801: Live Collectors Edition CD Review (Expression Records) ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

801: Live Collectors Edition CD Review (Expression Records)

801 Live Collectors Edition CD Review (Expression Records)The Collectors Edition of 801 Live is the crown jewel of the recent set of 801 Live CDs.

The original 801 lineup came together in 1976 for three shows. This release includes the complete recording of the last of the these shows, recorded at Queen Elizabeth Hall on 9/3/76. Similar to the 1999 reissue, this release includes the bonus tracks "Golden Hours" and "The Fat Lady of Limbourg" but this is the first time that the proper ending to set-finale "Third Uncle" has been released.

The original lineup of 801 featured Eno on lead vocals and Phil Manzanera on guitar along with an all-star prog-rock cast (many of whom played on Manzanera's Quiet Sun project and/or Eno's Here Come The Warm Jets LP) that consisted of Bill MacCormick (Bass), Lloyd Watson (Slide Guitar), Francis Monkman (Fender Rhodes/Cavinet) and Simon Phillips (Drums). The set list features material from Eno's solo projects, Manzanera's Quiet Sun LP Mainstream and his solo disc Diamond Head along with covers of The Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows" and The Kinks "You Really Got Me".

Over 30+ years have passed since the original recording of 801 Live and both the band's songs and quality of the recording sound incredibly vibrant and relevant by today's standards. The was one of the best sounding live albums when in originally came out on LP in 1976 (according to Wikipedia, this was due to the use of the then new Direct Injection technology where all outputs from the vocal microphones, guitar amps and others instruments (except the drums) were fed directly to the mobile studio mixing desk). This is one of those live shows where anything seems possible as the band moves from swirling psychedelia to Eno-driven deconstructionism to a off-kilter reworking of "You Really Got Me". The band then ends the set with an aggressively punked-up version of "Third Uncle" and more than likely leaves the audience exhausted after having been on this almost hour-long mind-blowing roller coaster.

What makes this Collectors Edition really special is the inclusion of a bonus CD that captures a live rehearsal from two weeks prior to the 801 Live show. The sound quality of the rehearsal is great and it captures the band working out their set in a loose and raw atmosphere. A number of songs are longer in length, with the most noticeably being Eno's "The Fat Lady of Limbourg" which runs for just over nine minutes.

There aren't many CDs, much less live CDs, that hold the test of time for thirty+ years but 801 Live Collectors Edition is a strong winner.

Expression Records