|Alan Parsons - 'Eye2Eye Live in Madrid' (Frontiers Records)|
|Written by Russ P|
|Thursday, 18 March 2010 07:00|
Alan Parsons is undoubtedly most well known for his engineering work on Pink Floyd's 'The Dark Side Of The Moon', which is funny considering how many of us actually know what an engineer does. A few years after 'The Dark Side Of The Moon' Parsons released the first of 10 albums with co-founder Eric Woolfson under the moniker The Alan Parker Project. It could be said that they were ahead of their time when compared to other production-led bands like Massive Attack and Zero 7.
Like those bands The Project didn't have a singer per se just a pool of session musicians brought in for each song. Certainly for me this, together with the Pink Floyd connection, is what brought me to The Project in the first place. Being partial to a little Cozy Powell I loved the vocals on 'Tilt' and one Elmer Gantry led straight to the classic Parsons album 'Eye In The Sky'. Gantry only sang on one track though - not nearly enough to satisfy. Same goes for David Paton from oft-overlooked stunning 70's band Pilot. He only featured on one song and was one of six singers on this album - an inconsistency that ultimately alienated me from becoming a true aficionado of The Alan Parsons Project.
Final factoid on the decade long career (in album years) of The Alan Parsons Project - they never played live. So here we are in 2010 and technology has moved on. No more twiddling knobs and fumbling patch leads into sound generators that take up half the stage and take one articulated lorry to move. So Alan Parsons, unleashed and mobile, treads the boards in this performance filmed and recorded in Spain.
The set list deals exclusively with Parson's output from the 70s and early 80s with the sole exception of 'More Lost Without You' which fast-forwards to 2004AD. If I said earlier that the number of singers that the project used was their Achilles' heel then I must also give the band kudos for the fact that they still have six singers but they are all fully-fledged live band members. The drummer Steve Murphy takes on Elmer Gantry's vocals on 'Psychobabble' and does a more than passible job. Guitarist PJ Olsson takes on the late Eric Woolfson's vocals on the US hit 'Time' and Alan Parsons himself comes out from behind his production console and takes up guitar, keyboards and vocals.
As live albums go it doesn't score highly on the Über Röckömeter - the closest it gets is with a minor flutter of the needle due to the Asia-like harmonies in set closer 'Games People Play' but for Alan Parsons connoisseurs this is a genuine and unexpected gem that not only faithfully captures the band's live performance but also showcases the individual talents of the touring band.