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4.7 out of 5 stars28
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 4 October 2010
For years fans of the BBC's Top of the Pops and the Old Grey Whistle Test have had to scrabble around trying to find past performances of their favourite artists on these two flagship music shows. For so long they have had to make do with bad You Tube clips or 'best of' DVDs or videos that maybe featured one song from those artists buried amongst, well....a 'bunch of other stuff'. Crumbs from the king's table indeed.

It's therefore with a breath of fresh air that I see this release for one of the most iconic artists of all time. And let's face it, Blondie fans don't exactly have a wealth of riches available to them - that 30th anniversary release of Parallel Lines is shockingly poor. If record companies want to know how an album of such stature should be released, they should look here: Love (Omnibus Edition).

So what do you get on this release? Disc One, the audio disc comprises the complete (?) gig from New Years Eve 1979 at the Glasgow Apollo (see Amazon's track listing above). Of even more interest is the second disc, the DVD. After all, this is Debbie Harry. Tracks 8 to 18 here are from the same Glasgow gig, as shown on the OGWT live at the time, and in various edited forms on minor satellite channels since then. Available on DVD before, it's good to see it re-released here in its fullest available form. Also included is a superb 3-track OGWT session from 1978, never completely released before.

The full rundown on the DVD is:

1. Denis (TotP Feb 1978)
2. Fan Mail (OGWT Mar 1978)
3. (I'm Always Touched By) Presence Dear (OGWT Mar 1978)
4. Detroit 442 (OGWT Mar 1978)
5. Picture This (TotP Aug 1978)
6. Sunday Girl (TotP Dec 1979 Christmas Special)
7. Dreaming (TotP Dec 1979 Christmas Special)
8-18. Dreaming through to Sunday Girl (OGWT Glasgow Dec 1979) see Amazon listing above.

I have one small niggle. For the reasons given above, I just feel this deserved to be more of a compendium. How about that stunning (albeit lipsynched) performance of Presence Dear from Top of the Pops in May 1978 (that had me transfixed as a little boy)? Or that excellent BBC documentary 'One Way or Another' that now appears on BBC4 every so often. Their inclusion would have rounded the package off more comprehensively. Maybe I'm too much of a completist to expect all this. It still is a cracking release and for me, went down as an essential purchase as soon as I saw it. Just don't expect visuals comparable to today's quality!

It remains to be seen if far more artists will find their material from these 2 shows released on DVD in the near future. Go on BBC, you know you want to.
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on 4 January 2011
I don't really need to provide too much detail as that's been done in other reviews of this. What I would like to say is that its really good to be able to see the footage of this great band in the 70s and experience them as they were then.

Sound quality is very good, its a very live recording so naturally imperfect but there's a great energy about the Glasgow gig and its a lot of fun. Video quality is decent for the era as well.

As a fan, enjoyed this a lot and the audio CD gets played quite often. If you're not a fan but interested then its well worth taking a look.

It isn't compressed pop though so to enjoy Blondie 'at its best' some kit which will cover the low frequencies properly would help, especially in the live recordings like this one.

I think, in general releases of gig footage or audio of this type is definately a positive and not just for Blondie. Many people would like to look or listen to older footage and recordings of their favourite bands or relive great gigs of the past.
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on 5 October 2010
Alright, it could have been so much better but, I've wanted a product like this in my hand for thirty years and finally I have it. On CD Blondie show what an
amazing live band they are, the energy is not unlike a Ramones concert here. We finally get the full unedited
Glasgow Apollo Concert from 31/12/79 that was broadcast live on Radio 1 and BBC2 on TV featuring Debbie Harry at her all time best. Every track bar one from their new album at the time 'Eat To The Beat'
gets the live treatment here. Debbie screams the house down on 'Victor', a rare full length live version
of 'Eat To The Beat', a live cover of the Four Tops 'Seven Rooms Of Gloom', James Brown's 'I Feel Good' gets covered too. To end we hear 'One Way Or Another'
complete with Debbie swearing like a trouper about the dimensions of the Apollo stage. The concert is a joy to finally hear from start to finish. If only the cameras had filmed the full show.

On DVD we finally get Blondie's first five iconic television appearances for the BBC in all their glory.

Denis (Top Of The Pops 23rd February 1978)
The band's debut appearance on BBC's 'Top Of The Pops' with Debbie in that long red shirt and the band looking so young and full of New York cool.
Debbie commands the stage and even directs the cameraman
as she acts like a seasoned pro in their first major UK TV appearance.

