Gong / Gong Global Family

Live in Brazil: 20 November 2007

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In November 2007, Daevid Allen was invited to participate to a festival in São Paulo, Brazil, followed by a short tour. Allen made the trip with University of Errors guitarist Josh Pollock and guest drummer Fred Barley. They teamed up with three members (guitar, bass, sax) of the Invisible Opera Company of Brazil (IOC being Allen's global network of support musicians/cover bands) for a concert of vintage Gong repertoire. The first performance was recorded and filmed, and released as Live in Brazil 2007 under the name Gong Global Family (available separately as an audio CD and a DVD, both including the same tracks). Since Gilli Smyth wasn't part of the trip, the track selection weighs a lot more toward the frantic than the trippy. The set list includes a slew of classics, from the early hit "You Can't Kill Me" to the anthemic "Master Builder," plus a complete rendition of "Fohat Digs Holes in Space" (i.e. with its song section), and a run through the dynamic triptych formed by "Tropical Fish," "Selene," and "Dynamite." These are, by far, the most close-to-the-original-recordings renditions Gong has performed lately, although these performances are no preserved antiques. The solos get wild, especially on "Master Builder." If the IOC of Brazil keeps things competently on par (in a tribute band way), Pollock plays the X-factor throughout. His more experimental approach to the guitar -- and less reverential approach to the material -- ignites the tracks. And Smyth's trademark space whisper being absent, Pollock fills in with some inspired megaphonified vocals (strikingly appropriate in "You Can't Kill Me"). As for Allen, he's on top of his game, still as charming and wacky as ever as he gives the Brazilian audience a Gong 101 lesson, explaining everything about Pot Head Pixies and teapots; he's clearly having fun. There is no shortage of Gong-related live documents, but, while it doesn't add anything new to the group's oeuvre, Live in Brazil 2007 makes a very fine and thoroughly enjoyable listen. The DVD is also well-filmed and edited, with sparse use of pseudo-psychedelic effects, and a good mix of group shots and close-up angles.

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