From: Shadsfax Issue 39 (2003) 5–6

The Shadows
"Live At The Paris Olympia"
Magic Records (France) 3930235 [2CD]
Released August 2002

CD1 Shazam! / Man Of Mystery / Lady Of The Morning / Dialogue / Black Eyes / Dialogue / Shadoogie / Guitar Tango / Faithful / Tiny Robin / Honourable Puff Puff / Sleepwalk / Dialogue / Marmaduke / Foot Tapper / Apache / The Rise And Fall Of Flingel Bunt / Dance On! / Lonesome Mole / Dialogue / Nivram / Wonderful Land / Turn Around And Touch Me / Music Makes My Day / Silvery Rain / The Frightened City / Dialogue / Little B

CD2 Somewhere / Let Me Be The One / Medley: Lucille: Rip It Up: Blue Suede Shoes / FBI Bonus Tracks (“Live In Japan”): Shazam! / Dance On! / Nivram / Apache / Exodus / Foot Tapper / A Little Bitty Tear / Putting On The Style / Slaughter On Tenth Avenue / Don’t Make My Baby Blue / The Rise And Fall Of Flingel Bunt / Somewhere / Little B / FBI

The 1992 EMI CD of material selected from the numbers performed at the Paris Olympia on 12/13/14 June 1975 purported to be the “Full Concert Version”, presented “in the actual order of the live performance”. From this new Magic release however it turns out that (a) there were two more numbers on the bill: Black Eyes and Silvery Rain; and (b) the running-order was different from that claimed by the EMI issue (unless there were variations over the three days): Wonderful Land and the rock medley now appear in different slots.

Be that as it may, this CD does not add to our stock of Shadstrax: because the originals of Black Eyes and Silvery Rain proved unsatisfactory (to whom??), the studio versions have been worked in instead, not very convincingly if the idea was to create an impression of a live performance in its totality: although we hear both of them being introduced by the group, they end in total silence, reinforcing the idea that they are not the real thing!

Anyway, the reconstituted concert occupies one disc and a portion of the next, so room has been made for the original spoken elements, which were pruned on the EMI issue; these are even track-listed (track 4 has the engaging title “Presentation by Themselves”!). In fact, these interludes are badly miked: they are too resonant, and often as a consequence very indistinct. Never mind, the music is pretty good, providing an opportunity to savour the multi-talented John Farrar’s considerable contributions to the group’s sound, both vocally and instrumentally; and also a relatively rare chance to hear Alan Tarney live on bass guitar (and excellent he is too).

The Shadows could always count on a rapturous reception in France and especially at the great Olympia. They were popular too in Japan, but the audience for the 1969 Sankei Hall concert which makes up the “Bonus Tracks” on this issue was a different kettle of fish entirely: rows of people clapping appreciatively, and not a single full-throated yell to be heard. Indeed, the group does not seem wholly at ease with this audience, and it seems to have come as a bit of a shock to them as musicians to find this concert marketed (Hank Marvin has roundly condemned the entire performance on more than one occasion). In fact, the sound of the lead guitar is thin and weedy (this Apache has to be heard to be believed), while Alan Hawkshaw’s keyboards are often much too intrusive. Still, completists who missed the (expensive) 1991 Japanese CD release of the set (EMI TOCP 6603) will be pleased with this new Magic offering.

As expected, the presentation of the set is exemplary, with an attractive fold-over disc container, and disc trays offering some fine b/w and colour shots of The Shads in the John Farrar era. All this and colour shots of a beaming Bernard Broche too, resplendant in Cliff Richard teashirt, in the company of various Shadows, and also a clutch of brilliantly illustrated earlier Magic Shadows releases. Well done Bernard, you have done the company proud.


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