I'm afraid this is the point where all rational thought (or sense of reasoning) goes out the window. I have just been perusing my cassette box(!) and discovered (again) this marvellous gem. Now, for me, Television in 1977 (the year I saw them supporting(!) Blondie at the Hammersmith Odeon - or indeed in 1978, when The Blow Up was recorded) is something approaching perfection (the equivalent of 67 Velvets, 75 Springsteen, 77 Clash, 79 Joy Division, you get the picture). Of course, the recording quality here is mediocre (at best) - bum notes played and sung permeate - but (equally of course) that's not the point. This is 85 minutes(!) of pure, unadulterated brilliance by the creators of one of the greatest albums of all time, and featuring the astonishing twin guitar attack of Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd.
Not surprisingly, the aforesaid Marquee Moon album features heavily in the material here (See No Evil, Prove It, Elevation, Venus De Milo, Friction, Marquee Moon) - the song versions are pretty close to the studio versions (with the exception of the extended solos on MM) and minimal comment is required on songs of this calibre. Not much can live with the Marquee Moon songs, of course, but the album does spring one or two surprises. Each of the other Verlaine songs (the title song, I Don't Care, Foxhole and Ain't That Nothing - the latter two from the Marquee Moon follow-up album, Adventure) are perfectly respectable. The 15-minute version of Verlaine's Little Johnny Jewel is something else entirely though and is for me the album highlight, containing as it does as brilliantly inventive a guitar solo as I have heard from (I assume) Verlaine, giving the song a feel somewhere between Sister Ray and John Coltrane.
But if you still need convincing on The Blow Up's merits, this album contains one of the greatest ever song openings (and, arguably, complete renditions), that of the band's cover of Knockin' On Heaven's Door - this is simply guitar playing of the most exquisite, sublime kind - rarely heard and (for me, at least) absolutely guaranteed to generate all manner of emotional response (goosebumps, tears, etc). There is also a less impressive (and, for me, unnecessary) cover of Satisfaction.
OK- the sound quality means that The Blow Up is never going to compete with Rock n Roll Animal for the mantle of greatest ever live album, but if you ever happen to come across a copy (cassette, CD, whatever) gathering mould in a 'record rack' somewhere (a steadily diminishing possibility, I admit) don't hesitate, just buy it.