LIVE: 10cc

Sheet Music + hits = avant-pop heaven.

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“Welcome to the best gig in the world,” beams Graham Gouldman. Which it would have been if Eric Stewart, Kevin Godley and Lol Creme had turned up. Sadly, Gouldman is the only remaining original 10cc member for this show of two halves.

The first half comprises all of 1974’s Sheet Music album, then after the interval the competent band – including long-term 10cc associates Rick Fenn on guitar and Paul Burgess on drums – play the hits, ones so ingenious (notably, The Dean And I) that you want to go back in time and thank the public for being so adventurous.

This audience here is less intrepid, only jolting into life during less frenetically inventive later material such as The Things We Do For Love and Dreadlock Holiday. As for the main event, the response is muted, possibly because it’s the most ambitious live-version-of-a-tricksy-pop-record since Todd Rundgren’s A Wizard, A True Star at Hammersmith Apollo in 2010. The Worst Band In The World is sheer brilliance, Clockwork Creep a barely measurable time signature, while Baron Samedi and Hotel lurch through so many changes they appear to be performed by humans with seven hands. The epic Somewhere In Hollywood – featuring, though only on screen, Mr Godley – is warmly appreciated, but the thrillingly intricate Silly Love and artful boogie of Oh Effendi leave the crowd baffled. Still, for an album resembling The Mothers Of Invention rendering Queen’s A Night At The Opera, that’s hardly surprising.

Paul Lester

Paul Lester is the editor of Record Collector. He began freelancing for Melody Maker in the late 80s, and was later made Features Editor. He was a member of the team that launched Uncut Magazine, where he became Deputy Editor. In 2006 he went freelance again and has written for The Guardian, The Times, the Sunday Times, the Telegraph, Classic Rock, Q and the Jewish Chronicle. He has also written books on Oasis, Blur, Pulp, Bjork, The Verve, Gang Of Four, Wire, Lady Gaga, Robbie Williams, the Spice Girls, and Pink.