The essential Live Etc. sports incredible live versions of material from four Gong albums (Camembert Electrique, Flying Teapot, Angel's Egg, You) and one studio track which had been recorded in 1974 as an attempt at a single. The live material, recorded 1973-1975, consists of performances from several different incarnations of the band, making this an excellent starting point for anyone interested in sampling Gong. Abundant and overflowing with infusions of space, prog, and jazz, this melting pot of a band stands alone in its eclectic delivery of the goods. Highlights include Moerlen's percussion solo on "Flying Teapot," Malherbe's sax solo on "Zero the Hero...," and Hillage's guitar work on the spacy "Radio Gnome Invisible." "Where Have All the Flowers Gone" is Gong's attempt at a single; while somewhat mainstream, even this piece pushes the envelope for the airwaves. "6/8 Tune" is a superb jazzy instrumental, a kind of foreshadowing to the CD's final four tracks, which are for the most part instrumental and very progressive. The tracks blend together to form the climax and highlight of this great live album, and exhibit the jazziness that would become an integral sound in the band's future releases. Recorded after Allen's departure, this is the personnel that would go on to record Shamal, though no tracks from that album show up here. Live Etc. originally ended with the tune "Ooby-Scooby Doomsday" (another attempt at a pop hit), but at 79 minutes, the CD format could not hold it, and it has been tacked on to the end of the Angel's Egg compact disc release.
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AllMusic Review by David Ross Smith