Album review: SUPERTRAMP – Live In Paris ’79

SUPERTRAMP - Live In Paris '79

Eagle Rock [Release date 17.07.15]

This definitive Supertramp live set has been a long time coming.  Originally recorded as part of the band’s 10 month Breakfast In America tour, and released as a double LP in 1980 it included the bulk of Crime Of The Century (except for ‘If Everyone Was Listening’), three songs from Crisis? What Crisis?, two from Even In The Quietest Moments, and three from Breakfast in America -  plus ‘You Started Laughing’, a Crisis? What Crisis? B-side.

When the original tapes were unearthed a remastered CD version was released in 2002, with the tracks that never made the original cut surfacing for the first time on the Breakfast In America 2010 deluxe edition bonus disc.

So in a sense, there’s nothing new here, but this is the first release of the complete concert on CD in the original running order.  As for the accompanying DVD, that was first made available in 2012 when it was transferred from the original 16mm film with re-mixed and remastered sound.  It’s the same version included here.

SUPERTRAMP - Live In Paris '79

The original album and CD performances are compiled from recordings across the band’s 4 night residency at the Pavillon De Paris, but only the last 2 gigs were filmed.  So there are some variances between the CD and DVD audio tracks.  Plus a handful of songs – ‘Ain’t Nobody But Me’, ‘You Started Laughing’,  ‘A Soapbox Opera’, ‘From Now On’ and ‘Downstream’, weren’t filmed but have been included on the DVD as ‘bonus tracks’ using montage visuals.

Separately, both releases have scored highly with fans with the original LP reaching the Top 10 around the globe, although it should be noted that the audiophile community have been critical of Supertramp re-masterings which have – until the Crime Of The Century deluxe re-re-mastering last year – favoured volume, compression and brightness over detail and depth.

But that’s hardly critical in respect of a 35 year old live recording which has stood the test of time remarkably well.  The film may be a little grainy and faded, but it’s re-assuring to note that as the 1970′s drew to a close post the punk revolution, that long hair, beards and proggy musicianship was still the biggest seller.

Live In Paris ’79 is also a reminder – if one were needed – that live music was just so much better when performances weren’t choreographed to within an inch of their life.  Great musicians getting up there and just doing their ‘stuff’ is all that’s needed.  Bloody marvellous!   *****

Review by Pete Whalley

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