Barclay James Harvest was, for many years, one of the most hard luck outfits in progressive rock. A quartet of solid rock musicians John Lees, guitar, vocals; Les Holroyd, bass, vocals; Stuart "Wooly" Wolstenholme, keyboards, vocals; and Mel Pritchard, drums with a knack for writing hook-laden songs built on pretty melodies, they harmonized like the Beatles and wrote extended songs with more of a beat than the Moody Blues. They were signed to EMI at the same time as Pink Floyd, and both bands moved over to the company's progressive rock-oriented Harvest imprint at the same time, yet somehow, they never managed to connect with the public for a major hit in England, much less America.
Cut live at the Reichstag in the German city, Berlin is very different from The Live Tapes, with a rather leaner, harder-rocking sound, and more of a dance-rock feel as well, and is also miked much closer for a more intimate sound. "Mockingbird," "Child of the Universe," and "Hymn" are all performed rather more tightly than earlier live renditions, and with more flamboyant electronic effects. "Sip of Wine" represents the group's harder, post-progressive-era sound, while "Nova Lepidoptera" is a pretty piece of space rock, and "Life Is for Living" is so upbeat with its disco-dance sound that it could almost pass for an ABBA cut.
The official police count of the audience at this concert was 175,000 - however, being a free concert, there were obviously no ticket sales to count, and people would have come and gone all day. One estimate put the total attendance at a quarter of a million, but even allowing for some East Berliners listening behind the Berlin Wall, that's probably rather on the high side.
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