Camel

On the Road 1982

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On the Road 1982 features the band's tenth anniversary tour performance from The Hague, Netherlands. Unfortunately, as the liner notes explain, the original tapes were lost, and the recording presented here draws from the version that passed through the mixing desk. While the end result is still better than your garden-variety bootleg, the sound of the "Camel Live" ladle scraping the bottom of the proverbial barrel is inescapable. Camel was promoting The Single Factor at the time (no wonder they called it the tenth anniversary tour), with a cast that bore little resemblance to any popular incarnation of the band. Andrew Latimer and Kit Watkins were the veterans, vocalist Chris Rainbow and David Paton had only recently come on board, while Stuart Tosh and Andy Dalby make their "dromedarial" debut here. Chris Rainbow assumes lead vocal duties, which changes the character of the songs slightly, though without ill effect, on tracks like "Hymn to Her," "A Heart's Desire," and "Highways of the Sun." The band also runs through a few selections from Nude; if you're really interested in hearing that album live, pick up the superior On the Road 1981. There are moments where the band seems to possess both the energy and camaraderie necessary to pull off a successful performance, such as the opening "Sasquatch," "Manic," and "Who We Are." But there are also a number of flawed moments to contend with: Their rushed version of "Wait" lacks the original's caged energy, "You Are the One" turns out to be a live dud, and Tosh's "counting out" before many of the songs doesn't bespeak electricity. The performance at least ends on a high note, with yet another stellar rendition of "Never Let Go" (you get the sense Latimer could play this one well in his sleep). If the Dutch audience was wild about this performance, it didn't make it into the mix (maybe they were miffed that Latimer referred to them as "Den Whogue"). On the Road 1982 sounds a lot more like the end of the road.

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