Big Country

Live At Rockpalast 1986 & 1991


  • 3CD+2DVD
  • Date : 26.10.2018
  • Package : 3CD + 2DVD Digipack
  • Running Time CD : CD 1: 78:33 // CD 2: 60:42 // CD 3: 36:39
  • Running Time DVD : DVD1: approx. 88 min // DVD2: approx. 111 min
  • Video Format : NTSC / DVD9
  • Audio Format : PCM Stereo
  • Picture Format : 4:3
  • Region Code: 0
  • FSK: 0

Big Country – “Live At Rockpalast 1986 & 1991”

The tragic death of BIG COUNTRY’s founder, lead singer and main songwriter Stuart Adamson in 2001 robbed music of what James Dean Bradfield of the Manic Street Preachers has called ‘absolute genius’.

Adamson’s guitar playing was, Bradfield continued, ‘like a force of nature – the sound of thunder coming over the hills.’ That sound, that brilliance, remains for old fans to revel in and new ones to discover on the band’s studio albums and live performances. And of course in the current manifestation of BIG COUNTRY still touring the world, featuring original members Bruce Watson and Mark Brzezicki.

Germany – both East and West – was always hugely receptive to BIG COUNTRY, and today Bruce Watson remembers the frequent tours with great affection:

“Germany has always been fantastic for us right from the early days and our first tour there in 1984,” he says. “We would always take maybe two or three weeks to spend in the country and do all kinds of gigs including festivals like the one where we were playing in East Berlin with Bryan Adams at the same time as Michael Jackson was playing in West Berlin!”

And coming to Germany was always a highlight of any European tour.

“It was always a pleasure doing the Rockpalast gigs.” says Watson. “I remember in Essen we were staying in a massive hotel, so big it was like an airport terminal, opposite the local army barracks and we would watch the soldiers parading from our windows.”

That would have been the performance on 15 March 1986 at the Grugahalle in Essen captured on this release. This was the beginning of the tour in support of BIG COUNTRY’s third album “The Seer”, and saw the band performing material from their first three albums which was astonishingly consistent and powerful.

Much has been made of the twin-guitar Celtic sound Adamson and Watson produced, with the use of the E-Bow and other effects producing something – to Adamson’s annoyance – frequently compared to bagpipes. But particularly impressive from the 1986 concerts is the consummate musicianship of all concerned, from Brzezicki’s complex drumming to Butler’s rock-solid but fluid and imaginative bass. Overlaid, of course, with the intricate but immensely powerful six-string work from Adamson and Watson.

Nowadays, Bruce Watson – currently duetting on guitar in the ‘new’ BIG COUNTRY with his own son Jamie – laughs: “Our guitar parts sound a lot more complicated than they really are! In fact they’re not that difficult to play. Stuart and I did so many overdubs in the studio that what we would do before a tour is sit down and listen to the record, and just work out which were the most important sounds, the most important guitar parts, and then we would determine how to produce them on stage with just the two of us.”

By 1991, and the September Rockpalast gig at the Biskuithalle in Bonn, things were different. The band was touring in support of the “No Place Like Home” album, but the touring lineup did not include Mark Brzezicki, who had played on the record. And there was now a keyboard player.

“We had Chris Bell from Spear of Destiny on drums,” says Watson, “and it was hard for him as he had to get Mark Brzezicki’s drum parts just right. Colin Berwick was the keyboard player with THE BIG DISH (Scottish pop group) and I think it was easier for him as he was really doing fills and could work them out for himself in the live context.”

The commitment of the band to the enthusiastic audience is evident, and while the sound of the band had moved, at least on the new material, towards something less overtly Scottish, the joy and inclusiveness of the performance was and is, as ever, thrilling.

From the perspective of today, both the 1986 and 1991 shows make plain the power and pertinence of the songs and their content. Says Bruce Watson:

“I think Stuart’s lyrics seem very relevant today, what with the political situation we’re facing – all the difficulties and darkness of society now, in both Europe and America. Stuart’s lyrics were often very incisive and bleak, or looking at bleak political situations, but harnessed to music which was really uplifting. It’s music which is maybe prophetic in some way – maybe Stuart was a bit of a prophet. It’s one of the strong points of BIG COUNTRY, and why we’re relevant today.”

Tom Morton


 

Tracklists:
CD1 Grugahalle Essen 15. März 1986
1.    Wonderland 04:54
2.    Fields Of Fire 03:58
3.    Where The Rose Is Sown 04:50
4.    Rain Dance 04:37
5.    Remembrance Day 04:17
6.    Just A Shadow 04:38
7.    Steeltown 05:25
8.    Look Away 04:07
9.    Chance 06:01
10.    The Teacher 04:37
11.    In A Big Country 05:39
12.    Inwards 05:00
13.    Harvest Home 04:23
14.    The Storm 07:53
15.    Lost Patrol 04:59
16.    Tracks Of My Tears 03:15
Total: 78:33

CD2 Biskuithalle Bonn 06. September 1991    1/2
1.    We're Not In Kansas 07:30
2.    King Of Emotion 05:21
3.    Look Away 05:03
4.    Republican Party Reptile 05:18
5.    Beautiful People 06:01
6.    Winter Sky 04:41
7.    Thirteen Valleys 05:56
8.    Wonderland 08:33
9.    Ships 06:23
10.    In A Big Country 06:16
Total: 60:42

CD3 Biskuithalle Bonn 06. September 1991    2/2
1.    Leap Of Faith 05:12
2.    Chance 07:43
3.    Peace 04:22
4.    Fields Of Fire 07:18
5.    Mannish Boy 05:23
6.    Keep On Rockin'In A Free World 06:41
Total: 36:39

DVD Grugahalle Essen 15. März 1986
1.    Wonderland 04:54
2.    Fields Of Fire 03:58
3.    Where The Rose Is Sown 04:50
4.    Rain Dance 04:37
5.    Remembrance Day 04:17
6.    Just A Shadow 04:38
7.    Steeltown 05:25
8.    Look Away 04:07
9.    Chance 06:01
10.    The Teacher 04:37
11.    In A Big Country 05:39
12.    Inwards 05:00
13.    Harvest Home 04:23
14.    The Storm 07:53
15.    Lost Patrol 04:59
16.    Tracks Of My Tears 03:15
Total: approx. 88 minutes

DVD Biskuithalle Bonn 06. September 1991
1.    We're Not In Kansas 07:30
2.    King Of Emotion 05:21
3.    Look Away 05:03
4.    Republican Party Reptile 05:18
5.    Beautiful People 06:01
6.    Winter Sky 04:41
7.    Thirteen Valleys 05:56
8.    Wonderland 08:33
9.    Ships 06:23
10.    In A Big Country 06:16
11.    Leap Of Faith 05:12
12.    Chance 07:43
13.    Peace 04:22
14.    Fields Of Fire 07:18
15.    Mannish Boy 05:23
16.    Keep On Rockin'In A Free World 06:41
Total: approx. 111 minutes


 

Photos:

http://www.mig-music.de/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/BC_Git_0001.jpg

http://www.mig-music.de/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/BC_Git_001.jpg

http://www.mig-music.de/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/BC_Git_002.jpg

by Manfred Becker

http://www.mig-music.de/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/BC_Git_91.jpg

http://www.mig-music.de/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/BD91_Bass_WDR-Foto_2257064.jpg

by Kerstin Stelter