When it comes to releasing quality video documentation of classic acts of the rock era, Eagle Vision pretty much brings the goods time and time again. Case in point here with Berlin-A Concert For the People from long running British progressive rock band Barclay James Harvest. Back in 1980, the band were booked to play a huge outdoor concert in Berlin in front of an estimated 250,000 ecstatic fans, easily the largest audience the band were to ever play for. Their single "Berlin" was a huge hit there a few years earlier, prompting the band to take their full set of new & old favorites to a large stage and give the fans a great big 'thank you' for all their support.
As history has it, though the band played a full two hour set that was covered by a professional camera & sound crew, problems plagued the entire evening and only roughly 60 minutes of footage was able to be recovered. It's a real tragedy, as what is left, while a great document of a band that was really clicking on that evening in front of a loving audience, really leaves you wanting more. Even the song that the whole event was set up in celebration of, "Berlin", was lost, and you only get to hear snippets of it as a soundtrack during the beginning of the film and end. What is included on the DVD is quite good however, and will be a must see for fans of the great BJH. Some of the more upbeat, later period numbers like "Loving is Easy", "Sip of Wine", "Nova Lepidoptera", and "In Memory of the Martys" fit in well with classics such as "Child of the Universe", "Life is For Living", "Hymm", and the gorgeous prog staple "Mockingbird". This piece is reason enough to seek out this DVD, as the band is spot on and delivers a stunning version of this melodic, emotional, prog rock classic. The line-up for the Berlin show was original members John Lees (guitar/vocals/keyboards), Mel Pritchard (drums), and Les Holroyd (bass/vocals/guitar/keyboards), along with Kevin McAlea (keyboards/sax) and Colin Browne (keyboards/guitar/bass/vocals).
As an added bonus, the DVD also includes 5 promotional videos put together when the band were releasing their excellent Time Honoured Ghosts album in 1975. Featuring the original line-up, including Wooly Wolstenholme on Mellotron, Hammond, and other keyboards, this shows the early version of the band in all their prog rock glory. It's amazing how many bands of the 70's made similar promotional films, or videos, years before they became hip with the introduction of MTV.
Though many will probably frown over the fact that so much of the Berlin concert is missing, let's just be glad that half the show was saved on video for us to enjoy. That and the bonus features make this a welcome DVD for Barclay James Harvest fans of all ages.
2.) Loving Is Easy
4.) Sip of Wine
5.) Nova Lepidoptera
6.) In Memory Of The Martyrs
7.) Life Is For Living
8.) Child Of The Universe
Time Honoured Tales – Original 1975 promotional film:
4.) One Night
5.) Beyond The Grave