TYGERS OF PAN TANG - Hellbound Spellbound '81
January 12, 2019, 6 days ago
Remixed/mastered account of the NWOBHM stalwarts (Jon Sykes still on guitar) at the infamous Rock City club, in Nottingham, almost 40 years ago, which means it contains what most fans would consider their best material! Not sure how many of those fans are still alive, but I had the fold-out poster that accompanied their “Rendezvous” single hanging from my college dorm wall, back in '82, so this well produced, vintage 58 minute concert (during which they rip through 16 songs!) is right up my alley. All the gritty/rough edges are still here, with none of the impending The Cage commercialism anywhere in sight. Listen to the guitar tones and aggression on “Black Jack” and “Gangland”. Having seen the current line-up a couple times in the last few years, these versions are imbued with a naive youthful exuberance and conviction long since dulled by reality, age and three decades of slogging through the machine that is the music business.
Odd (edited?) drum roll intro into almost punk fueled “Euthanasia”. Worth it for Sykes solo alone. Even when they slow it down, so called ballad “Mirror”, the power still resonates. By the end of the decade, big labels (especially in the USA) would corrupt any band attempting similar minded efforts into sappy, emasculated “power ballads”. Shame. Provides a chance to hear some old chestnuts that are rarely, if ever performed anymore, like “Money”, “All Or Nothing” or the aforementioned “Mirror”. Second night of the Spellbound tour, the proper set concluded with “Hellbound” from said disc. Returning for a song encore, there's “Slave To Freedom” (still part of the live show) and a then-unreleased cover of the Small Faces “All Or Nothing”. Bit of a strange (unplanned) finale. The only other blemish being the absence of “Suzie Smiled”. Otherwise, remarkable first rate running order, top to bottom.
Youngsters (and others shamefully) unaware of the Tygers heyday would be well served starting the investigation here, a veritable greatest hits package (delivered by the classic line-up), from a sweaty club show. Captures the raw excitement of that bygone era like few other platters can (Maiden Japan EP?)