Atomic Rooster: The Lost Broadcasts
'The Lost Broadcasts' from Gonzo Multimedia is a series of DVDs made up of a selection of performances which, in many cases, have not been seen since their initial TV broadcast. This release sits comfortably within the Gonzo portfolio, which has so far seen releases from Yes, Gong and Chris Thompson among others.
The nine tracks on this DVD were recorded for German television between 1970 and 1972, and capture the band in a state of flux – the first few tracks feature the band’s original line-up, while the recordings from 1972 feature Rick Parnell on drums and Chris Farlowe taking over lead vocal duties.
The footage as presented on the DVD is very much of its time, and seems very primitive when viewed from a distance of forty years. In many places I found that the visuals were just too much – too colourful, too lurid and completely overwhelming. I genuinely felt that my eyes needed to rest after watching the DVD.
Musically the musicianship is, as one would expect from one of the early pioneers of Prog Rock, flawless and it is a credit to the seemingly never-ending change of personnel that their performances do not suffer in the absence of earlier members. This is particularly noticeable on 'Black Snake' – one of Atomic Rooster’s best known songs. It is presented on this disc in two versions: one with the original line-up, the other with Farlowe and Parnell.
I found the sound quality to be rather flat and bass heavy. This may, however, be an issue with my TV’s sound rather than the DVD.
One of the more disappointing aspects of the disc is the repetition of two tracks – the disc contains two versions of 'Black Snake' and three of Breakthrough. Although the multiple versions of each song are interesting from the point of view of seeing the band morph over the years, it does rather grate on me – if I’m going to pay for a CD or DVD, I’d much rather there were no duplicate tracks.
Looking and sounding like the heirs apparent to Ten Years After, this DVD captures some tremendous performances and some inspired playing. The visual effects were such that I found it difficult to watch for any length of time, and the duplication of tracks disappointed me a great deal, but, all told, the music more than makes up for any shortcomings.