Reviewed by James Howard-Smith
Originally released on LP and CD in 1989, now some diamond geezers have obtained a video tape of the concert as broadcast on Dutch television and we've got this fantastic DVD. You might call it a difficult period in a difficult life (always struggling with something, Larry claims to have been poisoned by the KGB while in Russia in '88, then collapsed onstage a few months later), but the Flevo performance is quite stunning. Larry's band here is mostly comprised of the Finnish group Q.Stone. Also prominent are Elisabeth Ødegard on vocals and brother Charles on guitar. We begin with "Everybody Work", one of the newer songs in the set (originally a b-side) and one of Larry's better songs written during the '80s. Though the refrain gives it the feel of a Soviet workers' anthem, its message is made clear by the opening lines, "Your flesh will make you twist and shout, so with fear and trembling work your salvation out". This compound of the respective languages of rock and roll and the New Testament is pure Norman, and he adds to it by suddenly, but smoothly, breaking into "Twist And Shout" before shifting a third time to the Isley Brothers' more celebratory "Shout!", then bringing us back to the beginning. The earlier audio release took us next to "Twelve Good Men", but the DVD has a better thematic match in the manifesto song "Why Should The Devil Have All The Good Music". Everything is strong here, and it's a shame that only six tracks made it. There are an additional three listed as bonuses because the recording quality isn't the same. (It's on one of these, "My Feet Are On The Rock", that Charley plays his best solo; prog-rocker Heikki Silvennoinen handles lead most of the time, and really gets to impress on the stunning performance of "I Wish We'd All Been Ready".) Sound and picture are obviously less than you would want from a new DVD, but it's as much as you can expect from late '80s television, and for the way it grounds the event in its historical setting I'm actually quite grateful: I love the idea of Larry Norman turning up on Dutch TV in the days before multi-channel madness. I can't find anything that deserves complaint in the way this has been transferred; the menus are well presented, and the show starts as soon you hit play. Well worth having.
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