In 2019 Rick released a limited edition 10-CD boxed set containing cleaned-up bootlegs from his career, in a similar fashion to what some other artists have undertaken through the years. They are also now being made available individually, although I am somewhat at a loss to understand why this has been included. Firstly, if it is a desk recording then it is awful, so I am guessing it is a cleaned-up audience recording instead, with all the inherent issues which bootleg buyers of a certain age will be long familiar with. These days anyone can record a half decent video of a performance on their phone, but 40 years ago it was not quite so easy to get good audio. Secondly, Rick has posted a video on YouTube which contains the full gig from just two days later from the Hammersmith Odeon, which was professionally recorded so the sound is much better.
I have not compared the two side by side, but I do wonder if there is a particular version of a song on here which is not captured elsewhere. I remember back in the eighties when I was buying and swapping any Jethro Tull recording, I could get my hands on, the ones which had most value were not those which were the best recorded, but those which had early versions of songs, or songs which were never actually recorded such as “Bomb In The Dressing Room”. Putting all that one side, the Wakeman addict that I am is intrigued to hear live versions of songs from ‘1984’, given that this was the current album. But I am sure that most Wakeman fans will do the same as me, give this double CD set a few plays and then put it on the shelf never to be touched again. I have countless live albums from the man himself, both CD and DVD, from solo performances to multiple different band line-ups, and I can honestly say they will be receiving more plays than this one.
6/10 Kev Rowland