In my opinion Live And Let Live (1984) was the best release of Twelfth Night with lead vocalist Geoff Mann. This live album documented the two farewell shows for Geoff at The Marquee in London in November 1983. The track list contains their best material, so there's no reason to be dissatisfied. That is to say, unless you've heard Live And Let Live, The Definitive Edition! The latest reissue of this legendary live album exceeds all other reissues. It comprises the entire set of Geoff Mann's farewell gigs. This double album includes a number of unreleased, remixed and remastered performances thus reconstructing the entire set from the best available sources.
For this re-release everything has been tweaked and balanced by guitarist Karl Groom (Threshold, Shadowland). The album features all tracks that were played sequentially during the two shows by Andy Revell (guitars), Brian Devoil (drums), Geoff Mann (vocals), Clive Mitten (bass, guitar, keyboards) and Rick Battersby (keyboards). Sure, some of the sources are better than others, but anyway it gives you a good idea of what happened during those emotional farewell gigs.
Before the album was recorded Geoff Mann wondered what his role in the band would be. Would he follow his original mission? Some of Mann's lyrics are Christian in nature, but only few people know how important religion was for him. Besides being a rock singer Geoff was a priest and a painter as well! Eventually he decided to leave the band but in an amicable manner. The musicians agreed to record his last performances with the band for a possible live album. However, they could only afford to record enough music for a single vinyl album of approximately 45 minutes. So, on the 4th and the 5th of November 1983 they played their last two gigs with Geoff at The Marquee. Both shows were completely sold out. Originally the music should be released on their private label with catalogue number TN007 hence the title Live And Let Live inspired by the Bond movie Live And Let Die. However, it was the MFN-label who licensed and released the album. Although the band had only paid for certain songs to be recorded, the people responsible for the recordings were so enthusiastic by what they've heard that after the second gig they presented a two-track recording of all the encores. Some of these were used when Cyclops reissued the album in 1996, but this was still an incomplete record.
I dare to say that from start to finish this live album belongs to the best ever released. Not only because of the emotional value, but it also contains music from Fact And Fiction, the band's best album ever. This true masterpiece was released in 1982 and features classics as Creepshow, We Are Sane, Human Being, Fact And Fiction and of course Love Song, the final song that Geoff performed while being still a band member. Furthermore a fantastic live version of The Collector, recorded a month earlier, has been included as well. And let's not forget the live version of Sequences that includes the lyrics and Geoff's wonderful voice. This track used to be instrumental before Mann joined the band. Of course, it's impossible to give a detailed review of all the music this double-CD has to offer, but I'll provide the information of the sources from which the tracks originate.
The Ceiling Speaks, We Are Sane and the instrumental piece The Poet Sniffs A Flower: recorded on the 4th of November 1983, first released on the original Live And Let Live vinyl album (1984).
Human Being: recorded on the 4th of November 1983 and previously unreleased. However, there's a cover of this track recorded by Pendragon for Mannerisms (1994), an album that consisted of Mann-songs recorded by several British bands in memory of Geoff Mann, who sadly passed away in February 1993 following inoperable spread of cancer to the liver.
The End Of The Endless Majority: instrumental, recorded on the 5th of November 1983 and remixed from the original sixteen-track tapes. This remix was previously unreleased.
Deep In The Heartland: recorded on the 5th of November 1983 during a soundcheck; previously unreleased.
Fact And Fiction: recorded on the 5th of November 1983, first released on the Live And Let Live vinyl album (1984).
The Collector: recorded on the 27th of October 1983, previously unreleased.
Afghan Red: recorded on the 4th of November 1983, previously unreleased.
Sequences: recorded on the 5th of November 1983, first released on the Live And Let Live vinyl album.
Creepshow, East Of Eden, Love Song: recorded on the 5th of November 1983, first released on the CD reissue of Live And Let Live (1996), remastered from the original two-track tapes.
Art & Illusion, Aspidentropy: recorded on the fifth of November, first released on Geoff Mann's solo album Recorded Delivery (2003), remastered from the original two-track tapes.
After this live album the band replaced Geoff Mann by the capable singer Andy Sears, but one can only imagine what heights the band could have reached had Geoff stayed and lived. Twelfth Night never had the success they deserved, but this album will be a great reminder of this relevant neo-prog band. It's just as exciting today as it was at the time of the first release. This brilliant reissue doesn't only contain the finest recordings of those days, but also an extensive and detailed booklet with stories, all the lyrics and wonderful pictures. This all resulted in the highest possible rating of five stars for this real classic live album!
***** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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