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British Tour '76

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Album Review

The explosive bombast of the sleeve design might be an accurate portrayal of the height of the live show, but Renaissance are at their most warmly intimate here. Heading out on a ten-date tour of British universities in January 1976, they touched down in Nottingham on January 24 to record a show for U.K. radio broadcast, and stripped of the orchestras that are their companion on other period live recordings, at last listeners get to hear Renaissance in their natural state. It's a spellbinding album, almost 78 minutes devoted to the group at its live peak. Epic recountings of "Song of Scheherazade" and the traditional encore "Ashes Are Burning" are the undoubted highlights, of course. But the opening "Can You Understand" sets the mood for the evening, a sweeping panorama that reminds you just how eclectic this band was, without even trying to be clever. Excellent sound quality and Annie Haslam's liner notes complete a package that brings renewed dignity to Renaissance's discography, at a time when the multiple reissues of their Royal Albert Hall concert perhaps dulled the anticipation for yet another live album.

Biography

Formed: 1969 in London, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s

The history of Renaissance is essentially the history of two separate groups, rather similar to the two phases of the Moody Blues or the Drifters. The original group was founded in 1969 by ex-Yardbirds members Keith Relf and Jim McCarty as a sort of progressive folk-rock band, who recorded two albums (of which only the first, self-titled LP came...
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British Tour '76, Renaissance
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