Live at Rockpalast 1978 + 1980
MIG Music - MIG90497 (2 DVD set) or MIG90492 (2 CD set)
CD available from MVD Entertainment Group.
DVD Available from MVD Entertainment Group.
A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
Before there was Elvis Costello & the Attractions, there was Graham Parker & the Rumour…but not much before. Parker's Howlin' Wind came out in 1976, and Costello's My Aim is True issued in '77, but the two were quite similar in a number of respects, issuing somewhat quirky, solid, basic rock and roll. Where Costello was a Buddy Holly geektype, Parker was somewhat a Steve Marriott-esque wharf rat, in aspect the kind you weren't quite sure what he was up to. Parker's presence and influence in rock and roll has always been greatly over-hyped while Costello was fortunate enough to be highly rewarded while hideously overlauded. Where Elvis' LPs sold ridiculously well, Parker had to content himself with median chart positions, #18 at very best but usually in the 20s and 30s…as low as the 90s and then completely falling off elsewhere.
Still, when you wanted just a noisy, energetic, thumping good time, it was hard to beat Parker and crew. Nothing complicated, no extravaganzas, just well delivered songs in a non-stop rave-up, and Graham was always 100% into his materials. DVD 1 of the 2-DVD set works backwards, presenting the latter concert first (DVD 2 is from 1980), and that was a good strategic move. There's a story behind the event, though. The sextet was not the only, or even the headline, act that night. They were actually bottom billed beneath The Police and Jack Bruce's ensemble of the day, Jack Bruce & Friends. Normally, that would call for a somewhat tepid response from ticketholders for first-up Parker, as many could be counted on to arrive late, show only for the top bill, and all the usual ingredients in a multi-card evening. Not so when it came to him & the Rumour.
As the concert plainly shows, the place, the large Grugahalle venue, was packed, and the fans were wildly enthusiastic, boisterous, dead-nuts into it before the group struck the first chord. This enthusiasm diminished not a whit as the 82-minute set progressed but only increased. Those damn Germans, they love their rock and roll! Knowing the competition they were up against, the band was kicking hard, machine-gunning one song after another, giving the fans no respite, driving them crazy. Two of Graham's men came from the old Brinsley Schwarz group, which had also included co-founder Nick Lowe, later Ian Gomm, but always Brinsley and Bob Andrews, the latter absent from this date, replaced by the much beloved Nicky Hopkins.
The '78 gig on disc #2, in a much smaller hall, was a 10-piece affair including a four-man horn section, and thus the sound's much fuller but just as raucous, firecrackery from the initial downbeat until the last note of the hour-long set. That tour was in support of GP&TR's sophomore release, Heat Treatment and the boys were hungry, it's obvious, operating from gut and sinew. The CD set of the shows includes every song on the DVD format, 2-1/2 hours all told, but, as one would expect, the DVDs benefit not only from the visuals but an enhanced party feel as well.
Track List: DISC 1
Track List: DISC 2
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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