Review by James Gage:
The "Live At Last" recording was made at the SCC in Glasgow. Unfortunately (for me) I wasn't at this gig, although I was at the Heaven gig in London. What can I say? It's the next best thing to being there, but if you are a fan and you haven't been yet you'll be impressed with the changes that the guys have made to the songs - If like me you feverishly slid the 12" singles from their sleeves as soon as you brought them home from the record shops to hear the remix or extended versions of Heaven 17 songs then this one is also for you.
The sleeve notes (by Glenn Gregory) tell us that at his first gig (sorry, Concert- Mr Gregory can't bring himself to use the word "gig"), he felt very nervous listening to the band's Intro music. At the Heaven concert I have to say that I did too, nervous for the boys because we all so wanted them to do a good job. Of course, they did- and it's all there on the CD. You can sense the atmosphere and Glenn really does sound as though he's having the time of his life.
|I remember reading a "Live Aid" special edition of Smash Hits magazine in which Glenn was asked backstage why Heaven 17 didn't play live, a question that this 14 year old (at the time) asked himself too. Mr Gregory's answer was along the lines of "Don't be silly, Heaven 17 never play live". I was gutted by the response at the time. Glenn says it himself in the cover notes - "I can honestly say I wish we hadn't waited so long because I absolutely love it". I still have a video recording I made a few years after that of the boys on a UK TV programme called "The Tube" in which the guys did live versions of "Contenders" and "Trouble". That, as far as I remember Jules Holland saying, was their first ever live performance. |
Again, I thought there was a possibility of a tour. Everything seemed right for it. The guys had gone for a more "live" sound - real drummers and the like. But no. However, it was worth the wait.
The main thing about the tracks on the CD is that they all work. The songs are brilliantly sung - indeed Angie Brown and Billie Godfrey add depth and soul to Glenn's excellent live voice. The recording and subsequent mixing give the album an excellent "wide" feel. I'm very impressed.
What impresses me more is that this recording appears to literally be all their own work. It appears to be a no-bullshit live album made by 3 guys who obviously still get a kick out of it, made for the fans - the "Diehards" as they put it.
There are some tracks missing from the set - I was looking forward to hearing the live version of "Dive" - a song that stuck in my mind from the Heaven gig. In fact I can tell you all the songs they did and the order in which they did them. How? The last thing I did before I left the Heaven club was haul myself onto the stage and steal the set list! Sorry guys!
To wrap it up I have two words for the fan who was thinking of buying this CD... "Buy it".