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Various artists – Three Yardbirds In The Hall (Beano-023)

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Three Yardbirds In The Hall (Beano-023)

Three Yardbirds In The Hall is a four disc set with the first ARMS concert and the Prince’s Trust benefit concert the following night.  These are notable for being the very first time that the three guitarists from the Yardbirds, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page shared the stage and the shows were discussed at the time as historic for that very reason.  It is ironic, however, that none of the other surviving Yardbirds were invited (Chris Deja, Jim McCarthy and Paul Samwell-Smith) and no Yardbird songs were performed either night.

The rest of the musicians were the same for both nights except that Ian Stewart, pianist for the Rolling Stones, plays only in the Prince’s Trust show.  Joining the guitarists onstage were:  Andy Fairweather-Low on guitar, Steve Winwood on organ and vocals, Charlie Watts on drums, Simon Phillips, Jeff Beck’s drummer, Kenny Jones on drums, Bill Wyman on bass and Fernando Saunders, Beck’s bassist, Ray Cooper was a late addition on percussion, Chris Stainton, James Hooker and Tony Hymas on keyboards and Ronnie Lane himself vocals on “Goodnight Irene.” 

Beano uses new audience tapes for both shows from the same taper, both in similar sound quality.  The ARMS show is well known due to the now out of print video of the event.  This new recording presents the complete show in proper sequence including the between song banter.  And the Prince’s Trust show has circulated before in a poor audience recording, but this new tape source represents a significant improvement.  The virtue of this release is that we have both gigs complete and in one package.

ARMS Benefit Concert – September 20th, 1983

Disc 1 (69:28):  Introduction, Everybody Ought To Make A Change, Lay Down Sally, Wonderful Tonight, Ramblin’ On My Mind/ Have You Ever Loved A Woman, Rita Mae, Cocaine, Man Smart Woman Smarter, Hound Dog, Best That I Can, Road Runner, Slowdown Sundown, Take Me To The River, Gimme Some Lovin’

Disc 2 (77:51):  Star Cycle, The Pump, Goodbye Pork Pie Hat, Led Boots, People Get Ready, Hi Ho Silver Lining, Prelude, Who’s To Blame, City Sirens, Stairway To Heaven, Tulsa Time, Wee Wee Baby, Layla, Bombers Moon, Good Night Irene

The September 20th gig was a benefit to raise money for Ronnie Lane Appeal for Action Research into Multiple Sclerosis (“ARMS”).  The audience tape is very good and clear with nice dynamics.  There are tape flips after “Man Smart Woman Smarter” and “Gimme Some Lovin’” but no music is lost. 

The idea was to raise funds for hyperbolic chambers in an unorthodox treatment of the disease.  Regarding the gig’s origins, Lane stated in an interview on November 3rd, 1983:  “Where was I?  Boo [Lane's girlfriend] had the idea for the gig. We set up a meeting of people that have MS, to see if we could get any weight from people around here. We invited Glyn Johns to come along, and he couldn’t make it so he sent Ian Stewart, y’see? Ian Stewart came along and we had the talk, and the man from ARMS who sort of know all about these things– and knows how to speak properly, as well… not like me… He obviously convinced Ian Stewart, cuz Ian Stewart went back to Glyn Johns and said, ‘I think they’re onto something here, and we should help Ronnie.’

“So Glyn Johns came out of the woodwork and said that he would get the gig together that Boo had envisioned. He contacted Eric Clapton and everybody and that’s how the… Now, then, it was originally for the Hammersmith Odeon, but Eric Clapton’s manager said, ‘if you’re going to get this band together, Eric’s got to do a gig for Prince Charles. Really, if Eric’s gonna do it, I think it’s in order that this band does one for Prince Charles, also.’ So, that was agreed, and the Albert Hall was booked. That’s how it ended up from the Hammersmith Odeon into the Albert Hall.  Of course, it was a great success. I mean, a supergroup!!  There was never a supergroup like that one! And it did very well! And, would you believe, they all enjoyed themselves so much.”

Eric Clapton starts off the show with a six song set beginning with “Everybody Ought To Make A Change,” the Sleepy John Estes cover which he recorded for his latest album Money And Cigarettes.  “Ramblin’ On My Mind” is played as a medley with “Have You Ever Loved A Woman” but the real highlight is a spirited version of “Rita Mae.”  Clapton introduces percussionist Ray Cooper beforehand and it is he who takes over the song with his work.

