STEVE HILLAGE – Madison Square Garden 1977

Cleopatra 2015

Cutting the Big Apple in a cosmic way, dragon guitarist goes for a hot persuasion.

STEVE HILLAGE - Madison Square Garden 1977

STEVE HILLAGE –
Madison Square Garden 1977

Most prestigious New York venue might seem a challenging prospect for a former GONG stringer to sway, but one shouldn’t underestimate Steve Hillage who, in two year’s time after his American debut, would rock a Glastonbury crowd. Opening for the fellow space-dwellers ELO at MSG, the guitarist couldn’t unfold the full scope of his otherworldly explorations yet such a disposition resulted in a highly energetic – tighter than the better-known German concert from the same period – show that’s documented here. Since neither of the two albums the Brit had released since going solo didn’t cause a stir in the Stateside charts, it was only logical for Steve to concentrate on those rather than introduce material from the then-forthcoming “Motivation Radio,” but the good-vibe waves his band sent into the crowd from “The Salmon Song” to “It’s All Too Much” easily got them going.

It would be impossible to resist the harmonic celebration of “Hurdy Gurdy Man,” although momentum is being gained progressively on stage, as the groove shaped by two CB’s – Clive Bunker and Colin Bass – propels the otherworldly shuffle towards the meeting point of all things motorik and relaxed. The pivot of it may lay in the sparse, if pregnant and Wagnerian, release of “Meditation Of The Dragon” and the fusion-kissed tension of “Lunar Musick Suite,” yet it’s a gradual motion down there. So, embroidered with bluesy flurries now, “Hurdy Gurdy Glissando” sprawls farther and wider on stage than in the studio, glazing its chant, a weave of Hillage and Miquette Giraudy’s voices, with a pop bounce.

It’s a fitting preparation for the Mothership’s landing and a perfect performance in its own right. Bonus tracks off the recent projects which see Steve Hillage guitar chiming in with Rick Wakeman and William Shatner have little to add to it.

****4/5

October 13, 2015

Category(s): Reviews
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