Album review: FORTUNE- The Gun’s Still Smoking Live (CD/DVD)

FORTUNE- The Gun's Still Smokin' Live

Frontiers Records (Release Date 07.08.20)

One of the most heart-warming and unexpected comebacks of the last few years has been that of cult eighties AOR sters Fortune. It’s fair to say their comeback in 2016 at Rockingham Festival stole the show and they were warmly welcomed back just a year later, while last year’s Fortune II was a very strong comeback album with all the band’s trademarks.

This live set, also from 2019- recorded, as so many Frontiers live releases, at the label’s own festival on Italian home soil- has the twin advantages of a setlist that covers both old and new, and coming in both CD and DVD format. As with many of these projects, the latter is probably the more rewarding form of enjoying it (though bassist’s Ricky Rat’s face pulling may divide opinion) and the mix, in which drums are unduly prominent at the expense of other instruments, except during the solos, somehow seems less noticeable.

The set opens in fine style with old favourite ‘Thrill Of it All’, building into the first but not the last of Richard Fortune’s impressively fluent guitar solos, then Mark Nilan’s keys introduce newie ‘Don’t Say You Love Me’ which stands comparison.

 The atmospheric vocals of Larry Greene (going by the rather public school sounding L.A.Greene on the credits) are then given full reign on his contribution to the Top Gun soundtrack ‘Through the Fire’, a classic eighties movie soundtrack in Survivor-type manner.

‘Deep in the Heart of the Night’ is classic AOR and the intro to ‘Heart is a Lonely Hunter’ in which Richard’s powerchords give way to keyboards cutting through gets the crowd clapping along in unison.

Though the similar tempo of many of the songs may struggle to hold the attention of more casual fans, as with most good live sets the best is saved to last. Their best known song ‘Dearborn Station’ is delivered in a stately, melodramatic fashion with smooth guitars and keyboards complementing each other, and though they end with a ‘Fortune II’ number  in ‘Freedom Road’ its anthemic qualities do not suffer in comparison, even with that classic.

An excellent introduction to this most cult of bands- though the studio albums are even better!  ****

Review by Andy Nathan

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