2 September 2008, gsparaco @ 8:25 pm
Into The Drama (Highland HL363/364)
De Montfort Hall, Leicester, England – November 24th, 1980
Disc 1 (60:44): Opening (excerpt from “Britten”), Does It Really Happen?, Yours Is No Disgrace, Into The Lens, The Clap, And You And I, Go Through This (drum intro version), “Geoff” solo (incl. “Video Killed The Radio Star,” “White Car”)
Disc 2 (64:36): We Can Fly From Here, Tempus Fugit, Amazing Grace, The Fish, Amazing Grace (reprise), Machine Messiah, Starship Trooper, Roundabout. Bonus tracks: Apollo Theater, Manchester, England – December 6th, 1980: Go Through This (bass intro version), White Car (a capella)
Into The Drama was released by Highland in 1999 and is their only title documenting the Drama lineup’s month long tour of England in the end of 1980. This is the first of two shows at the 2,400 capacity De Montford Hall in Leicester during the first week. The tape is good to very good with minor distortion present during louder sections. The audience are also quite vocal throughout the show in offering up their commentary of the action on stage. There are little cuts after “Clap,” “And You And I,” “Machine Messiah,” and “Starship Trooper” but is musically complete.
Trevor Horn’s voice was considerably more weak by this point and his performance suffers because of it. It further erodes his confidence and his attempts at building a rapport with the audience sound forced. After the introduction, “Does It Really Happen?” and “Yours Is No Disgrace,” he says, “It’s really nice to be here is Leicester. I lived in Leicester once, a long time ago.” Steve Howe’s solo spot “Clap” includes an interlude where he plays “Surface Tension,” his latest acoustic solo piece released on the previous year on his second solo album The Steve Howe Album.
“And You And I” is difficult to listen to and really begs the question why they kept it in the set knowing the difficulty Horn was having with the number? “Go Through This” is introduced as “something which is quite a lot less familiar. This is something we haven’t actually recorded yet as we only wrote it about four months ago.” The song on the US tour began with Steve Howe on guitar, but in Leicester it has a a slightly different arrangement. Highland dub this the “drum intro version” because Alan White starts the song off with the basic drum rhythm before Howe comes in. The song itself is perhaps this lineup’s hardest rocking song with Howe playing country picking melodies with Relayer-era interludes. It is a track that they might have felt didn’t really hold together well in the studio but made for a dramatic live piece (pun intended).
Squire really takes prominence during “Tempus Fugit.” In his solo he plays the arrangement of “Amazing Grace” he recorded during the Montreux sessions in 1977 along with “The Fish.” In later years Squire and White would develop this further as “Whitefish.”
Highland include two bonus tracks at the end of disc two. These are in very good sound quality from the December 6th concert at the Apollo Theater in Manchester. “Go Through This” is listed as the “bass intro version” since Squire begins the song, followed by White on drums and Howe on the guitar. The final track is the second encore of the show, an a capella arrangement of “White Car.” This was introduced on November 27th in Glasgow and would be used on the final weeks. While they are singing, some in the audience shout “sing up Alan” and “ANDERSON.” It’s a harsh reception which indicated this lineup was on its last legs. For both aesthetic and historic reasons, Into The Drama is an overall fascinating document.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)
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