(All Album Reviews by maribor)
Progressive rock pioneers Gentle Giant embarked on a tour of the USA in 1975 after being disappointed at the lack of enthusiasm they received from the fans in their own country. This album showcases their performance in Santa Monica and displays just what a great live band they were.
On this album, we can witness some quality jamming by the guys. There are also many occasions when they switch from one instrument to another during the song, but this really isn’t much of a surprise since Gentle Giant were masters at that. There is a nice drum solo on the extended version of “So Sincere”, some really good vibraphone passages and naturally the always reliable guitar solos of Gary Green.
The sound quality of this recording is rather poor. There are bootlegs and even official releases that sound much worse though (“Way of Life” springs to mind). It is rather unfortunate that the sound quality isn’t consistent. If it’s bad, it might at least stay bad all the time, it’s actually even more infuriating to go through waves of good sound, only to return to a poor quality a few moments later.
This album shows a legendary band at the height of its power. The recording won’t please the people who prefer their live recordings to sound like studio efforts. This is rough and without any overdubs. This is raw Gentle Giant, playing and jamming, just like they like it. I’m sure the Gentle Giant freaks will eat this one up, especially if you consider that this version of the album features a bonus track (“For Nobody”) from the 1977 North American tour. .