801 Manchester [2009 Reissue]

801 Manchester [2009 Reissue]

by 801
     
 

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Recorded a year after the impeccable 801 Live, 801 Manchester (aka Live at Manchester University) features Phil Manzanera and 801 performing in support of the Listen Now release. Though not as aggressive or vital as its predecessor, the Manchester concert is solid, with Paul Thompson (drums) and Bill MacCormick

Overview

Recorded a year after the impeccable 801 Live, 801 Manchester (aka Live at Manchester University) features Phil Manzanera and 801 performing in support of the Listen Now release. Though not as aggressive or vital as its predecessor, the Manchester concert is solid, with Paul Thompson (drums) and Bill MacCormick (bass) turning in performances beyond the call of duty. Still, its comparison with 801 Live can't be helped. The lineup is dramatically different on Manchester and, in some ways, inferior considering the virtuosity displayed on 801 Live. Although the repertoire overlaps, 801 Live is rooted in progressive rock while Manchester exhibits a pop approach. There's a handful of tunes from Listen Now, and while the songs are good, their simple, repetitive structures weaken Manchester's overall impact. And without Brian Eno, the material lacks the atmospheric quality that comes hand in hand with his presence. The most glaring weakness on the recording lies in the absence of Eno's lead vocals. Eno has a unique voice, and it's almost painful to hear Simon Ainley and the others attempt to substitute on "Miss Shapiro," "You Really Got Me," and the opener, "T.N.K." Ainley's vocal presentation lacks confidence and smoothness; he doesn't do justice to Eno's wonderful lyrics on "Miss Shapiro," and he fails to bring out the groovy nuances that Eno's voice instilled in "You Really Got Me." On "Out of the Blue," Ainley can't replicate the original familiar Bryan Ferry vocal; however, the song is arguably the strongest on the disc. The performance is energetic, Andy Mackay guests on oboe, and MacCormick's pronounced basslines are more involved than John Gustafson's on Roxy Music's studio original. Thompson has the hardest act to follow, as Simon Phillips' tight drum work on 801 Live is simply breathless. Still, Thompson is the standout on Manchester. He plays clean and fast and gets a crisp, full-bodied sound from his instrument; his style simply isn't as offbeat or complex as that of Phillips. Manzanera's work is solid as well. He injects a groove-laced rhythm into the opening of "Listen Now" and performs his instrumental signature standard, "Diamond Head" (much in the same vein as the 801 Live rendition). The album also features guests Mackay, Lol Creme, and Kevin Godley on several tracks. In 2009, as part of a series of reissues of 801 recordings, the album appeared under the title 801 Manchester and credited simply to 801. This version added five bonus tracks, starting with a new opening track, "Lagrima" (appended to "T.N.K."), the same Manzanera instrumental that had begun the 801 Live album, and continuing with the mid-set songs "Que," "City of Light," "Initial Speed," and "That Falling Feeling." This material brought the running time up to a CD-filling 77 and a half minutes. ~ David Ross Smith & William Ruhlmann

Product Details

Release Date:
09/08/2009
Label:
Imports
UPC:
5020284000119
catalogNumber:
865875

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