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Colosseum – Live

Review: 035
Date: 30 Jul 01


Rating: 2 Stars

Jon Hiseman - Drums
Dick Heckstall-Smith - Tenor and Soprano Saxes
Dave Greenslade - Organ and Vibes
Dave ‘Clem’ Clempson - Guitar and Vocals
Mark Clarke - Bass and Vocals
Chris Farlowe - Vocals

Tracks Listing:
1. Rope Ladder To The Moon
2. Walking In The Park
3. Skelington
4. I Can’t Live Without You
5. Tanglewood’63
6. Encore… ‘Stormy Monday Blues’
7. Lost Angels


A band born out of the British Blues era, who then got into the Jazz Fusion scene with a vengeance. Definitely trend setting in their style of composition, inspiring a whole generation of bands to follow with different degrees of success in their footsteps.

The band was Jon Hisemans vehicle for his freedom of musical expression, after both himself and the superb Sax player Dick Heckstall-Smith had been firstly in the Graham Bond Organization, (where Hiseman had replaced the Cream bound Ginger Baker) and John Mayall Blues breakers (which is a bit misleading as at the time were themselves dabbling in Jazz Rock). They decided to launch their wings with their own band impressively titled Colosseum in 1969 with the very young David Greenslade on keyboards, Tony Reeves on bass and James Litherland on guitar and vocals, the long and uncertain yellow brick road to stardom was undertaken, after two comparatively successful albums, Tony Reeves and James Litherland left to discover their own particular Nirvana, and were replaced by the much traveled Mark Clarke on bass, the much more rock orientated Clem Clempson on guitar and the unlikely choice of Chris Farlowe on vocals.

These shifts is line up were obviously very disturbing to the musical content, so much talent in one band can actually be a handicap, and expectations of their loyal fans for the band to retread past glories, written when half the band had not even heard of Colosseum also never made for easy inter band relations.

So after one more album they fragmented into many different parts, Jon Hiseman to form Colosseum II with Gary Moore, Dick Heckstall- Smith to sessions, Dave Greenslade to lead the British progressive rock movement with his own double keyboard band Greenslade, Mark Clarke to Rainbow and Uriah Heep, Chris Farlowe to Atomic Rooster and Clem Clempson to live his Rock ‘n’ Roll dreams in Humble Pie.

This live album was released post-humously and although not perhaps having the brilliance of the first two albums still shows 6 top class musicians in their prime and the band certainly give us some fine moments, particularly in “Walking In The Park” and first encore “Stormy Monday”, where the forget their differences and just have a good old blow, unfortunately Chris Farlowe’s buffoonery in mid song (breaking into Sunny boy, and the band pain fully not following him) leaves you in no doubt that here is one round peg trying to fit into a square hole.

Perhaps not a fitting climax to a great band, but I shall leave you with the great drummers reason for unleashing this on the public.

“From the Inside Colosseum can be a pretty exhilarating experience and one which I have always wanted to share. Close your eyes turn it down to deafening and these tracks will put you in the driver’s seat.


Pawed by Mott The Dog
Remastered by Ella Crew


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