A label called Windsong had commenced an arrangement with Radio 1 to release CDs of their "In Concert" radio shows.
They had four concerts to choose from: The first was a half hour concert recorded in March 76 before Rebel was released. The second was an hour broadcast recorded in Feb 1977 and broadcast in April of that year promoting the Stranger In The City album.
The 3rd and 4th concerts were broadcast in June 78 from Queen Mary College London and in July 79 from the Paris Theatre in London. These final two were part of the BBC's "Sight & Sound In Concert" series. Anyway despite the amount of material available all the tracks chosen for the CD came from the first two concerts.
All the tracks from the Stranger In The City broadcast were there. In addition Manhattan Skyline which kicks off the CD was not broadcast so is a bit of a bonus. Highfly and When You Lose Someone So Young are included from the 1976 Rebel set. The other tracks at the first set were Rebel, Music and Pull The Damn Thing Down. These versions however are not as polished as those that made it onto the CD from the 77 concert. In my opinion this arose from having both a brass section and the Chanter singers who sang backup vocals.
Why were there no tracks from 78 or 79? Well although in a normal concert John would have played Music and Highfly etc, with the exception of Slow Down the rest of the tracks were album tracks and not hits or tracks from the massive selling Rebel LP.
Manhattan Skyline, which was the current single at the time, is followed by two tracks from Rebel, the title track and Pull the Damn Thing Down. These tracks are all very good. In particular John's guitar solo is up to his usual standard. These are followed by six tracks from the Stranger In The City album being: Remember Yesterday (the first single from the album which sounds great with the brass section), Stand Up (terrific dual between voice and guitar), Glamour Boy (rarely heard live), Music Man (nice keyboard touches from Gary (?) and ends with some superb licks from John) , Stranger in the City (played like a singalong with a little too much backing vocals and brass at the end making it a little busy) and Time (a stripped down version featuring just John on piano and vocals). Then its back to Rebel for his biggest hit Music. Some versions of Music are not as good in concert without the orchestra but the rendition here is very good. This is followed by a rousing version of Slow Down, which within a few months would have taken the charts by storm.
There are a few continuity glitches or errors on the CD. Firstly, the CD says it is copyright of the BBC 1971/72 instead of 1976/77. This is correct however on the back cover. It also has 1976 beside Sweet Lorraine on the back cover. It was in fact from the 1977 concert. The liner notes correctly notes that Sweet Lorraine was "no relation to the Uriah Heep track of the same name". However, the back of the case attributes it to someone called Burwell, who I guess wrote the Uriah Heep version. The back cover also attributes all other tracks to John with the only exception being Manhattan Skyline which is the only song which is correctly noted as being a Miles / Marshall composition. (I hope Bob got his royalties okay).
Stephen A Carson

Finding favourites from a live concert recording is not nearly as easy as it sounds. All the time you are reminded of the original album tracks, and inevitably make comparisons, which is not what the exercise should be about. Music, for example, really misses out, since it needs the full orchestral treatment, as is admirably demonstrated on the Night of the Proms performances.
It was relatively easy to whittle the 14 tracks down to 6, but then to derive a top 4 became suddenly very difficult. Although taken from two different sessions, the performances are very similar, apart from the backing instruments, there on some tracks, absent on others. Overall I am very impressed by the engineering quality of the recording. It must be very difficult to achieve such a high standard on one take, compared to the studio time used in producing a full album.
No. 4 on my list goes to When You Lose Someone So Young. I have always liked the song, and this performance brings out the full poignancy of the lyrics. John's voice is quite perfect in this respect, while the clarity of his enunciation allows the full meaning of the words to be understood.
No.3 goes to Music Man, a terrific beat, excellent vocals, and first class keyboard and guitar performances for a live performance. The brass backing adds a different sound to this track.
No. 2 is Remember Yesterday. Again the brass backing gives this track a different sound when compared to the album. It is well performed, it flows well, with good backing vocals. John's voice has a melancholy sound to it, which suits the song well, although I have never understood why the lyrics change to la la la at the end, did the ideas run out?
Finally No. 1, Highfly. I have never liked the album version of this, the initial sound seems quite muffled, and the song never seems to get off the ground. In contrast, this live version has plenty of bite, a good rhythm, and overall I think is a very worthy winner of my favourites.
John Webster

