Galahad - Two Classic Rock Lives,
When I was staying at Stu Nicholson’s house recently, I was told to go into the studio and have a good luck at the CDs and merchandise and see if there was anything that I didn’t already have. I was somewhat surprised to come across this double CD release from 2008, as it was the first time I had seen it! Back in 1996 Galahad released a single CD live set called ‘Classic Rock Live’ on their own label, and at the time I had quite a moan at Stu as they hadn’t included “Exorcising Demons” in the set, to which I was told they could lonely afford to release a single CD and they couldn’t fit everything in that they wanted. It has appeared on a couple of live albums since then, but this was their live album released on CD and I did always feel that it was an opportunity missed.
But, that has now been rectified by this double CD digipak from Poland’s Oskar, as the first CD contains a set from Mister Smith’s on 28th October 1994 and the second is the original album, recorded at Rotherham CRS on 22nd April 1995. Given that the recordings were only six months apart, there is no surprise that there are similarities between the sets, but the earlier set contains ten songs instead of eight, and there are some beauties to be heard here as there is not only ‘Exorcising Demons” but also “Parade” and “Lady Messiah” and the wonderful tongue-in-cheek (literally) “The Dentist Song”. The last was a number that I always felt was much better live than the studio version, as the humour came over much better.
I wasn’t at either of these gigs, but this was a time when I was seeing the band regularly, and is the line-up I have seen most in concert. By now Neil was making “Room 801” his very own, while the rest of the band had the confidence of having been together a few years, and were riding the crest of the neo prog wave (if there ever was such a thing). Listening to these recordings in 2017 there is a sense of naivety and innocence that has long gone from the scene, and the Galahad of 1994/1995 couldn’t have thought that they would still be recording and gigging in more than twenty years later (although only Stu and Spencer are still there). There are times when the sound at Mister Smiths is a little muddy, especially during the bombastic sections of “Exorcising Demons”, but this all seemed so very familiar to me, taking me back to venues like The Railway, The Standard, Whitchurch and so many more.
Fans who have come to the band since Dean has been involved may be surprised at how very different they used to sound, and how far they have moved on from their roots, and may find this not to their taste. But for those of us who were involved in the scene in the early Nineties in the UK will listen to this with a massive smile on our faces.