U.K.: Night After Night – Live (1979 )
While a large proportion of the music loving public were happily buying up copious quantities of material that the burgeoning punk rock industry was spewing forth, bands such as U.K. were busily writing some of the best music to emerge from the dying years of the 70's when prog rock was considered to be dying a slow death. Most of the better progressive bands that had made their marks during the earlier years, were starting to produce material that reeked of commercialism and suggested that the record companies themselves were dictating the rules by which bands had to comply if they wanted to succeed. U.K. defied that trend in 1978 by producing one of the most dynamic albums for some considerable time and quickly followed this up one year later with another equally impressive record from which the most popular tracks were used on this live outing.
Although live albums are not my normal choice of style, the crowd were exceptionally well behaved and their noise well mixed and faded out to render the live effect less intrusive than can be found on some live albums. Having said that, I am very disappointed that one of their best tracks, "Danger Money, was not included on their live set, only to be replaced by a very weak track called "As Long As You Want Me Here". Still, the balance of the songs on this release are all very good and represent the best material ever to be written by Eddie Jobson who plays keyboards and violin like no other. His style is so much more interesting than say Jean Luc Ponty, who, while being a brilliant violinist, has a tendency to sound repetitive on his latter albums. Eddie is very capably assisted in the song writing department by John Wetton, whose vocals and bass playing, I find really appealing. The best songs are "Rendezvous 6.02", "Nothing To Lose", "Alaska", "Time To Kill" and Caesar's Palace Blues" while their live version of "In The Dead Of Night" is just awesome.
Although the overall production on this record is pretty good, it is so much harder to find a live album where the crispness and accuracy of the music being played can actually be maintained and presented in a convincing manner. Studio quality albums always have been and always will be my preferred choice. The musicianship from these guys is simply brilliant and features a well fired up Eddie Jobson who smokes on most tracks as does Terry Bozzio although he is somewhat lost in the mix a bit. If you have the first 2 albums then the live one will make a totally suitable addition to your collection. Eddie Jobson has played a pivotal role in the acceptance and development of progressive rock for many years now including his Zinc album from 1983 and Theme Of Secrets from 1985. Another classic album E.J. was involved in was the brilliant Air Cut by Curved Air released in 1973 and is certainly worth checking out if you can find a copy.