Uncle G’s FUN Music Reviews: ABWH – Live At The NEC_Oct 24th 1989 (2012)

Date PublishedSeptember 27, 2012Classic Rock Radio (UK)

Uncle G’s FUN Music Reviews
Spotlight: Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe (Live at the NEC_Oct 24TH 1989)
Released 2012Gonzo Multimedia (2 CDs / 1DVD)

By Gary “Uncle G” Brown

Talk about something coming from WAY OUT of left field. Got a new ‘Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe’ (from here…typed ABWH for short) product in my possession. Do you remember them? A spin-off of the progressive rock group; Yes. Four core ex-members. Together and recording under the name, ABWH (remember…for short), they did one studio album, back in ’89. Out of that came a couple / few singles, some videos, a behind-the-scenes featurette (making of the album), and a live offering; An Evening Of Yes Music Plus. Professionally recorded. A double CD covering the audio, and a VHS tape housing the concert experience that was; ABWH. Or was it? Is now out on DVD, by the way. All ABWH products in the Uncle G Collection receiving repeated plays over the years. One of my favorites is a cassette single I have for the song; Brother Of Mine. The flip side of the tape is a studio song not included on the ABWH album; Vultures. Infectious tune, with lyrics one remembers, years later after hearing it last played.

I raised a question and now will provide the answer. Sure it was. The guys put on an awesome show as only they could. One thing was missing; Tony Levin. The dude caught ill after a show in Houston, and as a result, missed some performances. Jeff Berlin who previously worked with Bill Bruford stood in. Did a super job !!! Berlin’s a superior bass player. Unfortunately, those performances with Jeff are not from the concert I saw and heard, which by the way, was in Houston on the 28th Aug 89.

I kept my eye on Tony Levin that evening. The first time when Levin and Bruford are playing in a live concert setting, I was attending. I have already been listening to these guys for years. Was a King Crimson fan. Tony not only played with them. Here are a few others; Peter Gabriel, Alice Cooper, and John Lennon. I’m just naming a few super classic rock acts that he’s performed with. So I notice while Tony and the band is on stage, that something seemed weird. Like a bad vibe. I’m sensing something wrong. There was; Tony’s appendix. He’s sitting on the drum riser while playing. Almost looking doubled over in pain. Didn’t miss a beat, that I being an audience member was aware of. I had my appendix out, back in ’09. HURTS like HELL when it goes. So now he’s on the sidelines getting it taken care of, and in the process missed the BIG Cable broadcast concert ABWH was doing in California (Shoreline Amphitheatre, San Jose). That’s where the officially released live material came from. That is, until now.

This concert includes bass player Tony Levin. Almost two months later from the Houston gig. This time around being recorded professionally, by BBC Radio. The two audio discs cover the setlist. Not exactly in order, but there are limitations on how much material fit on each disc. It’s all there, and that’s really what matters most.

One stand-out offering not on their first official live release is a duet between Bruford/Levin. Not that I’m saying that one track is worth the price of this alone. If a Yes / YesRelated Collector, it is. Would have been a good enough reason for me. Tony’s playing is all over this. He’s part of the original project playing bass on the studio album. This to me, is a proper live recording of ABWH in concert.

As I said, a must-have for the collector. The people who are already fans. But also a must-have for even the most novice prog rock music listener. These guys were a real prog SUPERGROUP. They most certainly were. The music contained within the two audio discs, essential, Prog 101. Worth of study, and more than capable of providing that all too groovy style of progressive rock music. The mellower moments are beautiful. Interwoven with rock that together makes some of the most interesting sounds these gentlemen ever performed together. Add their greatest accomplishments, performed on this one stage, with the BBC broadcasting it out to the masses. A truly magical radio moment. And if you missed it, or just like to have a copy of it in your collection, well then here it is.

Here’s a breakdown/track listings of both audio CDs:

Disc One

  1. …the very tail ending of; Benjamin Britten’s Young Persons Guide To The Orchestra / Jon Anderson – Solo (with Milton McDonald and Julian Colbeck_supporting players): Medley: Time And A Word_Teakbois_Owner Of A Lonely Heart_Time And A Word (closing).
  2. Steve Howe: Clap
  3. Steve Howe: Mood For A Day
  4. Rick Wakeman Solo
  5. Long Distance Runaround / Bill Bruford (solo)
  6. Birthright
  7. And You And I
  8. I’ve Seen All Good People

Disc Two

  1. Themes / Bruford-Levin Duet
  2. Brother Of Mine
  3. Jon: Dialogue (mentions BBC Radio recording the event)
  4. The Meeting
  5. Heart Of The Sunrise
  6. Roundabout
  7. Starship Trooper
  8. Order Of The Universe

Comes with a bonus DVD. It’s entitled; ABWH – Off The Wall (a short film by Julian Colbeck). Behind the scenes stuff. Contains pretty cool fly-on-the-wall moments.

Rating: Using the one to a five-star rating system, Uncle G gives the ABWH – Live At The NEC Oct 24th 1989 CD (with bonus DVD); 5 stars! Like I would give this anything less? In a way, it closes a chapter. A true representation of the ABWH Tour that rocked all over the World. For just the one project together, these guys did an OUTSTANDING job. From demos to the studio recordings, to the live shows. It’s a shame this line-up/group didn’t go any further than it did. Here’s a cool reminder…a sample…of what Uncle G was digging on ’89. Good memories !!

One last thing, this comes in a DVD case, and not a CD one. They reprinted the tour program. You find it when you open the case. It’s right there on the left side. Nice booklet actually. If I would have known back then that I’d be getting this now, I would have purchased a tee shirt instead.

Promotion: Glass Onyon PR – the BEST music promotion in the business. If interested… first-time customers, say “Uncle G” recommended you so you could save a few bucks. Oh…please tell Billy that I said hello – www.glassonyonpr.com

End of Story

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