Various Artists – Pristine Arms’ (Beano-029)

Pristine Arms’ (Beano-029)

Royal Albert Hall, London, England – September 20th, 1983

Disc 1 (58:21):  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 (72:19):  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, Tulsa Time, Wee Wee Baby, Layla, Bombers Moon, Good Night Irene

Pristine Arms’ is Beano’s second release this year of the September 20th, 1983 ARMS show.  Three Yardbirds In The Hall (Beano-023) featured an excellent audience recording of the gig.  Older releases like The History of ARMS (Craze Music C3R-1913-3) used the video soundtrack, but this new release by Beano utilizes a professionally mixed soundboard recording.  It sounds like the DVD soundtrack is used to fill a few gaps including “Ramblin’ On My Mind / Have You Ever Loved A Woman,” the beginning of “Stairway To Heaven” and “Wee Wee Baby.”   

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.”  Percussionist Ray Cooper steals the show according to Clapton afterwards. 

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.  Beck’s set ends with his first single “Hi Ho Silver Lining” and he himself handles the vocals.   

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.  This is the first live performance of the piece in three years and sounds a bit rusty.  The solo in particular is rather lifeless.  

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.”  It is a good opneing night that is perhaps the most famous of the ARMS shows.  There is a tentativeness in the air however as the musicians learn to play with one another.  The American shows would be much more effective.  Regardless Pristine Arms’ is another sterling Beano release and is recommended. 

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