Samson - Live In London 2000

Year of Release: 2002
Label: Mystic Records
Catalog Number: MYS CD154
Format: CD
Total Time: 59:13:00

When writing a review of an album by an artist I'm not familiar with, I try to learn all I can for the purposes of the review. Such was the case with this CD, Samson's Live In London 2000. My first stop was the Mystic Records site, from whom this was released (or rather, re-released as it had been out in Europe earlier). And there I learned of the passing of Samson guitarist and namesake, Paul Samson. And though I didn't know him, and had only heard of the band via the fact that Iron Maiden vocalist Bruce Dickinson had once been the Samson vocalist, it is with a rather heavy heart that I write this review.

It is especially difficult because I don't have wonderful things to say about this release. Not that I don't think Paul Samson was a great guitarist, or that vocalist Nicky Moore can sing, or that Chris Aylmer is a good bassist or that the mysterious drummer Thunderstick is good at what he does -- it's that the production and sound quality on this live release is bad, bad enough that I often couldn't really hear whether the performances are good or not. I thought perhaps it was my CD player...but having played it on more than one, that isn't the case. Okay, I may be overstating things just a bit, because if I turn up the volume on it, a little more of what was recorded comes through ... I realize it's a live release and so will not have the clarity of a studio release... what it sounds like is a bootleg, to be honest. And, given that the photographer and recorder is the same person, I'm going to guess that this is a bootleg... a bootleg recorded in a very tiny club. That the stage shot that shows the entire band and audience also shows that the cage surrounding Thunderstick takes of most of the stage, one might think this is the case. In fact, however, it was at the London Astoria 2 (now The Mean Fiddler). Maybe I'm being too catty ... but I can't get over the feeling ... it's like you're standing outside the venue, unable to get in, yet tantalized by the going's on inside. Though, again, with the volume turned up, at least you're in the doorway to the venue. With high end systems, one can adjust the levels to improve things (I didn't for this review). I have to think that Samson was aware of the overall poor sound (though he was likely hearing much louder and in headphones or something0 - he is credited as producer - and felt the historical value outweighed whatever else might be true about the release.

I will say this, I like Samson and I like what I hear music-wise enough to check out the studio releases... Listening closely one can tell, to be honest, that Samson was a ferocious guitarist and that, but for the sound, this was a pretty good show. Since the Samson didn't perform live often after the whole NWOBHM scene faded and changed, this does serve as a historic document, it being only their third "official" live album. It features their most popular tracks, "Riding With The Angels," "Mr. Rock 'N' Roll," "Red Skies", and "Don't Get Mad, Get Even." There is one new track, "Brand New Day" which is from the upcoming new studio release of the same name (with Ian Ellis on bass and Billy Fleming on drums).

Ratings wise: performance 3/5 (sometimes lead and backing vocals are out of sync), production sound 2/5, overall...3/5.

[When this was released in Europe, it was a 2CD set, the second disc a video disc featuring "Red Skies," "Earth Mother," "Thunderstick's Swedish Dance," and "Riding With The Angels"]

Also released by Zoom Club Records (ZCRCD48)

Test Of Time (5:37) / Vice Versa (5:22) / Room 109 (3:20) / Turn Out The Lights (3:21) / Brand New Day (5:33) / Don't Get Mad, Get Even (9:15) / Red Skies (5:04) / Earth Mother (5:17) / Riding With The Angels (8:27) / Tomorrow Or Yesterday (2:35) / Mr. Rock N Roll (5:18)

Paul Samson - guitars, backing vocals
Nicky Moore - vocals
Chris Aylmer - bass
Thunderstick - drums

Survivors (1979)
Head On (1980)
Shock Tactics (1981)
Samson (1981)
Before The Storm (1982)
Mr. Rock 'N' Roll (1984)
Don't Get Mad, Get Even (1984)
Last Rites (1984)
Head Tactics (1986)
Refugee (1990)
Live At Reading '81 (1991)
Samson/1993 (1996)
Thank You & Goodnight (1996)
Joint Forces (1996)
Burning Emotion: The Best Of Samson 1985-1990 (1996)
Masters (1999)
Past Present And Future (2000)
Live In London (2001/2002)
There And Back (2001)
Riding With The Angels (2002)
The Samson Anthology (2002)

Genre: Rock

Origin UK

Added: August 11th 2002
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 491
Language: english


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