Seven – The Live Video was recorded at a preview gig at Warrington Hall in December 1991 before the album release. The VHS is the video companion to the album.
Protect Me (acoustic) / Bring A Gun / Ring The Bells / Sound / Mother / Live A Love Of Life / Next Lover / Heavens / Protect Me / Seven / Born of Frustration / Don’t Wait That Long
|Release Name:||Seven - The Live Video|
|Recorded:||Recorded live at Warrington Hall, December 1991|
When we expected Red Rocks, we get Warrington Parr Hall. When Tim Booth should take his shirt off and triumphantly climb the speaker stacks, he pulls on a woolly hat and settles for jittery tambourine playing. When everything’s set for a heroic guitar solo, all we get is another bloody trumpet flurry….
Seven The Live Video, then, does a pretty good job of defusing the epic aspects of the big, bold James band. Sharing an identical track listing to the current studio album – new marketing concept ahoy! – it relies on nostril-tickling close-ups rather than wide-ranging camera sweeps endowing the likes of Born of Frustration and Sound with some desperately needed intimacy.
It’s a clever trick, but it can’t disguise every weakness. Much of the video showcases a startlingly accomplished band flaunting their control and power on a batch of vaguely nondescript album tracks.
Booth – the inevitable focal point – is always immensely watchable, vibrating as if he’s permanently caught in a strobe’s fast-flickering glare, even if his jerky awkwardness is now well polished. But all the magnetic frontmen in the world would do well to enliven some of the stodgy, irredeemably pompous songs on display here.
That said, Bring A Gun and especially Ring The Bells are terrific, proving James can still be far smarter and edgier than the stadium dullards they’re increasingly compared with. Frustrating, but it isn’t quite time to lose faith.
Seven Go Mad On Stage – Liz Torres, Q Magazine
Since “Sit Down”, James passage into superstardom has continued apace. Seven instantly ensconced itself at the top of the album charts, their singles are always sure-fire successes, and they confidently moved into Stadiumsville with the announcement of a summer show art (of all places) Alton Towers.
One consequence of their ascent, of course, has been the band’s “new Simple Minds” tag, a label that they show no sign of shaking off. As this live reading of the new LP proves, James do stray close to the atmospheric pomp pioneered by Jim Kerr and Co: Tim Booth strikes the requisite Messianic poses, sidekick Larry Gott’s guitar sounds as strident as football grounds require, and the strains of songs like “Mother” and “Ring The Bells” have the aura of sense-filling hugeness that characterises the Minds’ much-maligned oeuvre.
Thankfully, James have retained a measure of sensitive fragility, infusing almost everything they do with a humanity that saves them from collapsing into bombastic emptiness. The trick is pulled off to great effect on “Sound” (this video’s highlight), a beautifully edgy opus that only benefits from an extended, suspense ridden live treatment.
It’s lapped up by an audience whose slavish adoration is astounding. Despite their unfamiliarity with almost everything performed (the concert took place a good two months before Seven was released), the crowd greets each song with rapture, prompting Booth’s trademark boyish grin to frequently spread across his face. There are times when the hysteria seems unfounded – “Live A Love Of Life” and “Next Lover” are nondescript – but when the festivities draw to a subdued close with “Don’t Wait That Long”, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that James, unlike so many of their unit-shifting contemporaries, fully deserve every adulatory scream that comes their way.
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- Warrington Parr Hall (afternoon) – 20th December 1991
- The Word (Sound) – November 1991
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