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Live at Hammersmith '79

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★★★★☆
(13 Reviews)

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  • Nugent is an amazing talent and a true Metal God. That said, this is far from his best live work. The sound quality is average (Hammersmith is an infamously difficult venue for recording engineers), the band was tired after a grueling tour, band members were not getting along, Nugent’s handlers were pushing him in musical directions he did not want to travel … and all of this comes through in this very strained live performance. Avid Nugent fans may enjoy this snapshot of musical history, but most others will not. Between songs Nugent babbles like an auctioneer on uppers, talking down to his audience and being annoyingly and childishly profane. He also makes it clear that he is superior to his band (“I TOLD the boys tonight that …”) and there is a noticeable lack of cohesion between Nugent and his fellow musicians, all of whom had reached their limit with Nugent by May of 1979. The stops are not tight; the solos are sloppy and unstructured; and Charlie Huhn, who is an excellent vocalist, reaches to deliver his lines on cue with the minimum of effort. One easily imagines a time clock at the edge of the stage that band members use to clock in and out of this minimum wage performance.At Hammersmith, Nugent was alone in his enthusiasm — or rather what was left of it at this stage in his career arc. By agreeing to perform three shows in one day to stuff a promoter’s cash register at the end of their European tour, Nugent stretched an angry, tired band past it limit. Nugent’s own frustration is evident in his histrionic screeches, dissonant vocals, missed cues and late lead-ins on some of the best songs in his catalog. This is a guy who wants to bash his guitar over the heads of his band mates, not produce the platinum-quality stadium rock he perfected in the mid-1970’s!For those who remember Nugent at his best, you may want to preserve your warm memories of this great artist by skipping this recording.

    Posted on December 31, 2009