Gypsy Eye has released a good soundboard from the Don't Look Back tour. It has plenty of bass but does show signs of compression and can be a little flat sounding. One thing I noticed right away was that this recording runs fast, almost 4%. Some people may find it hard to listen to without correcting the pitch.
The set contains most of the first album, about half of the Don’t Look Back album, and two unreleased songs. The first of these is listed as “Help Me”, but I think the actual name of this tune is “Shattered Images”. This song was also played on tour with the first album in ’77. The second, “This Time”, is really nothing more than a blues jam with Barry and Tom trading solos at the end.
As for the performance, Brad’s voice sounds like it is in good form but the backing vocals are definitely a little weak. Tough to recreate all those harmonies live. The guitars really hold this performance together as the rhythm section is average at best. The mention of it turning out to be a nice day makes me think this may have been a late afternoon set. Was this part of a festival? The instrumental jam here at the end of “More Than a Feeling” was also played on previous tours as well. Brad says they are going to mellow out a little, but not too much, before “A Man I’ll Never Be”. This is played on piano this time instead of guitar like on the first tour. Tom’s Organ playing during “Smokin” and “Foreplay/Long Time” really shines and these tracks are definitely the highlights of the set. “Smokin” is also extended with a Kansas style interlude and an added guitar solo.
The cover states that this is an unreleased complete soundboard recording. This may or may not be true as “Television Politician” and “Don’t Be Afraid” were played just a month earlier during their tour of Japan. I also detected two edits. One at the end of “Feelin’ Satisfied”, and one that cuts into the guitar solo right after “Smokin”, making me think this could be a radio broadcast that was edited to save time.
If you collect or are a big fan of the earlier stuff, this is a must have. Early Boston recordings don’t come around too often, let alone soundboards on silver disc. Good marks go to Gypsy Eye for releasing a nice looking and decent sounding package that uses photos from the correct era. My only complaint would be that it wasn’t speed corrected first.