Gentle Giant

Live in New York

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One more in the gloriously unstoppable series of historic live recordings unveiled by Gentle Giant's own Glasshouse label, Live in New York captures the band during its 1975 American tour, with epic performances of six songs -- "Cogs in Cogs" and "So Sincere" from the previous year's The Power and the Glory; "Free Hand" and "Just the Same" from the newly released Free Hand; and the old faves "Funny Ways," "Runaway," and "Experience" (melded together in a magnificent medley). As such, it echoes the basic shape of the band's first ever live album, 1977's Playing the Fool, but that is no reason to overlook it. Throughout this period, Gentle Giant were at their peak as a live band, with every performance bringing new, or at least unexpected, nuance to all that they did. Plus, the relative freshness of the newer songs sees the bandmembers still undecided precisely how to present them at their best (although they're getting very close), a mood that adds a genuine thrill to the proceedings. Only the slightly less than perfect sound quality could knock this set down in the listener's estimation, but in truth, if you care enough about Gentle Giant to be buying it, then a bit of hiss and boom will not hurt you in the slightest.

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