Angel Air 2016
English soul spinners’ homecoming triumph, as preserved for posterity in sound and vision.
Not very much known outside of the UK, these singers have been charming Merseyside for nigh on five decades now, but though the band’s heyday has long passed, when they hit the stage of the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall in 2013, the notion of time felt non-relevant at all. Still, the document of that show, in DVD and CD form, creates cognitive dissonance,’70s music contrasting contemporary streetwear, yet there’s no musical dissonance, so the effervescent opener “Street Corner Boogie” comes off rather logical. And because the group’s core fans are mostly female, “Ladies Night” – a part of disco potpourri – is a real-time description of what’s going there.
People in the front rows groove from the start, at first seated and then getting to their feet on “Whenever You Want My Love ” to reach out for Chris Amoo’s hand, while “Can’t Get By Without You” sees spectators, even on balconies and in the boxes, dance and sing carrying the chorus of “You To Me Are Everything” across the venue. The vocalists in fine shape, it’s Eddie Amoo’s threadbare falsetto – the main feature of “Children Of The Ghetto” and prominent strain in the harmonies of “You’ll Never Know What You’re Missing” – that uncovers an entire emotional sway of the veterans’ current operation. Their age doesn’t get in the way of everybody jumping like kids during “Ain’t No Stopping Us Now” where their accompanists’ chops are highlighted.
It’s impossible to resist the rhythm changes of the 11-minute “The L8 Medley” as well as the mellifluous throb of “Cry Me A River” whose chorus marries past to the future, and the insistent jive makes “Can You Feel The Force” a rhetorical question. Strong as ever, the ensemble’s new studio tracks – beats-driven bonuses here – including the update of fellow Liverpudlians’ “Eleanor Rigby” is a testament to TRT’s vitality: that’s the focus of this package.