Watching a DVD from the seventies line up of The Enid has been a wish of mine for many years. I finally can watch it in my living room now, but it almost hadn't been possible to watch one of their concerts performed at the Hammersmith Odeon theatre in London on Friday March 2nd, 1979. Their record company at the time PYE Record, decided to wipe the original camera tapes because they decided to not pursue a video release. Strange, because in the week before this concert took place, PYE Records decided to have the show shot.
The whole show was shot using five cameras with audio recorded by Virgin Mobile.
However, the soundtrack had survived and was remarkably good. All that remained of the video was a rough mix of the show done on the night by the video company who had no idea of what to expect. The great audio and a recently discovered VHS copy of that rough video mix was recently donated to The Enidi (The Enid fan club) by Francis Lickerish who located the tape a little while ago. Thanks to this former Enid guitarist, they could put together a DVD of almost that whole show from the Hammersmith Odeon. Only Francis Lickerish's intro to Fand and Albion Fair were left out. For technical reasons, on the night they were not recorded.
But who cares! After all, a DVD with the title Live At Hammersmith Odeon with almost 90 minutes of footage from that concert is better than no footage at all.
The concert at the Odeon Hammersmith was done to support the Touch Me album. You could say that the band was at their peak during this period both in terms of popularity, and also musically. The previous five years had seen The Enid gradually build a large and dedicated following of fans releasing the classic progressive rock albums In The Region Of The Summer Stars (1976), Aerie Faerie Nonsense (1977) and Touch Me (1979). It's obvious that a selection of songs taken from those albums were done during that special moment at the Hammersmith Odeon. In those days it was very usual that the band start performances with their version of England's National Anthem. Therefore you can also enjoy God Save The Queen on this release. It is followed by Mayday Galliard from the band's second album. Two pieces that are still performed nowadays are next. Judgment and In The Region Of The Summer Stars from the debut album show that the band is in great shape. The line up of Francis Lickerish (guitar), Steve Stewart (guitar), Dave Storey (drums and percussion), Robert John Godfrey (keyboards and vocals),William Gilmour (keyboards), Tony Freer (keyboards and oboe) and Terry Pack (bass) hardly make any mistakes. Band leader Godfrey does not allow his fellow musicians to make mistakes and demands that everybody is completely focused just like a classical musician who reads the music from a paper sheet. Therefore, you almost get the idea that some of the music comes from a tape machine. But with three musicians behind the keyboards it's obvious that the musicians reach the same kind of level as they do on their studio albums. More songs follow after the two pieces of music from their debut album but it's little use to mention them all. All of the tracks from the band's first three releases are very well performed in a very serious and professional way. Despite the serious side of the music performed, the band also knows to bring some funny things to the show such as Dave Storey's bizarre version of Cliff Richards' Summer Holiday performed as a percussion solo, or the way Robert John Godfrey sings The Troggs' Wild Thing during the encore. In style, the band ends their set with The Dam Busters and Land Of Hope And Glory and gives you a very good moment of the well known Night Of The Proms event. You almost want to sing along or put your hands in the air to participate.
It's absolutely marvellous to see the old footage of a progressive rock band that most of the time tried to sound like a classical orchestra, but it has to be said that not everything on this disc is of very good quality. The original source of the material is mostly to blame. There are many technical problems on this DVD. The picture quality is very soft with not too much detail. Also, there are numerous drop-outs, glitches, and tracking errors visible on the screen throughout the show. Occasionally, the video is slightly out of sync with the soundtrack. Also, you can see that the people who shot the film did not know the band on stage that well. Sometimes the wrong musicians are filmed during a certain scene and you'll see the person who plays a solo too late. But due to the fact that this material from the archive is so unique, you can't give a bad verdict to this release. It's way better than the old footage that came up from the Twelfth Night vaults that was released on DVD as Reading Rock'83 (see review). This DVD contained mainly amateur shots from a band that was hitting its peak in those days, just like The Enid did on this release. Anybody who wants to see The Enid in modern day standards should watch their DVD Live At Town Hall, Birmingham (see review). But for nostalgic reasons, I will play the old stuff one more time because the music is so damn good!
*** Henri Strik (edited by Robert James Pashman)
Where to buy?
All Rights Reserved Background Magazine 2013