John Cale & Band: "Live" (Rockpalast 1983/84) CD Review ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

John Cale & Band: "Live" (Rockpalast 1983/84) CD Review

John Cale & Band: 'Live' (Rockpalast 1983/84) CD ReviewRock “stadium” shows are always a bit of a dicey proposition as rarely will a promoter select a cohesive lineup of bands whose music gels together. This two disc set of John Cale’s 1983/84 performances at Rockpalast start with his 1984 appearance and the other bands on the bill that night were Huey Lewis & the News, Chalice and Level 42. While both Huey Lewis and Level 42 were huge acts at the time, it seems like a very odd pairing with John Cale as the headliner.

With the 1984 show, John Cale took the stage at 3AM on the morning of October 14th and played an angry and raw seventeen song set. Allegedly, Cale was c*ked to the gills at the time he took the stage and he plays stinging and emotive versions of “Fear is a Man’s Best Friend” and “Streets of Laredo”. He totally deconstructs “Heartbreak Hotel” and “Waiting for the Man” and ends the set with a moving version of “(I Keep a) Close Watch”. It is a brilliant performance that shows that rock music doesn’t have to be bombastic to make an impact. While Cale’s setlist spanned his solo career to-date, this may be the only opportunity that one has to hear tracks from Cale’s 1984 release Caribbean Sunset, as this disc is still out of print. There are also two unreleased tracks that are part of the set – “Autobiography”, which I don’t think was played after the 1984 tour and a cover of The Doors’ “Love Me Two Times” (which is appended to “Pablo Picasso”).

CD1 (1984):
"Ooh La La"
"Model Beirut Recital"
"Streets Of Laredo"
"Dr. Mudd"
"Leaving It Up To You"
"Caribbean Sunset"
"The Hunt"
"Fear Is A Man's Best Friend"
"Heartbreak Hotel"
"Paris 1919"
"I'm Waiting For The Man"
"Mercenaries (Ready For War)"
"Pablo Picasso > Love Me Two Times"
"(I Keep A) Close Watch"

John Cale - vocals, guitar, piano
David Lichtenstein - drums
Andy Heermans - bass
David Young - guitar

The second show was recorded on March 6, 1983 at Zeche, Bochum and this performance was just John Cale solo with a guitar and piano. As compared with the 1984 Rockpalast show, Cale seems to be in a nicer mood and even talks to the audience here and there between songs. For this show, Cale has selected a mellower set of songs, which include a few from his first solo disc Vintage Violence. While this 22 song set starts out with a minimalist interpretation of songs from Cale’s back catalogue, the emotive power that dominated the 1984 show first starts to surface on “Guts” but Cale doesn’t starts building to a throat-shredding howl until “Cable Hogue” and, by the time he reaches “Fear Is a Man’s Best Friend”, his voice is completely raw.

CD2 (1983):
"Ghost Story"
"Ship Of Fools"
"Leaving It Up To You"
"Child's Christmas in Wales"
"Buffalo Ballet"
"Antarctica Starts Here"
"Taking It All Away"
"Paris 1919"
"Chinese Envoy"
"Thoughtless Kind"
"Only Time Will Tell"
"Cable Hogue"
"Dead Or Alive"
"I'm Waiting For The Man"
"Heartbreak Hotel"
"Fear Is A Man's Best Friend"
"(I Keep A) Close Watch"
"Streets Of Laredo"

John Cale