Having lost its second major-label recording contract following the release of its ninth studio album, Future Games: A Magical-Kahauna Dream, in 1977, Spirit toured Europe in the winter of 1978, resulting in the release of the group's first live album, which appeared in three different configurations in three different territories. The basic source of the album was the band's March 11, 1978, show at the Rainbow in London. The British version, on Illegal Records, was called Live Spirit, which was also the title of the U.S. album on Spirit's own Potato Records label, but the West German release was called Made in Germany. All three versions include performances of five vintage Spirit songs, "Animal Zoo," "1984," "Nature's Way," "It's All the Same," and "I Got a Line on You," as well as the previously unreleased songs "Looking Down From a Mountain" and "Hollywood Dream." To these, the British album adds "Downer" and a cover of the Troggs' (by way of Jimi Hendrix) "Wild Thing." Neither of those tracks appear on the U.S. LP, which substitutes two other new Spirit songs, "Rock 'N' Roll Planet" and "These Are Words," recorded in Florida. The German version is identical to the U.S. one in its contents (albeit with a different song sequence) except that it adds one more track, recorded in Germany, "Rockpalast Jam," referring the German TV show Rockpalast, on which the group appeared. Thus, Made in Germany is a composite of performances from several different locations, and it also sounds like a fair amount of editing and overdubbing was done in the studio. The new songs, particularly "Rockpalast Jam" and "Rock 'N' Roll Planet," are slight as compositions, though they provide a structure for guitarist/songwriter Randy California's inventive improvisations. The familiar material is well-performed by the trio of California, bassist Larry "Fuzzy" Knight, and Ed Cassidy, with "It's All the Same" stretched out to ten minutes to allow room for a drum solo before segueing into the band's biggest hit and natural show closer, "I Got a Line on You." "This CD, we are bold enough to consider one of the best live LP's in rock-history," the liner notes say, and if that seems a considerable exaggeration, nevertheless this is an album that should be enjoyed by Spirit's fan base.
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann