Barclay James Harvest were already famous for their 1980 free concert on the western side of the Berlin Wall when, some eight summers later, the authorities invited them back to celebrate the city’s 750th anniversary. An estimated 170,000 fans saw them make history as the first Western rock band to perform an open-air concert during the pre-glasnost era.
BJH were pursuing a more commercially orientated sound with the mundane Face To Face album, and had been reduced to a trio of Les Holroyd, John Lees and Mel Pritchard – even stadium-sized audiences couldn’t mask the fact that, in musical terms, these were less glamorous times for them.
So, it’s a case of swings and roundabouts for this newly remastered, expanded edition of the event’s souvenir takeaway (first issued on various audio formats and VHS in ’88). With a tweak to the sound quality, five songs rescued from the cutting room floor and the show’s original running order restored, this is a wet dream for completists.
A song as drab and soulless as Hold On wouldn’t have been out of place on one of Toto’s least inspired albums, but sure enough, classics such as Mockingbird don’t disappoint.