earMUSIC [Release date 27.05.16] 2-CD/DVD/Bluray/Vinyl

“Damned If I Do” may have described a personal dilemma in March 2015 as I toyed with the idea of making the pilgrimage to a rare Alan Parsons date in London.  Inevitably, an early look at the set list and a bank balance shot by impending car restoration put paid to any plans.  Two years earlier, in August 2013, the band played a gig in Colombia with 70 piece symphony orchestra and choir to give an added edge to a repertoire that goes back to ‘Tales Of Mystery And Imagination’ in 1976.

Ultimately, it comes down to set-list and it’s as much about what’s left out as to what’s in.  For example, some may have preferred to hear the more commercial ‘Too Late’ from the lesser-known and later album ‘Gaudi’ rather than ‘La Sagrada Familia’.  Personally I would have more likely made that London trip if the humongous title track ‘Stereotomy’ had been included, but it wasn’t and nor in South America.

But,  in fairness, this 100 minute gig covers a fair amount of ground and most fans will be pleased especially given the added twist of a full orchestra.  This merely emphasises the great musicality that permeates albums like ‘I Robot’ (with lends a wonderful opening groove), ‘Eve’ and ‘Eye In The Sky’.

Only ‘Stereotomy’ (1985) is unrepresented here, whilst ‘The Turn Of A Friendly Card’ is the axis upon which this performance turns.  Arguably the strongest album, here it yields ‘Games People Play’, ‘Time’, ‘Snake Eyes’, ‘The Ace Of Swords’, ‘Nothing Left To Lose’ (with a vocal by Parsons) and the title track, effectively the whole second side of that release.  This is all given a special fillip by the empathic presence of Alejandro Posada and the Medellin Philharmonic Orchestra.

The musicianship, guided by the  professorial Parsons mostly from behind his guitar, is impeccable with regular live band members PJ Olsson (vocals), Alastair Greene (guitar, who voices a particularly good version of ‘I Wouldn’t Want To Be Like You’), Guy Erez (bass) and Danny Thompson (drums).

Like the boxed set released in 2014 this live album/DVD/Bluray is a good enough reason to re-evaluate back catalogue.  Collectors should know that there is another 2-CD set available via Parsons’ website – ‘Livespan’ – taken from the same tour, recorded in Germany but without the orchestra.  And, yes, I’m starting to save for the next pilgrimage should that opportunity arise. ****

Review by David Randall

David Randall presents ‘Assume The Position’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 22:00 GMT.

Album review (Box set, 2014)
Album review (The Turn Of A Friendly Card, 2015)


The latest Facebook Live session from Canadian singer-songwriter Josh Taerk was streamed on Sunday 20 December., imbued with a festive flavour to raise the spirits

More about Josh:

David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 20 December 2020 and announces the results of the Popular Poll for Best of 2020.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 20 December 2020 and includes Pete’s best of the year selections

Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
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Featured Albums w/c 11 January 2021 (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 UNRULY CHILD Our Glass House (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 SERGEANT STEEL Truck Tales (Boyz Tyme Records)
14:00-16:00 DAN REED Liftoff (Zero Entertainment)

Power Plays w/c 11 January 2021 (Mon-Fri)

BLACK SPIDERS – Good Times (Dark Riders Records/Cargo Records)
GRAVITY MACHINE Standing Stones (Zyse Records)
EMPIIRES Love Or Hate (TLG Entertainment/INgrooves)
RAY FENWICK Tam Tam (Singsong Music)
DEAD REYNOLDS Voices (The Fort)
LAYLA ZOE Don’t Wanna Help Anyone (indie)

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