AMON DÜÜL II: LIVE IN LONDON (1973)
1) Archangels Thunderbird; 2) Eye-Shaking King; 3) Soap Shop Rock; 4) Improvisation; 5) Syntelman's March Of The Roaring Seventies; 6) Restless Skylight - Transistor Child; 7) Race From Here To Your Ears; 8*) Bavarian Soap Shop Rock; 9*) Improvisation On Gulp A Sonata.
To be more precise — recorded at the Greyhound Club in Croydon (South London), December 16, 1972. The first consideration triggered by this date is that they either do not play, or do not put on record even one single track from either Carnival In Babylon or Wolf City: the entire setlist only pays homage to Yeti and Tanz. This is strange, because, in the studio, Amon Düül II would never again return to that kind of sound — perhaps they really intended this record to be a swan-song summary of their craziest, «jungliest» stage.
That said, on that fateful night in Croydon they did crank down the dial on craziness, if only a little bit. All the selections are relatively short, with the Tanz tracks bearing the main brunt of simplification. One of the recent CD releases «corrects» that benevolent gesture by adding a bonus live-in-the-studio re-recording of 'Soap Shop Rock', held in a Bavarian studio a few weeks later — a good old seventeen-minute-long jam — but it actually sounds out of place here, and not the least because, most of the time, the band's playing is mixed in over a bunch of distracting chaotic electronic noise (possibly simulating the complex movement of a million wheels and cogs inside the Artist's Brain?). These days at least, the effect is just as annoying as seeing old TV show videos of great artists marred by the addition of «colorful» «psychedelic» effects (any «classic rock» lover will know what I'm talking about here).
The main album, however, is killer, and even if none of the renditions overwhelm the studio originals, Live In London still deserves our full attention, to complete and certify the band's reputation as consummate professionals. It is one thing to build yourself your personal jungle in the studio, and quite another thing to retain that sonic density and keep all the psychedelic fumes without the benefit of overdubbing or taking another take. But this is what they do, from the opening crushing riff of 'Archangels Thunderbird' and right down to the closing... er, crushing riff of 'Race From Here To Your Ears'.
The actual musical differences between the studio originals and the live interpretations are minimal, and too subtle either to notice or to merit discussion. Apart from completing your informational picture on the band and giving the major fan a little more variety in his listening choices, Live In London is not one of the all-time live greats, because the tunes really do not kick more ass than they did in the studio. But there is no reason anyway why the record should not get a thumbs up: any chance to revisit the jammy greatness of classic A.D.II, especially from a band that only had three years of potential left within it (though, admittedly, no one could guess that in 1973), has to be taken without second thought.
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