Live Review: Cozy Powell & Band–BBC In Concert

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Retrieved with recording.

Date and Venue: 1980-01-09 – BBC In Concert, Paris Theatre, London

Tracks/track lengths:

  1. Theme One (4:00)
  2. Sweet Poison (7:07)
  3. Member Introduction (1:08)
  4. The Loner (5:46)
  5. Tickets To Waterfalls (6:13)
  6. Killer (8:22)

Personnel

  • Cozy Powell – Drums
  • Jack Bruce – Bass, Vocals
  • Clem Clempson – Guitar
  • Don Airey – Keyboards
  • Max Middleton – Electric Piano

Analysis:

Alternate bootleg cover, retrieved from here.

A concert done to promote Cozy Powell’s at-the-time latest album, Over the Top, this is notable in part for how much a it proves that both Cozy Powell and keyboardist Don Airey are workaholics. The two of them, members of the Down To Earth lineup of Rainbow, had been off touring with that band for only about a month, and were due to get back onstage in little over a week.

Of note are the inter-song introductions, in which Powell displays a casually dismissive attitude to critics of the album, telling them firmly to “get stuffed” and mockingly dedicating “The Loner” to them. It is a refreshing show of self-confidence and faith in one’s own work. Furthermore, he introduces each member of the band and credits each song to its rightful writer, whether that be Jack Bruce (“Tickets to Waterfalls”) or Max Middleton (“Sweet Poison” and “The Loner”). 

Generally, band camaraderie seems quite high. Powell gives each of his supporting players a chance to shine, proving his belief that the “glittering array of talent” was not just an off-the-cuff remark but a genuine belief of his. Don Airey, for instance, is given a quick but telling solo to introduce “Tickets to Waterfalls”–telling, that is, of his typical level of sparkle!

On, then, to the music. While there is not a sour note in this whole performance, two tracks stand out for those who have limited time or attention spans. “Sweet Poison” is arguably stronger here than on the album itself. Here, synthesizer backing in the quicker section from Airey adds extra shine and polish to an already decent song. This works in the opposite direction on things such as “Killer”, where the added electric piano gives Airey a chance to shine even brighter and exchange riffs with Clem Clempson on guitar.

Also interesting is “The Loner”, which is performed here by Clempson before it became a Gary Moore signature song and was swiped as Ritchie Blackmore’s tribute to Jon Lord. He is decent, but fails to get the same level of pathos emblematic of Moore’s playing.

Overall, this concert is an excellent show of skill and confidence by a strong lineup of musicians. I would recommend this as a starting point if you are unfamiliar with the musicians’ work. 

Please support the artists involved in this project by buying their work legitimately if you are able.

If you want to purchase music I discussed in this post, here’s the studio versions of the music they performed. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases made from Amazon links.

  • Tracks 1, 2, 4, 6 from Over the Top, available here
  • Track 5 from Songs for a Tailor, available here
  • Alternate take on track 4 from Wild Frontier, available here

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Edit on 2020-08-04: Optimized for new site

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