Thursday, 21 August 2008

The Big Dish - Liverpool 19 May 1985

I have amassed a number of Big Dish live recordings which were sourced from various places over the years. This show is the earliest Big Dish performance I could find, recorded in Liverpool in May 1985, several months before the release of the band's debut album 'Swimmer'. This early Big Dish rarity captures an exciting time for the band, about to embark on the release of their first single 'Big New Beginning' for Virgin Records. I'm not sure whether this set was a support slot for Lloyd Cole due to the its brevity. I know the band toured with him in its early days. If anyone can provide more information on this or the exact venue, please get in touch.

The gig is a soundboard recording and, as with all such shows, it's unfair to make an ultimate judgement on the performance due to the limitations of the quality. The set opens with 'Swimmer's opening track 'Prospect Street' and immediately it becomes apparent that the band's sound lacks the expansiveness of its later live shows. In fact, the sound is fairly uniform throughout with jangly guitar and bass riffs dominant. This becomes rather wearing after a few tracks.

Next up is the bouncy 'Justice' followed by a somewhat plodding 'Everlasting Faith' where the band seem out of tune. Things take an upward turn with 'Another People's Palace' with the keyboards and guitars truly complimenting each other for the first time in the set. The uptempo 'Presence', the eventual b-side to 'Slide'. maintains the monentum nicely, even if it does feature a guitar riff scarily reminiscent of Ultravox's 'Vienna'.

The set continues with an interesting paradox, a fast-paced 'Jealous' followed by 'Swimmer', introduced by Lindsay as "another slow song". The former is perfectly listenable but lacks the intimacy of later live versions (check out the live b-side to '25 Years' recorded at Barrowland), however 'Swimmer' is somewhat ponderous with lacklustre keyboards and the mid-point guitar break which is so integral to the song's appeal had yet to be devised.

The set climaxes on two high points, the band's single at the time 'Big New Beginning' and the closing 'Beyond The Pale'. Lindsay's vocal performances on these two tracks are his best of the evening and both sound vibrant and coherent.


Prospect Street
Everlasting Faith
Another People's Palace
Big New Beginning
Beyond The Pale

1 comment:

framo said...

Any chance of posting this somewhere? I'd love to hear it as well as any other live stuff you are happy to share!!