STYLE: Rock RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 81892-15634 LABEL: Independent SJPCD301 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1
Reviewed by Mike Rimmer
At their peak 1979-1982, After The Fire were signed to CBS Records who were trying to break them into the big time. The band ended up having some low level skirmishes with the British charts without ever making the big breakthrough. Mind you, it wasn't for want of trying and ironically the big chart hit happened in America after the band had broken up. This CD features the band's three BBC In Concert performances from '79, '80 and '81 with each highlighting how tight the band were live and how vociferous their fans could be. Ultimately ATF deserved bigger props for their development of synth-led pop rock and these live performances take the listener from the more new wave sound of their 1979 thrash through material from their debut album to more assured performances later. Andy Piercy was always a compelling frontman and that comes across here as does the sheer musicianship of the band. From John Russell's extended guitar solo in "Billy Billy" to the interplay between guitar and Peter Banks' keyboards on "Take Me Higher", it's evident from the 1981 recording that the band were getting stronger and better. So it's a shame that it all came crashing down at the end of the following year. I have vivid memories of being glued to the radio in 1979 for the first of these In Concert performances so it's a surprise to hear how much it sounded exactly as I remembered it. Only criticism is that they may have benefited from some tweaking and mastering. As it is, any fan of the band back in the day will want to hear these performances from their heroes again.
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