The first five tracks on this Can release of dubious authenticity were taken from the famous Can free concert in Cologne, Germany, on February 3, 1972. This is the audio from the same concert documented by the video item of the out of print Can Box set, and the audio quality is quite good and the performances are outstanding. On these tracks, the group locks into one long, propulsive groove after another, blending minimalism with improvisation. Whereas "Spoon" and "Paperhouse" diverge quite a bit from the studio cuts with more improvisational moves, the versions of "Bring Me Coffee or Tea" and "Hallelujah" are fairly straightforward renderings of the Tago Mago tracks, though certainly with Can's looseness there is still enough variation. What the live versions lack in instrumental depth and studio effects they make up in energy. The only non-studio album track, "Love Me Tonight," is a nice bit of avant funk, with powerful rhythms and some great keyboard drones. "Spoon" is the highlight, with Michael Karoli's soaring, droning guitar solos wailing over the perfectly metronomic rhythm section, until halfway through the song the group turns up the intensity. The lengthy final track was recorded live at the BBC exactly a year and a month later. It seems like there are any number of these early-'70s BBC recordings where Can completely improvises for half an hour or more while vocals flow freely off Damo Suzuki's lips. On this piece, which uses rhythms loosely based on "Pinch" from Ege Bamyasi, the band flows from one sound to another without ever losing the fluid rhythm structure, occasionally pumping up the energy and at other times soaring out into more space rock territory to keep the piece from getting tiresome, and there are even a few freakouts where everything seems to collapse before the rhythms propel it on again. Very good sound quality and excellent performances make this one of the best Can bootlegs.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Rolf Semprebon