What does it sound like?:
What does it all *mean*?
As John Peel said of them on the Glastonbury Fayre Album
Back in the early seventies I was introduced to this band by the ‘big boys’ and you either liked what Gong were doing or wondered why they were doing it in the first place. I recall seeing them at Bradford uni at about two in the morning at a Freshers’ Ball and reading in an interview with them that students had been fighting after the gig depending on which side of the fence they fell.
One of the ‘big boys’ I saw recently said that he didn’t want to listen from stuff from then in case it didn’t stand up to scrutiny and spoiled fond remembrances, so I’ve done it for him. I donned my Gong boots and with a plate of camembert (batteries not included) by my side I aurally immersed myself in the discs.
So what do you get?
12 CDs and a DVD
* The First 4 Virgin Records studio albums plus bonus tracks
* First CD release of the original Flying Teapot masters. Beautifully remastered with previously unreleased bonus mixes.
* First CD release of Shamal from the original masters. Superbly remastered with previously unreleased bonus mixes.
* The complete John Peel sessions from BBC Radio One from 1973 and 1974.
* 2CDs of full gig at Club Arc En Ciel, Roanne in 1973
* 1CD of full gig at the renowned free concert in Hyde Park, London in 1974
(Part of the reason for wanting to hear all this is that I’d hitched down to that there London for the Hyde Park gig 45 years ago and wanted to listen again).
* 2CDs of full 1975 gig at the London Marquee Club including first live recordings of tracks from Shamal and Steve Hillage’s debut solo LP, Fish Rising.
* 2CDs entire gig at The Bataclan, Paris in 1973
* 2 tracks recorded at the Edinburgh Festival in 1973
* Includes the previously unreleased quadrophonic Pye and Westlake Studio mixes of You.
• Notes by Gong archivist Jonny Greene of the Gong Appreciation Society and artwork including rare and previously unseen art work by Daevid Allen.
Plus a snazzy 64-page illustrated lyric booklet with art work (unfortunately not available for review) which is a shame as the band were a visual delight, at the aforementioned Bradford gig their light show was a laser shone onto a mirror mounted speaker and reflected onto the wall behind the band, Roadies had placed small propeller mounted teapots on the front of the stage. Bloomdido wore a beret with joke shop eggs and bacon atop.
Listening to the live concerts you can hear a band trifurcating and indeed not long after there emerged from the band’s break up Daevid Allen’s Gong, Pierre Moerlin’s Gong and Steve Hillage solo.
If you enjoyed Gong back then you’ll enjoy this now, if however you were of the opposite persuasion then you’ll still wonder why they did it. I’m just glad that they did.
Goes well with…
Might suit people who like…
Pot headed pixies