|Issue 9 - December 1972|
Brown was bottom of the bill, a great number of people turned up at the
Mayfair with the express desire to see the man - they weren't disappointed.
Arthur gave, perhaps, the best performance both musically and visually
that I have seen for a long time. There was an amazing moment at the beginning
of the set when Arthur lay down a fairly simple rhythm and the audience
joined in clapping and stamping - then gradually added some complex rhythms
on top, drawing the audience along with him.
The amount of power that Arthur exudes is tremendous. Though he only lets loose on one number now (and the rest of the time he stands behind and manipulates the drum / synthesiser); the staring eyes, the menacing glares that he gives the audience, is enough to replace his old idiot dancing.
When he does start his dance routine he is like no-one else in contemporary rock. Few rock artists give off the energy that he does during this part of the set (except Townshend) - the strobe lights at full flight, Arthur in his red long-johns slowly starts to move his arms, more like physical exercises at school than dance. Then, amazingly, he does the most perfect imitation of a ballet dancer: right off pat the pirouette, the hand movements - everything; and as the music begins to build reaching for the climax, Arthur begins to really move; arms, legs, body everywhere; lights flashing, music thundering, the highlight of the act.
The rest of the band must not be forgotten as they bear the musical burden. As has been said by one well-known rock critic, Andy Dalby must be one of the most melodic guitarists regularly gigging in Britain today. His solos are beautifully constructed and a joy to listen to. (Try 'Sunrise' on 'Galactic', 'Zoo Dossier' and 'Hymn' on 'Kingdom Come', Arthur's last two LPs, to see what I mean.) The rest of the group mesh beautifully, and the new organist (replacing Goodge Harris) seems a real find, using the synthesiser to particularly fine effect.
The songs themselves are presented in fine contrast; from the lyricism of 'Space Captain' (hopefully on Kingdom Come's next LP) to the atonality of the completely improvised numbers, and it seems that this is the balance that Arthur has been seeking for some time. One hopes that he again finds favour with the image-loving public and becomes the institution he deserves to be.