The live album. All the bands in the 70's had them. Whether a single, double or even triple LP, it was the stop gap between studio albums or the contractual obligation filler. There were good ones and bad ones, just like their studio counterparts. Here, I present some of my favourites from that time of excess packaging and too much vinyl.
This first one isn't really a complete live album. Released in 1977, Gong Live Etc, was a 2 LP compilation of live material from 1973 and 1975, BBC sessions and a couple of studio outtakes. I think this was released as a mid price set. If memory serves me right, I think I paid £3.99 when it was released. Belying its mid price tag, the packaging was quite deluxe. The records were each in their own sleeves, which were covered in pictures of the band. These slipped into the single sleeve, where the band pics could be seen through a die cut outer sleeve.
This was my first experience of Gong, though I knew about Steve Hillage, as his star was in the ascendancy in 1977. I loved the jazzy sound of the band with all these synth whooshes and Hillage's soaring guitar, all backed by the excellent Howlett/Moerlen rhythm section.
Virgin have released a CD version back in the 90's, as shown, knocking off one of the studio tracks to fit the album onto a single CD. It doesn't do justice to the original vinyl edition. There were plans, when Angels Egg and You were remastered back in 2004, to reissue Live Etc as a 3CD box set, but there were licensing issues which halted its release. Shame, it's a great album, with some fantastic performances from Gong's wild and wonderful glory days.