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25th Birthday Party - London, the Forum

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Album Review

On October 8 and 9, 1994, Gong celebrated its 25th anniversary with a massive festival at The Forum in London. In addition to Gong, sets were played over the two days by Kevin Ayers, Tim Blake, "Shapeshifter" Gong, Here & Now, Fluvius, Shortwave, Planet Gong, Kangaroo Moon, and the Invisible Opera Company of Tibet. This classic Gong lineup, which hadn't played together since 1977, consisted of Daevid, Gilli, Didier, Tim Blake, Mike Howlett, Pip Pyle, Steffi Sharpstrings, and Shyamal Maitra; no particular era of Gong is most represented here, but rather a mix of personalities from throughout the band's history. Judging by this two-CD set commemorating the event, it was an amazingly energetic two days, as the Gong repertoire was infused with new life, sounding fresh and current, with new variations and tunes inserted throughout. As a psychedelic and alternative rock institution, Gong proves here that it still has the vitality and ability to entertain a new generation of fans.

Biography

Formed: 1968

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Gong slowly came together in the late '60s when Australian guitarist Daevid Allen (ex-Soft Machine) began making music with his wife, singer Gilli Smyth, along with a shifting lineup of supporting musicians. Albums from this period include Magick Brother, Mystic Sister (1969) and the impromptu jam session Bananamoon (1971) featuring Robert Wyatt from Soft Machine, Gary Wright from Spooky Tooth, and Maggie Bell. A steady lineup featuring Frenchman Didier Malherbe (sax and reeds), Christian Tritsch...
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