A RARE privilege to see some of the finest rock moments from the past 50 years, played by some of the original cast.
Love are at best a cult band, known, if at all, for the fact that 1967's Forever Changes routinely appears near the top of the best album of all time lists. Rightly so, like Astral Weeks or Pet Sounds it vaults into new places; gorgeous, dark, lyrical and unexpected. While predictable personal and business issues stifled their attempts to break out of California, their finest work has never dated.
The band’s talisman, Arthur Lee, died in 2006 so original guitarist Johnny Echols was the focal point, with Baby Lemonade, Lee’s regular touring band, doing everything else.
The packed, hot venue was in for a treat. Playing most of Forever Changes, alongside startling, and startlingly different songs from their debut record Love, then De Capo, Love were a band on a meteorite rise. Always interesting, the early garage rock, like My Little Red Book, had swagger, but the melodies really blossomed from De Capo onwards. Lead singer Rusty Squeezebox managed both delicate Bryan Maclean Orange Skies as well as the punchier numbers such as You I'll Be Following.
Forever Changes is a wonderfully hard album to pin down. Colourful titles such as Maybe The People Would Be The Times Or Between Clark And Hilldale or The Good Humor Man He Sees Everything Like This hint at the vivid lyricism they contain.
Lee’s songs are full of choruses, explosions and enigmatic, prophetic lines. Like the album’s title, the majesty of the record is the movements within songs. Best of the bunch was You Set The Scene, a pocket seven-minute symphony.
With material this strong, and a crack band able to subtly fill in some of the original orchestrations, it could hardly fail. While Echols took the audience’s overt adulation in his stride, the night only went off the boil while he took a rest. The latter era songs fell into period clichés, but the apocalyptic 7 And 7 Is (a Brexit theme tune in the waiting) set the seal on a very fine concert.