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Various Artists

Live at Knebworth

Review by Gary Hill

This live set from 1990 sure has a lot of great performances from a lot of great stars. There’s not a bad showing in the bunch and some of these are really classic. I’d recommend this for the Robert Plant number with Jimmy Page guesting by itself, but really the gems don’t stop there. If you like classic rock, then you really should have this album.


This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Disc 1
Tears for Fears – Who Wants to Rule the World

One of the band’s big hits, most people should have heard this song at some point in time. They deliver a strong performance. The closing instrumental segment seems extended and is quite tasty.

Tears For Fears – Badman’s Song
A less well known track, keys start this off and it feels quite jazzy on the introduction. They turn it out to a real rocking groove. This is a killer tune that has a lot of southern rock built into it. It turns more towards more typical, mellower Tears For Fears territory later. Different segments come and go throughout and there’s an extended jazz jam. At almost eleven and a half minutes in length this is an extensive piece of music that covers a lot of musical territory.
Status Quo – Dirty Water
A big piece of this track is the crowd singalong. The music here is good classic rock and somehow it reminds me both of The Doobie Brothers and REO Speedwagon. There’s a definite southern rock edge to it and some cool guitar work.
Status Quo – Whatever You Want
More of a rock and roll groove, I still hear the old school REO elements on this track, too. It’s definitely good time rock and roll and has some cool retro sounding keyboards. 
Status Quo – Rockin’ All Over The World
This makes me think of REO even more – I hear a lot of “157 Riverside Blvd.” here. There’s a cool instrumental section at the end.
Cliff Richard & the Shadows – On The Beach
Here we get some tasty old school rock and roll. It makes you want to get on your feet and dance and there’s some great guitar soloing.
Cliff Richard & the Shadows – Do You Wanna Dance

Speaking of dancing, here’s a classic old school tune played in style.

Robert Plant – Hurting Kind
A hard rocking cut, the arrangement on this is more raw than the studio version. It’s also quite a stripped down number. It’s a cool tune, though and Plant’s vocals really make the performance. 
Robert Plant – Liar’s Dance
With an acoustic guitar based approach, this is energetic and if Plant stole the show on the last track, he takes the whole venue here. And that’s despite the fact that there’s some extremely intricate guitar work going on, as well. 
Robert Plant – Tall Cool One
While I’ve always liked the studio rendition of this track, you can tell that it’s a bit overproduced (especially after hearing these guys tear into it live). There are points of this that really sound a lot like Zeppelin. They even throw some Zeppelin into the mix here and there. It’s a real screamer and one of the highlights of the whole collection, but certainly of Plant’s performance. 
Robert Plant - Wearing and Tearing (Featuring Jimmy Page on Guitar)
Well, what can you say? It’s a song that was done by Led Zeppelin and it’s got both Robert Plant and Jimmy Page on it. As you might guess it’s much like a second coming of the mighty Zep – and that’s a great thing. 
Genesis - Mama
The dark, rhythmic section of this doesn’t offer a lot of surprises, but somehow the more melodic movement feels much more like classic, old school Genesis to me. I’ve always liked this track and it works extremely well here. There’s some killer guitar soloing on this rendition, too. 
Genesis – Turn It On Again Medley
They take the song from Duke and throw a killer rendition in, but then stretch it out to eleven plus songs by adding in a medley of songs – not Genesis tunes, but just classic rock pieces. It’s interesting and fun, but perhaps not all that prog rock – or even Genesis-like. They bring it back to “Turn It On Again” to end it. 
Disc 2
Phil Collins – Sussudio
I like this version better than the studio take on the track. It’s got more of a jazzy kind of R & B groove to it and the live venue seems to allow more room for soloing and other killer instrumental work. 
Eric Clapton – Sunshine of Your Love
Clapton and company tear through this classic Cream song. I like this version a lot. It’s a real screamer and one of the highlights of the set. There’s some great extended instrumental jamming on the cut. In fact, the track weighs in at almost twelve minutes in length and includes (among other things) a drum solo. 
Dire Straits – I Think I Love You Too Much
People often think of Dire Straits as identified by their hit singles. The truth of the matter is, more than anything else, they were just a great rock and roll band and this bluesy rocker proves that in spades.
Elton John – Sad Songs Say So Much
This bouncing rocker from Reginald Dwight is a cool tune. I like it a lot and the man displays his usual brand of killer soulful rock and roll delivery. 
Elton John – Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting
An even more rocking number from Sir John and company, this one doesn’t have a lot of surprises, but when it’s this good, who cares?
Paul McCartney – Coming Up
Here’s a killer jam from McCartney with a bit of an island groove. It’s also quite funky. 
Paul McCartney – Hey Jude
McCartney and crew work their way through this Beatles tune in fine fashion. I’ve always loved the song and this is a great rendition.
Pink Floyd – Comfortably Numb
Feeling more real progressive rock oriented than the studio rendition, this is a great piece of music. I like this live rendition a lot – probably even more than the original. Gilmour puts in some smoking hot guitar soloing later in the number.
Pink Floyd – Run Like Hell
Again, I get more of a real progressive rock vibe on this than there is on the original studio rendition. There’s an extended guitar work out introduction and this is just plain awesome. I’d say the most noticeable change up is the cool multipart vocal arrangement.
 
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