In some ways this is a 'Renaissance Stripped' concert, as they perform without an orchestra, unlike their live U.S. album. To my ears at least, it also has a greater immediacy as a live album, with less of a 'cloudy' mix, and a greater sharpness to the vocals and instrumental delivery. Annie Haslam's vocal range and lustrous voice remains as beguiling as ever, whether it be 'Ocean Gypsy' or 'Ashes are Burning', and as another reviewer noticed, the octave leaps do raise the hairs on the back of your neck. Guitars, keyboard (filling in impressively with synthesiser for the absent orchestra), and drums come across as a tight, ensemble unit, graced by Annie's soaring vocal range. Again to these ears, 'Sheherezade' seems far livelier and more enjoyable than on their U.S. tour. Impressive live recording, which captures the atmosphere with little sacrifice of sound quality. A solid recommendation.
Live recordings from this era fall into two catgories: ones that trigger memories, or gems waiting to be discovered. For me this is the former, 'cos I was there! Just listen to Annie's voice at full welly...! The songs are good, the playing is spot on, the feel is there - this was a good year for Renaissance - there weren't that many!
Seriously, folks, if you like this sort of music, you owe it to yourself to include this in your collection. There aren't many like this.
I followed Renaissance since the late 70's and when I saw the CD I thought it would be a bit of nostalgia to get it. I was concerned about the recording as I have heard duff "live" jobs before. I should not have worried. The tracks (every one) are fresh and clear - more like their Live Album at Carnegie Hall. Naturally this takes me back but also shows what a truly outstanding band they were. There seemed to be less "chat" with the audience from Jon Camp than I remembered from similar gigs- basically it's "let's get on with the music".
I have always been mad on renaissance, ever since Prologue, but i have only seen them once. it was an end of tour gig and they were all pissed and did not play one song properly. They were supporting Wishbone Ash, as ever, but every time they were due to Sheffield City Hall, they never showed up, except that one time. So, it is nice to hear this band only recording, that was how i wanted to hear them, big gigs with orchestras are alright, once you know how the band sounds live on their own. still, this is not a great recording as say, Carnegie Hall, but it is band only and for that, i rate it highly.
I first came across Renaissance on BBC's "Sight and Sound in Concert" and immediately fell in love with them. I thought I had all the albums from Prologue onward, so nice to find one I had missed. This live recording from Nottingham University dates to around the same time as the Sight and Sound, and is every bit as brilliant.
If you're not too sure about Renaissance then you wouldn't go far wrong in selecting this disc. If they brought out a ton of live discs I'd still buy them just to hear the dulcet tones of Miss Haslam. Recorded at Nottingham University 24-01-76. Check out also "Dreams & Omens" as well as "Carnegie Hall". Go get 'em.
I saw Renaissance several times live in the Seventies. This concert is a faithful reminder of the strenght of their songs and musicianship. Sound quality is good throughout. It's a shame they never became more popular in the UK.