I dropped into Hard Off for a record deal and walked out with this classic seventies double album.
It was a huge album back in the day, it sold eight million copies in the U.S. alone, and the rest of the world bought 3 million. In fact, in 1976 when this came out it was the best-selling live album of all time. Some of the songs were recorded at Winterland in San Francisco (where the Sex Pistols played their last gig), and most of the others at an arena in New York. Peter and his band were an arena band in the day. On the Rolling Stones list of the top 50 live albums of all time this comes in at number 41.
Many of the songs are recognizable, a few of them get regular air play on classic rock radio stations. It is the crystal clear recording that really makes this record though. Each of the instruments and Peter’s voice comes through clearly, and even the crowd who “Whoo”, “Woot”, and “Yeeeeah” a lot come through almost down to each person.
This is not an essential album just for the music alone, it is pretty standard stuff, but I think it is a good album to have in the collection for it’s place in history and that great live sound. My copy of the album is absolutely pristine, just a little wear on the corners, but it looks though I bought from new and never played it. It is a Japanese pressing too.
Garth Brooks now has the record for highest live album sales with his 1998 double album selling 20 million copies. Peter had some success after this album, but he hit a rough period in 1978 after some bad choices and a near-fatal car accident. He worked with David Bowie by playing on the Never Let Me Down album, and sang and played on the subsequent Glass Spider Tour. According to Peter this helped revive his career. These days he is still playing music, and has appeared on The Simpsons and Family Guy.
Here is an old video. Part of the way through the song he does his talk-box bit, something he popularised in the day.