Andy Fairweather-Low has his spot with “Man Smart Woman Smarter.”  Steve Winwood is given a six song set beginning with a cover of “Hound Dog.”  “Slowdown Sundown” was his latest single, being released as a b-side to “Valerie” from his solo album Talking Back To The Night.  His set ends with ”Gimme Some Lovin’” which he sang for the Spencer Davis Group.  There is a twenty minute intermission before Jeff Beck hits the stage with his band.  

This is Beck’s first live appearance in almost two years, having participated in the Secret Policeman’s Ball in March 1981.  He is joined by his backing band Simon Phillips on drums, Tony Hiams on piano, and Fernando Sawyer bass on bass.  “Star Cycle” was the opening number on his previous tours and “The Pump” had taken its place as one of the all time great rock instrumentals by this time.  It was also featured in the film Risky Business.  He resurrects his cover of “People Get Ready,” which he used to play with Beck, Bogart & Appice a decade previous.  Andy Fairweather-Low handles vocals for this but Beck himself sings ”Hi Ho Silver Lining.” 

Jimmy Page receives the loudest ovation of the night when he comes on stage and he plays the shortest set.  Most of the songs are from his latest work, the soundtrack to the film Death Wish II.  Steve Winwood helps on vocals on ”Who’s To Blame” and “City Sirens.”  “Stairway To Heaven” is played as an instrumental.   The other guitarists come back on stage for ”Tulsa Time,” “Wee Wee Baby” and a rough and ragged version of “Layla.”  Ronnie Lane handles the vocals for the final two songs, “Bombers Moon” and “Goodnight Irene.”  Although there is some tightness in the performance there is a lot here to enjoy. 

Prince’s Trust Benefit Concert – September 21st, 1983

Disc 3 (57:41):  Introduction, Everybody Ought To Make A Change, Lay Down Sally, Ramblin’ On My Mind/ Have You Ever Loved A Woman, Rita Mae, Cocaine, Man Smart Woman Smarter, Best That I Can, Road Runner, Slowdown Sundown, Take Me To The River, Gimme Some Lovin’

Disc 4 (65:19):  Star Cycle, The Pump, Goodbye Pork Pie Hat, Led Boots, People Get Ready, Hi Ho Silver Lining, Prelude, Who’s To Blame, City Sirens, Stairway To Heaven, Wee Wee Baby, Layla, Good Night Irene, broadcast report (bonus track)

The Prince’s Trust was established in 1976 by the Prince Of Wales to raise funds to help youths who are from “disadvantaged background.”  The first benefit concert was held in 1982 and featured first Prince’s Pete Townshend, Phil Collins, Midge Ure, Madness, Robert Plant, Gary Brooker, Kate Bush, Kid Jensen, Mick Karn, and Ian Anderson.

1983 would be the second such benefit concert.  An older, mediocre sounding audience recording exists and has been released before on the misnamed ARMS Concert 21 (Craze Entertainment CR-2813-2).  The new tape source on Three Yardbirds In The Hall is very good to almost excellent.  It is louder and slightly more clear than the previous night.  There is cut in “Slowdown Sundown” omitting the last part of the song but is otherwise complete.

So in front of Prince Charles and Princess Diana in the royal box the musicians play a slightly shorter set than the ARMS set the previous night.  Clapton drops “Wonderful Tonight” from his set, although his performance sounds much more powerful than before.  Noteworthy especially is the frantic “Rita Mae” and a version of “Cocaine” that explodes.  Fairweather-Low follows with “Man Smart Woman Smarter” to offer a reprise in the program.  Steve Winwood’s set is cut short by dropping “Hound Dog” and beginning straight with “Best That I Can.”

The second half of the show begins with Jeff Beck’s set.  Some sources claim that Jan Hammer joined him onstage, but no mention is made of this.  Beck is the standout performer, not only for his playing but for the startling contrast his music has with the others.  The mostly instrumental set with it jazz-fusion tinge is simply spectacular.  Jimmy Page’s set also sounds much tighter than the previous evening.  “Tulsa Time” and “Bombers Moon” are dropped from the finale.  “Layla” is much tighter than the previous evening’s ragged performance.  The show ends with Ronnie Lane singing “Good Night Irene,” the mc thanking the Prince and Princess of Wales, and a radio broadcast of the event.  Overall Beano did a great job in presenting these two new tapes of two fascinating performances. 

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Various artists - Three Yardbirds In The Hall (Beano-023), 2.5 out of 5 based on 4 ratings

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