Out Of The Blue (Siréne-138)
Riviera Theater, Chicago, IL – July 2nd, 1978
The Only Thing She Needs, Carrying No Cross, The Sahara Of Snow, Thirty Years, Presto Vivace, In The Dead Of Night, Caesar’s Palace Blues
Out Of The Blue is Siréne’s document of the Chicago soundboard recording from U.K. first tour in 1978. The tape was released fifteen years ago as Riviera on Dynamite Studio (DS93J053). Like Sirene’s version it is missing the first two numbers “Alaska” and “Time To Kill” but also the encore “Caesar’s Palace Blues”.
Out Of The Blue is still missing the beginning but finally has the long lost encore. The tape is a great sounding stereo soundboard that was probably made for a projected live release and not for radio broadcast since none is suggested.
Sirene have a copy that sounds much closer to the master since it is much more clear than the Dynamite Studio. The concert takes place in an outdoor venue on a rainy day. John Wetton refers to the weather being like that in England. In looking at the set list, it is interesting that the bulk of the music is, at the time of the show, unreleased material. “The Only Thing She Needs” with it is almost impossible rhythm sounds impeccable and is greatly benefited from Allan Holdsworth’s guitar.
“The Sahara Of Snow” follows “Carrying No Cross”, a Bill Bruford tune which was officially recorded by Bruford and Holdsworth for One Of A Kind. “Presto Vivace” and “In The Dead Of Night” are reversed from their normal order with “By The Light Of Day” dropped. This is the same sequence used by the trio in 1979 and illustrated on the official live release Night After Night.
“Sorry about the weather, there is nothing we can do about that,” Wetton says before the encore”Caesar’s Palace Blues”. This is a first class production again by Siréne, the only label currently producing silver progressive rock titles. There is a slight problem with the intro to “In The Dead Of Night” tracked separately giving a total of eight tracks instead of seven. In the end U.K. deserve such treatment.
By 1978 the great progressive rock bands were all trying to sound too relevant to pop music and tried to get into the single charts. U.K. are the last gasp of British progressive rock in the 70’s playing fascinating music that is some of the very best music to come out of the that decade. It really is a shame they are not given more recognition and I’d say this release is highly recommended and worth having.