Old Grey Whistle Test (7th March 1978)
Blondie perform 3 tracks from their new album 'Plastic Letters'. 'Fan Mail', '(I'm Always Touched By Your) Presence Dear' and 'Detroit 442' with Debbie
jumping around in that big beige jumper and thigh high boots to match. Debbie's sweet chit chat inbetween songs is intact. The highlight of this DVD is
having these three songs finally released on DVD.

Picture This (Top Of The Pops 24th August 1978)
Just prior to their 'Parallel Lines UK Tour 1978' Blondie perform on Top Of the Pops for their second appearance on the show. Debbie wears yellow and has a
Polaroid hanging around her neck.

Christmas Top Of the Pops (25th December 1979)
Blondie perform 2 songs in the studio for the annual christmas edition of Top Of The Pops. 'Sunday Girl' has Debbie looking effortlessley cool in her
shades and 'Dreaming' has Jimmy Destri having fun throwing tinsel over Debbie's head.

Old Grey Whistle Test 31st December 1979
This is the full BBC broadcast of Glasgow Apollo Concert. What a shame the BBC cameras didn't start filming at the start of the concert. But we do see
Blondie at the peak, playing a storming live set that remains one of the greatest Old Grey Whistle Test
New Year Specials ever. Blondie's live rendition of 'Pretty Baby' remains a favourite from this show.

A must have set for any self respecting Blondie fan.
Support it, buy it and we might get a volume 2 if we're lucky!
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on 4 October 2010
Back on New years eve 1979 I sat in front of the tele with my trusty cassette player in hand recording the old grey whistle test on beeb2(sorry bbc for late breach of copywrite fess up) my eyes glued,my mouth open in awe at the spectacle on the tv the beauty of D H and the sound the boys were producing, ok frankie had a prob with the amp on atomic but that added to the liveness of it all! for years that cassette got played and played in my car cassette player and amazingly to today it still survives! but now it will get a well earned rest And I can be 16 again in glorious dvd and cd quality, If you want to see the lady that paved the way for all the ga ga's that followed then this is the perfect pressie for yourself and to think next year Blondies Panic of Girls studio cd will be out you realise true class never fades away!! it just radiates!!
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on 21 February 2011
Well, going back to 1979 I was a tad too young to be bitten by the Blondie bug, but, in 1980 when I heard Call Me on the wireless and rushed out to bye the 7" single from Our Price my life changed, and since then I've been hooked!
Oh how the years have flown by, but still the music of Blondie and the stage presence of Deborah Ann are still as captivating and as crisp as it has ever been, and this collection captures that magnificently.
I missed out on Blondie live the first time around but I have been lucky enough to have seen the (newer) band twice within the last 5 years. Having the chance to compare the "now" and "then" Blondie (thanks to this amazing footage) the only thing that seems to have changed is a couple of dress sizes.
The live CD & DVD is amazing; Debbie belts out the original classics like she has been waiting to sing them live for years, and with the classic Parallel Lines line up behind her she shyly fills the stage with innocence and lust.
As for the OGWT performances, the only thing I noticed that was missing was an incredibly rare performance of Rip Her to Shreds which the BBC found deep in the vaults many years ago and broadcast on BBC2 apologising for the poor quality of the recording due to deterioration of the master tape. All that aside, first class!
This, along with all of my original vinyl 7" & 12" singles, albums, video cassettes, tee-shirts, badges, photos, posters, concert ticket stubs, Debbie doll (and that's not adult), CDs, DVDs, and (breath in) Clems drum stick, will one day become a shrine to my youth, and oh how that shrine deserves to be to the original rock Goddess to whom all the following and future Platinum Blondes strive to equal.....sit back, relax, and.....ENJOY!
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on 4 November 2010
This 2 disc package has a lot to recommend -

* the audio version of the classic Glasgow 1979 concert here is COMPLETE - rendering the incomplete, bitty releases of it on various official and unofficial CDs redundant
* great sound on the above gig + the TOTP appearances in particular
* DVD version of the above gig in one package
* compiles key Blondie recordings with the BBC at a great price.

Niggles? Few if any, bar...

* the DVD version of the Glasgow concert is in mono - it would not have been that hard to sync up the stereo audio version, which is present in this package.
* I have noticed the mention of a lip synched performance of I'm Always Touched By Your Presence Dear in another review. I probably did see it, as I remember the song went through my head at school, but I was very young and I cannot remember what it looked like - would have been nice to see that, maybe it's been lost.
* The booklet does not contain any sleevenotes or anecdotes...considering the task at hand - compiling the bulk of Blondie's recorded work for the BBC, while not essential, some reminscences from those involved would have been nice to read.

