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A jaded performance by Alvin Lee
on 2 June 2017
I clearly differ with all the other reviewers on this combined CD/DVD set! I would start by admitting that I struggled whether to award two or three stars and finally opted for three, simply because there is so little video footage available of Alvin Lee performing live in his prime.
This set was recorded in 1978 after Lee and his original TYA unit had been split for around 4 years and Lee had followed a number of ultimately abortive solo projects. This resulted in his apparently not wanting to include any TYA tracks in this set though the inevitable "Going home" (in a pretty tired version to my ears) and "Choo Choo Mama" (which has a truncated start halfway into the song as though an advertising break had intervened) are included.
The wish to avoid TYA material leads to some pretty dire other choices in the set - "Ain't nothing shakin' (but the leaves on the trees)" an old 50s rock 'n' roll hit by Eddie Fontaine is turned into a tedious extended blues jam and similar blues workout jams which anyone who went to rock concerts in the '60s and '70s will recognise in style and performance ("Help me" and "Bass Boogie" being prime examples) fill out the set.
A perfunctory "Hey Joe" and a trio of rock 'n' roll standards ("Rip it up". Sweet Little Sixteen" and "Roll over Beethoven") follow to complete the set none of them adding much to the originals. Lee's playing is described as "raw" by another reviewer but at times "ragged" reflecting the the man doesn't look in the best of condition would be my description. Support is provided by the "Ten Years Later" back up of Mick Hawksworth on bass and Tom Compton on drums. While both went on to tour for a few years and record a few non-hit releases with Lee, they are here at best perfunctory and add little to the songs and music performances.
If only the Rockpalast TV show had been around when Lee and the original TYA has done their major European tours in the early '70s, something amazing based on the LPs then released might have been captured. As it is, this set is largely filler and not evidence of Lee at the top of his game for me.