|"Splendid and occasionally Majestic"
|The CD holds excerpts from three BBC recorded live concerts, dating from 1979-1981. Including a rarely heard and never released track "A Little Sun, A Little Rain", for the cognescenti a sort of "Joy II" with lyrics. All excellent versions, some significantly faster than the album tracks (there's a shock.) See if you can figure out from the CD, on which tracks Ivor and Banksy were racing, and who won!
Ivor (1979) - chaotic enthusiasm
PK (1980-1) - techno control.
Look out for the extra guitar solo during the extended "Billy Billy", though John is a bit low in the mix, it's a "drift away" moment. Extremely well integrated (PK) drum solo in Bright Lights. If you like the sounds that analog synths produced (the good old days) then check out the keyboard twiddlies (betraying prog roots) during Take Me Higher and Starflight, couldn't be better in my middle aged opinion. (Though not sure what happened to the keyboard mix during the latter)
The only downside is Sailing Ship, played a bit faster than the album, and doesn't need to be.
Standout track - A Little Sun, A Little Rain (I've waited 30 years for a recording, now all we need is the unreleased 80-F…)
Do we like the idea of U2 coming on to chants of "ATF" at the end of track 19?…Oh yes.
If you are familiar with ATFs live style - get this - it will bring back all those memories - the frenetic speed, the appreciative squeals from the audience, everything apart from the terrible (vocal quality, if enjoyable) singalongs.
If you are familiar with ATFs recorded music but have never seen them live - get a ticket for the Autumn tour - and get this - it will let you into what to expect.
See you in Godalming
|"The most definitive ATF live album, period!"
|I ordered "The Radio Sessions - ATF Live" last March but only got down to putting my thoughts on this superb concert album together today.
I'm from Malaysia and back in 1981, the only way for me to sample the sounds of new bands was to tune in to Radio Television Malaysia's one and only, government-run FM radio station. Every Saturday night, it aired a special programme called "Club 95", named after the station's 95.4MHz frequency. Club 95 almost always featured live bands, especially from the BBC Live Sessions.
I would always have a premium blank cassette ready to record whatever band played on the programme and if I didn't like what I recorded, I would erase the tape and reuse it for the following week".
Having getting used to the contemporary
sounds of New Wave and classic hard rock bands like ELO, City Boy, Genesis, Queen, Thin Lizzy, Judas Priest and Cheap Trick (to name as few), I just went aghast when my aural senses were presented with Laser Love, Joy, One Rule For You, Like The Power of a Jet and Check It Out.
At the time I was a budding electric guitar player but I loved the sound of the bass guitar and synthesizers even more. The amazing sounds of Peter Banks' piercing, melodic synth runs, backed up by John Russell's chunky guitar chords and propelled by Andy Piercy's imaginative, punchy bass lines just blew me away! I had never heard of After The Fire before, let alone their simple yet melodic songs which left a deep impression on me for many decades to come.
My favorite song was always "Suspended Animation" because I loved Andy's catchy bass intro and its highlight - Peter's unforgettable, melodic synthesizer solo. I could never forget his opening line: "This one's called...Suspended Animationnnn..uhh".
I must have played the tape for a year or so until it naturally wore out. I took ATF's music with me on car trips with my
parents, usually with my (then) Toshiba "Walky" tape player and headphones over my head.
I tried unsuccessfully to find this superb band's record at the local music stores but couldn't find any! Apparently nobody
in the music retail has ever heard of ATF either and I just gave up searching for this unique live recording.
Sometime in 1985, I met up with my schoolmate's cousin Zack, who happened to have a copy of "Laser Love" on vinyl. Zack didn't think much of ATF and having spent some years in the UK, brought home dozens of records which included the Laser Love studio album. Naturally I borrowed it and made a recording of the album to tape and listened to "Joy", "Laser Love" and of course, "Suspended Animation"! Somehow the album didn't have that feel and depth of the live version which to me, was like what "Live and Dangerous" is to hardcore Thin Lizzy fans.
Fast forward to 1997 or so, I managed to obtain CDs of "Der Komissar" but only because I wanted to listen to "Laser Love" and "Joy" again (unfortunately "Suspended Animation" wasn't on the CD). When ATF's CBS Recordings reissue came out a few years ago, I promptly ordered from this website and enjoyed listening to the studio version of "Suspended Animation".
One day I got wind that BBC Radio 4 streamed ATF's BBC Sessions over the Internet but missed the boat. :-( I even went to the extent of emailing BBC to play the concert again and the response I got was disappointing. They weren't sure when they would replay ATF's 1979 concert and I resigned to the fate of never getting to relive my musical teenage years.
It was pretty disheartening to me, considering that I managed to procure Dire Straits' BBC Live Sessions (which is also one of my faves), but nobody seemed to want to reissue ATF's BBC Sessions on CD.
I also spent years trying to find "Suspended Animation" (live) on various P2P music sharing sites just in case someone had a copy, but none was to be found.
You can imagine my utmost delight when I visited afterthefire.co.uk and found out the elusive ATF BBC Sessions I've been
searching all my life was included!
Wasted no time in ordering one online, and as you guessed it the first track I listened to after greedily ripping off the CD plastic was well, "Suspended Animation". I must have spent the whole day listening to The Radio Sessions - ATF Live (playing along with my bass guitar) and as I write this, I'm also playing this album on my Sony Walkman MP4 player.
I really like the live album better than the studio ones. John Russell's Les Paul has a lovely crunchy sound which cuts
very well and not getting lost in the mix. He also played with much vigor and enthusiasm, while Peter Bank's lighting
fast synth leads were so articulate with a lot of feel. As for Andy Piercy, I just love his deep, unique plectrum-picked sound that he coaxed from his Fender Precision bass!
If there's something weird I observed about this live CD, the first live track - "Laser Love" seemed to be playing in mono while the rest of the songs were in full stereo. Has anyone else noticed this too?
Anyway, I want to thank ATF.co.uk for reissuing this wonderful piece of music and at the same time, fulfilling an item on my bucket list. I've pretty much managed to procure the old stuff I used to listen when I was eighteen, well maybe except a live BBC Sessions of Split Enz. :-)
And thank you Andy, Peter, John and Ivor for those great sounds which accompanied my memorable teenage years!
This is a GREAT album to recommend to anyone who's never listened to ATF before. I would rate 10 stars if this form allows me to! :-)