Curved Air

Live

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Although it was certainly recorded a couple of years too late to catch Curved Air in their prime, still 1975's Live offers a valuable historical footnote to the band's career. Dating from the fall 1974 reunion of the classic Sonja Kristina/Darryl Way/Francis Monkman/Florian Pilkington-Misk line up, Live was recorded in Cardiff and Bristol, England, that December, and serves up a 48 minute sampling of a live set that remained locked in the treasured trilogy of albums cut between 1970-73.

Highlights abound, from the opening strut of "It Happened Today", through a "Marie Antoinette" that is as dramatic as it is virtuosi, and onto a fiery "Everdance" that leaves even the shimmering original in the dust. Kristina herself is possibly in her best voice ever, while the instrumentation rides roughshod over the once-prevalent belief that Curved Air were at their best in the studio - Way's first album-era "Vivaldi" is nothing short of superlative (catch the "Sailor's Hornpipe" a few minutes in... and try to keep up with it!), while a brutal "Propositions" will take your breath away.

The separate sections that comprise "Marie Antionette" are more clearly defined than ever they were on Phantasmagoria, while "Back Street Luv" is simply astonishing, guitars and vocals combining to create a battlefield that bleeds emotion and energy in equal quantities. That song always meant a lot to Curved Air - the band's first (and only) hit single, in 1971, it was responsible for raising them out of the club circuit and into the realm of mainstream attractions. The sheer passion with which Kristina wraps herself around the lyric is no less than it... and Curved Air themselves... deserves.

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