Well, this was a nice surprise! Who knows why they decided to release those Caught Live
recordings in 1977 when they had this performance from 1970's Isle of Wight Festival lying around in the vaults? Well actually, there could have been a number of reasonable explanations for it ...
For one, that Mellotron sounds a bit rough here - sometimes it plays ominously in the background, and then LOUD in unexpected spots, as though Mike Pinder didn't really have control over it. It was also bending around very unnaturally - veering out-of-tune and then back in-tune. At one point, as I was writing the track reviews, I thought it sounded like he was unintentionally scoring a haunted house movie (that out-of-whack Mellotron would've sounded perfect for a haunted house movie, one on an extremely low budget, that is).
But I'm sure the main reason it took so long for the band to release this live album was that the recording quality is sketchy. Caught Live
at least sounded pretty clean and it had a cool stereo effect. However, I'd be surprised if this thing was recorded with anything better than a mid-priced hand-held recorder (I know next to nothing about recording equipment, but I'm sure I could have gotten this recording quality from a cheap tape recorder I once owned in the 90's.) At least it sounds like the tape recorder was actually on stage with them - some live albums I've heard were obviously bootlegged from someone sitting in the audience.
The recording quality isn't bad enough to ruin the listening experience for me, if anything's going to ruin the listening experience it would be the quality of the actual singing. That could also be said about Caught Live
. Whilst The Moody Blues' studio albums were practically next-to-none as far as perfection goes, their live performances weren't always that spectacular (exceptions to that can be found on Live at the BBC
, but then that was a sort of catalog of brief performances that didn't really come together as a cohesive whole. Say what you want about this live album - at least it's a cohesive set).
by Reviewer: Don Ignacio
(blogging at Don Ignacio's Album Reviews