For some reason,"Viva!" is seldom noted in "Best-of" Roxy album lists,but it is a great sampler of the classic,ie pre-1979 band,minus Eno but plus Eddie Jobson. From the very begining,the volume of the audience chanting shows how up for it the crowds at these shows were."Out Of The Blue" shows the band's rock music chops,with a great Jobson solo.There's then an odd,slow-tempo "Pyjamarama",then the weirdness of "The Bogus Man".Another change of pace,with Andy McKay outstanding on "Chance Meeting",then Ferry,the backing singers and Manzanera blow out on "Both Ends Burning". The next three pieces,side 2 of the original vinyl,again change direction,with some great soloing on "If There Is Something",which starts off poppy,turns sombre,then ends up upbeat again.The highlight of most Roxy shows of this era,and this album,is "In Every Dream Hope a Heartache",perhaps the strangest love song ever,an ode dedicated to a blow-up doll.Ferry's delivery of the vocals and Manzanera's blistering solo are brilliant.It ends with "Do The Strand",great pop music in front of Roxy's Geordie hometown audience-"Arabs at oases/Eskimos and Geordies". Rumour has it that this was originally planned as a double album,as was the custom for live albums in the mid-1970s.The CD release has no extra goodies,but we can live in hope for the planned double album release sometime in the future,can't we?
The sound quality of this live album is actually very good - especially compared to other live recordings from the same time. It's quite easy to imagine yourself being at one of the concert venues while listening to this - which is great for all of us younger Roxy Music fans who weren't even born at the time. The album is vibrating with raw energy and the versions of the songs are different from the ones found on the studio albums, so it's definitely worthwhile to get this album.
This is my favourite Roxy album. I don't understand why it does not get mentioned as one of the great live recordings. There is so much energy on display and the sound is so much fuller than on their studio work. I bought this in the '70s and it still sounds vital.
This album can't be categorised as the official record of a legendary concert in the band's career, as its tracks are actually drawn from 3 separate gigs which took place between November 1973 and October 1975. That having been said, it still stands up as a powerful collection, showcasing a band at the peak of its powers. It was a bold decision (to say the least) to include the unarguably quirky For Your Pleasure heavyweights The Bogus Man and In Every Dream Home a Heartache, but the band pulls it off - they offer a moody contrast to the uptempo classics Pyjamarama, Both Ends Burning and a barnstorming finale in Do The Strand. Eddie Jobson and Phil Manzanera are both in virtuoso form, and the great Paul Thompson is as awesome as ever on drums. The bold Bryan yodels, dips and soars as only he can, and the overall package well hits the mark. Recommended.
This is simply awesome - only bettered as a live album in my opinion by Live At Leeds by The 'Oo. The rock-y songs rock harder than most bands today, yet there are beautiful, melodic moments in there too. If I had to criticise, it would be the annoying tape loop of the audience in between songs - I only say this because I've listened to this album literally 100s of times in the past 30 years!
I envy anyone who hasn't heard this masterpiece. A pity they could only fit 9 songs on there - it isn't a true testament to a full Roxy concert (hence the traditional gig closer, For Your Pleasure, being cut from the album due to its' length). And why they couldn't have made this a double album is beyond me!!
But nit-picking aside, this is among the best 45 minutes of music, live or otherwise, you're likely to hear. Unbelievable! And so much better than their patchy post-79 work.
Always pushing the boundaries of the term "rock", this live album of Roxy, circa the early years, is comprehensive listening for any fan of the genre (could Roxy ever be put into one, some might say). The line up had lost the "non-musician" Eno, but in my opinion Roxy had gained a greater artist in prog-rock and Frank Zappa guest musician Eddie Jobson, a talented multi-instrumentalist who added depth to the opener "Out of the Blue", the fiery electric violin solo being his. The band blast through "Pyjamarama", a little heard welcome addition, and then move onto the weirdness of "The Bogus Man" accompanied by subtle guitar work from Phil Manzanera and sci-fi synth from Jobson. "Chance Meeting" is low-key but still brooding especially Ferry's vocal styling and Manzanera's synth-guitar. From this explodes "Both Ends Burning", mighty, powerful and with the ever present powerhouse drumming from Paul Thompson (surely one of rocks greatest drummers). The only nag is the wail of backing singers "the Sirens" during the chorus, which almost ruin the song, but Manzanera sets the record straight with a blistering solo to close. "If There is Something" is a jam epic, with the space created for Thompsons drumming, Jobson's synth and violin and some magnificent trade-off's between Andy Mackays sax and Manzanera, who plays for his life to keep up. Perhaps greater than the original. If there is one song which is better live then "In every dream home a Heartache" is the one. Menacing, brooding and downright disturbing. Ferry and all the musicians clearly enjoy taking the opening section and dragging out its oppressiveness to the maximum. Synth and guitar touches add to the eeriness. Then the whole joint blows up when all the musicians go into overdrive and crash their way through the second section, wailing guitar and pounding drum fans listen up. This cracking album finishes on "Do the Strand" which lightens the atmosphere for a sing and dancealong and makes sure the album closes in style. A great addition to any collection, and goes to show Roxy Music had to be one of the most creative and ingenius bands around both in the studio and on the stage.
I hate "The best....." as it assumes you have listened to everything under the sun.I have a few live albums and mostly thought that they were for the fans to have in their collection. However. this is an incredibly exciting album with Paul Thompson (drums) being absolutely solid,driving and, in my opinion, fantastic. (not 'technical' but as part of a band perfect).my wife thinks Ferry can't sing and just talks in tune(still married)but the album is faultless.I am not a Roxy Music afficianado but there is not a duff track on 'Viva'.Try keeping still to "Both ends burning" for instance with the fantastic backing vocals counterpointing Ferry's languid style. (pretentious moi?) you will not be sorry for buying this!
I have never liked live albums much, there are only two that I consistently listen to, "Live Rust" and 'Viva Roxy Music" Both records offer better versions of the original studio recordings, "Viva" shows what a powerful live band they were, I also like that it's a bit rough around the edges and even verges on Metal at some points, a far cry from their later super smooth sound. Stand outs are Out of the Blue, Dream home and Pygamarama.
You won't find this one in the boxset with all the Roxy Music (studio) albums. Pity, because it's not only a very good live album, it is one of the better live albums of the seventies. The remastered CD-version sounds a lot better than the vinyl one.