I have long had the audio of the Glasgow concert from 'under the counter' sources, I always felt it was a classic gig. It it true that the band go up a notch in the latter half of the gig (say from X Offender onwards, the point from which the original Radio 1 broadcast started), however I am finding the earlier portion of the gig is growing on me more as I listen to this again.
In particular I'm finding I'm loving Accidents Never Happen and Living in the Real World - tracks I rarely played on the expensive, and faulty bootleg I had which contained these until now.
It's also a pleasure and surprise to find out there were encores at the gig which didn't even reach the bootlegs I've heard - namely I Feel Good (the James Brown song) and One Way or Another. I have heard better performances of them by Blondie, but I am very satisfied to get the gig complete now, not spread across bootlegs of varying quality.
Thankfully, while sometimes official releases of gigs that have circulated from FM broadcasts sometimes disappoint by over polishing the sound, that is not the case here - the sound is clear while also retaining the power and feel of the original broadcast version.

The original OGWT 1978 session is a pleasure to see and here - well lit and Debbie in a nice brown dress, the sound is good but mono, but that's to be expected - it's a nice full sound here though, pleasing to the ear.

The TOTP appearances have the original studio songs dubbed on in stereo - I expect these were mimed to at the time so this seems appropriate.

To me the Glasgow gig DVD version is just a bonus, and to be honest one I'm less worried about. It's not brilliantly filmed or well lit, mono sound, and in my opinion a bit of a bad hair/bad dress day for Debbie. I do and have listened to a lot of Blondie (collected many bootlegs and argued for a box set of their live performances too), so the "look" is not everything to me, I must say in my defence.

Overall, any niggles I have with this release or steam rollered over by the positives : the biggest for me being the fantastic full length audio version of the Glasgow concert.

It is very interesting that the BBC - together with Chrysalis have brought this out.

My hope is that this will continue to happen with high profile artists -
I hope the BBC can help with -
David Bowie - The Omnibus "Cracked Actor" TV documentary along with an audio version of the LA concert featured in the programme.
The Fall - the BBC broadcast several concerts on radio, in particular from 1989, 1992, 1993 and 1995 - a little box of these would be nice.
The Kinks - the full Golders Green 1974 radio concert (rather than excerpts) would be nice, as well as the brilliant television concert from 1973, ending with the wonderful version of The Village Green Preservation Society with a brass band!
Robert Palmer - aside from the recent Hammersmith 83 release, Robert recorded televised concerts in 1990 and 1992 for the BBC as well as appearances on the Jools Holland programme to promote the "Drive" album.

In the meantime thanks to all concerned for this CD / DVD release - it's a credit to all concerned.
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on 22 November 2015
Recorded in Glasgow on New Years Eve there's a real feelgood factor to this concert, and the sound quality is very good.

Featuring songs from Eat to the Beat and Parallel Lines means this a strong set and the quality of the playing is top notch. The DVD is a bonus and will take you back down memory lane reminding you that Blondie had a rather unique approach to fashion which quite often only Debbie Harry pulls off!

If you're a Blondie fan this is for you, if not it's as good a place as any to see what all the fuss was about. Top Band.
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on 9 January 2014
there is some great footage of various BBC shows here but some footage looks like it was lip-synced ...please BBC, release more historical stuff that you must have in the vaults.... it is always great to see these bands in their prime.....
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on 30 October 2014
Audio quality is good considering how long ago when it was recorded. Picture quality was reasonable especially during close up views of the band, maybe that was due to stage lighting that was available. However the video element gave the viewer / listener a good idea how Glasgow Apollo was like as venue for major acts that played there before it was sadly demolished. I personally only attended I gig there before it shut and there was a great atmosphere when I saw Phil Collins playing there. The only minus point is that whole concert is made available on DVD.
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on 18 October 2010
I have just seen this cd/dvd set while out shopping in Ealing Broadway. It is a good set, but not everything in the BBC archives by Blondie. I know of at least one more performance and that is Heart Of Glass performed on Jools Holland's Later show around the time of their No Exit album. I'm guessing they performed another song on the show but I'm unsure as the Heart Of Glass clip is on a 'Later - Giants' compilation dvd I have. I guess they wanted to keep this release focused on Blondie's late seventies era. Still, they could've easily added the 'Later' material as bonus videos. It's a shame they didn't hence the four star rating.
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