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King King- Live

King King- Live

Oh how I have waited for this release, I cannot say it has been a patient wait as it has been a bit painful to say the least, the reason is I was at the recording of the CD part of this amazing package. It doesn’t happen too often you get an “I Was There” moment with live recordings but I remember it like it was yesterday. Walking away from that venue thinking that has to be a recording, everything was just perfect, from the band, the crowd, the sound…everything lined up perfectly like the gods had decreed now was King King’s time.

I am going to focus on the warm night in Glasgow as I have first hand knowledge, I wrote a review at the time and even five months on from the gig it still stands out clearly in my mind.

Live albums used to be something special. As a teenager, I looked forward to a live album so much more than a studio album, as it would reflect the bands I had followed and seen live many times. It was more raw, more powerful, and ultimately, a far better experience. It also usually meant a gatefold sleeve, which I still love to this day. Maybe I was a bit spoiled, as I was there when the likes of Whitesnake, Rory Gallagher, Iron Maiden, Rush, Rainbow, and Judas Priest released their now famous live recordings. The live album was a celebration, a landmark for a band, but that has all become a bit stale over recent years. I cannot name a live album in the last decade that has come anywhere near those famous and unforgettable releases… that is, until now…

Glasgow has had its fair share of live recordings, with the cream of the crop being AC/DC, Status Quo, The Kinks, Gary Moore, and Big Country. There is now another to add to that impressive list, as King King release their full show from the Glasgow 02, ABC, a show that very nearly was not recorded at all! What a travesty it would have been for the world to never have heard it. I was there that night, as I have been for every King King show in this city. I have memories from each and every show, but this recording is very special. 

It was what the band class as their biggest homecoming headline show. They took a gamble and booked a far bigger venue than they had previously, and just like Waynestock “if you book it, they will come” and come, they did. Following on from two huge support slots (Gun and Thunder), the interest in King King had built to a crescendo. 

Everything on this night just snapped together to make a perfect evening. The weather was sunny, the crowd was in a party mood, and the band was on fire. From the moment they walked out onto that stage, with massive smiles on their faces, you knew you were in for a hell of a night. From The opening chord to the last wave goodbye, it was sheer brilliance. The audience hung on every word and lyric that came out of Alan Nimmo’s mouth. They stared in awe at the guitar and keyboard dual with Bob Fridzema, and lapped up the rhythm section of Lindsay Coulson and Wayne Proctor, playing in perfect unison and laying down the backbone for this brilliant blues rock band. Pay close attention to “Rush Hour”, and the joy (and lung capacity) of this Glasgow choir. This song sums up both the night and the quality King King possess.

This show and this recording is laden with classic songs and moments. Anyone who has seen this band live knows just how good they are and with an arsenal that comprises of gems like “Crazy”, “A Long History Of Love”, “Stranger To Love” and the best live version of Frankie Miller’s “Jealousy” you will ever hear outside the great Scot himself.

For me this recording is special in so many ways, you already know I was there but trust me when you listen to this yourself you will agree what a defining moment it is. This was also the boys biggest ever “Homecoming” gig and the venue was packed to the rafters(and to think the band were worried no one would turn up) but for me the biggest and proudest part of this is the fact that no matter all the bands differing birth places these are Glasgow boys, we cherish them as our own.

As I walked through those oh-so familiar streets that night, I thought back over the many King King gigs I have attended in this city, from the small bars, the ferry, to the support slot to the band Thunder, in one of this city’s biggest venues, lovingly known as the Armadillo. For me, watching the boys over the years, this was a breakthrough moment. I have been a fan of Thunder for some time (as have King King), and as soon as I saw this I knew the fans would lap up King King with fervour. You only had to look at the band’s Facebook page during that tour to see the mass of comments and the online chatter… this was a defining moment. As I walked through the doors of the venue that night, all these thoughts, and the memories of some of the most incredible performances I had witnessed, running through my head, wondering how were the boys going to top what has gone before? Something they done with ease and something that is now recorded for posterity and written in the annals of Blues history, something that cannot be undone.

If you only have money for one album for the rest of the year this should be that purchase. If you have no money I condone(without accepting any blame) stealing it and once you have it Sit down, turn up your speakers, and get lost in a Glasgow audience at its loudest, and a band we call our own play at the pinnacle of their abilities. Listen to them rise to the occasion and pull off the performance of their career to date. 

Review Ritchie Birnie

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