I fully agree with John Webster that reviewing a live CD is quite difficult. What might be a classic studio song may not come across well live. Music for example. I agree with John, the best version of Music live is from the NOTP recordings, where it is superb.I am very familiar with the CD having had a tape from the original broadcast, but it was good to see the addition of Highfly, Sweet Lorraine and When you Lose Someone so Young. Does anybody know where these came from? The CD notes say they came from another In Concert broadcast from 1976 but I am not aware of another one from this period. Also, to be honest, I do prefer the Zaragon and MMPH concerts from the Sight and Sound series, as I believe they show John's talent as a musician better, as they only feature the band. Less is more. I know Windsong International had the rights to the BBC recordings and released several other bands concerts, and there were rumours they were going to release Videos of the concerts, but I believe they ceased trading before they could do this. Shame!
Anyway, on with the CD. I think Manhattan Skyline is just a great opener, full of pace, great guitar and soaring vocals. I prefer it live than studio. It still sounds bang up to date now. Another highlight is Pull the Damn Thing Down. I think I probably failed at least three O Levels trying to learn the guitar solo on my tennis racket instead of studying! It sounds good now, but a little dated, the production is not up to top standards, but adequate, bearing in mind BBC engineers did it. Remember Yesterday will forever be a classic in my book, one of his top 5 songs, and it comes across well on this CD. I also like Stand Up, Glamour Boy, SITC and the Singles, especially Slowdown, a real live favourite with me. If anybody has the full version from the later Zaragon concert please let me have a copy. I could have killed the BBC for fading it out just after the first verse! I have to say I am not keen on Time and Music Man, in fact Music Man has always been a song that I just don't get. Don't know why!
TOP 4.

1 Pull the damn Thing Down,
2 Slowdown,
3 Manhattan Skyline,
4 Remember Yesterday
Richard Townsend

"Alas" Plethora of faves this album; too rich for me and live! How to choose?
I'm thinking bad haiku is a good way to go here. Finding all my past faves pitted against each other in a live performance has made for anguish and hair tearing. That said:
My selections:
1) Slow Down - Love the fast pace and energy. I get caught up in the wonderful building guitar, the synthesizer bits and fascinating voice box stuff.
2) Music Man - Wonderful keyboard work. This has such a catchy rhythm and nice guitar. The moment JM says, "all right!" and I hear that guitar, I'm hooked.
3) Stand Up - This arrangement so complex and energetic with a wealth of stuff going on. I especially like the guitar work, synthesizer and the jazzy bit at the end, the best scat singing I have ever heard. Ella and Mel were great, but this is a knockout.
4) Time - I think this song is a marvel of simplicity - a beautiful voice, adorned only by the keyboard. Just a straightforward, sweet ballad.
I seem to have retired "Music". What is there to say?
Also, I am posting this before reading the THREE (a first) digests from the group, that appeared in my morning emails. If I were to read them before sending mine, I would scrap mine and have an identity crisis!
Jean Hickman

Firstly to the current review of "BBC Live". Oddly enough a couple of my usual album favourites don't take prime spot in this live performance. In particular Music - much as though it is very well delivered on this recording, I am yet another who feels this track needs the full orchestral treatment. So, in reverse order:-
4) WHEN YOU LOSE SOMEONE SO YOUNG The oh so sad ballad with a bit of hope thrown in.
3) HIGHFLY I prefer this live track to the studio version. I like the tempo on this one and the whole song is delivered in such a sharp style. How does he reach those high notes?
2) REMEMBER YESTERDAY One of my all time favourites and one that I feel always comes over so well live.This lovely ballad really exhibits the clarity of Johns voice and the lyrics are so poignant.
1) SWEET LORRAINE For me this was always an excellent live number. I love the guitar sequence which is complemented so well by the rocky piano/keyboard. Just all round good foot stomping, bopping stuff
Zoë Pinchin

1) Remember Yesterday One of the best ballads.Always my fave
2) Pull the damn thing down Gutsy live Much better than studio
3) Manhatten Skyline Brilliant set opener with the brass section
4) Highfly Always takes me back to my first experience of John
Malcolm Leeves