Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Review: "Born to Boogie: The Concerts, Wembley Empire Pool, 18th March 1972" - T. Rex

by Claudia A, Music-News.com

The cycle of releases leading up to the Blu-ray release of Born To Boogie – The Motion Picture kicked off on Record Store Day on April 16 with this numbered 2-LP limited edition colored vinyl set in a gatefold sleeve. Listeners are treated to two Born To Boogie concerts – the afternoon concert and the evening concert – take your pick.

The outer front sleeve, without doubt, captures the spirit of Marc Bolan and we see him riding a tiger (is it for real or is it surreal), with the background pattern using the same image divided into tiny squares (also used for the reverse). Open the gatefold and we look at two cube-shaped images on either side, displaying images of Bolan and band, as well as the venue.

LP-1 is made of bright yellow vinyl, and is protected by an inner sleeve illustrated with pink rabbits, cakes and a country house in a park. There’s also a photo of our Marc in action, though one must wonder whether the blurred image was chosen deliberately (and if so, why?), or whether it was originally a reject.

The ‘5.30pm Afternoon Concert’ kicks off with compere Emperor Rosko’s announcement, “Get ready to welcome one of the greatest, just back from the Coast to Coast tour in America” before a dynamic guitar intro brings us to first track Cadilac – Marc’s vocals are crisp and clear and toward the end a prolonged and heavy guitar solo adds the oomph factor.

On Jeepster (which is performed pretty straight) the beat is stomping and punchy and the song sees a frantic outro. Baby Strange is performed in a pretty straightforward manner with no gimmicks, but that doesn’t mean it’s a lesser song!

The beauty of stripped down acoustic comes to great effect on Spaceball Ricochet with its mellow and harmonious intro and of course its dreamy melody. Both Girl and Cosmic Dancer are much in the same vein: mellow, beautiful and acoustic.

The B-side breaks into the funky groove and the electrifying dance beat of Telegram Sam. Next up, Marc announces Hot Love with the words “Here’s some good hot love” – the composition is played in a pretty straightforward manner though gets additional spice kicks from its heavy riff interlude.

Of course, Get It On has got to be an epic and it is. Clocking in over 11 minutes, it’s everything from scorching to simply great. It’s riff heavy and the glistening guitar solos with wah-wah fuzzed up chords come across top notch - followed by a percussion solo. It all descends into a mighty instrumental jam and one can hear ecstatically screaming fans in the background though not before long… when piercing and hard guitar riffs cut once more into the mayhem. Pure rock ‘n’ roll dynamite!

You’d never guess there’s an encore (only kidding), with Rosko asking, “T.Rex, ladies and gentlemen… how about that?! Would you like to hear one more?” and immediately his very words get drowned under an almighty “T.Rex! T.Rex! T.Rex!” chorus descending from the audience. The encore in question is Summertime Blues and its catchy and rocking beat does the Eddie Cochran original more than proud!

On to LP-2, which comes in vibrant green vinyl and holds the ‘8.30pm Evening Concert’. The LP is protected by an inner sleeve which is illustrated by stars and other images, and two more photos of Marc in action – once again really quite blurred.

The set list/track listing is exactly the same as the one performed at the afternoon concert, though there are slight variations as far as announcements (Rosko announces the ALMIGHTY T.Rex) are concerned and other little detours. Obviously these were live concerts so band and audience went with the flow and the spur of the moment. On Spaceball Ricochet, fans can be heard screaming after Marc picks the first few chords in his guitar, and on Cosmic Dancer, Marc announces, “This is a song lots of people asked for…” Just like during the afternoon concert, here too the undisputed highlight is Get It On and we can hear Marc addressing his many fans: “I wanna see you move, I wanna see you in action. This is the first time we played in England since six months and it’s such a groove to be back!” The version of Get It On is much the same as the afternoon one and if anything, it’s even more electrifying and dance orientated!

Even the encore is the same, with Rosko teasing the audience, “Are you ready for one more? I wanna hear your appreciation!” followed by the chanting of fans. Summertime Blues sounds just like it did in the afternoon gig though possibly even more cranked up.

These two memorable concerts took place on March 18, 1972 – hard to believe as it all sounds so fresh and crisp and well… timeless! The talent is comprised of Marc Bolan on vox and guitars, Mickey Finn on percussions and congas, Steve Currie on bass and Bill Legend on drums. And yeah, the legendary Tony Visconti produced this slice of rock history.

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