking to the audience between songs, as it comes across as a few minutes of dead air. Mix in lots of drop-offs and ocassional distorted sections, and you have basically a mid-level bootleg in terms of quality. But...

Gentle Giant live were like a raging inferno, full of outstanding highs and majestic lows, crackling with powerful energy or quietly smoldering. If you crank up the volume loud enough and don't mind the rough sound, this is one helluva great prog show! The band rips though the snarling, complex stop/start of "So Sincere", complete with a distorted, bubbling guitar solo from Gary Green and John Weathers' incredible drum extravaganza. The classic album In a Glass House is represented by a medley of "The Runaway/Experience", performed at breakneck pace of course. The tour was for the album Interview, and the cuts "I Lost My Head" (paired with "Peel the Paint"), "Timing"(complete with dual violin solo), and the title track, are all played to perfection. The keyboard work of Kerry Minnear is stupendous throughout, as he whips out his arsenal of Moogs, electric and acoustic piano, and organ for a furious and symphonic onslaught. Other standout tracks include the bouncy "Just the Same" from the Free Hand album, the mysterious and pastoral "Funny Ways", and the prog rock masterpiece, the medley "Excerpts from Octopus."

So, I'll chalk up 3 1/2 stars for this CD. For serious Gentle Giant fans, this is a must have, as it is pretty much representative of a full Interview show from 1976, as opposed to the official (and awesome) Playing the Fool album, which omitted a few songs. The performance here is excellent, if you can get past the choppy sound quality.

Added: March 11th 2003
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Voiceprint/Glasshouse Records
Hits: 7531
Language: english

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