The explosive bombast of the sleeve design might be an accurate portrayal of the height of the live show, but Renaissance
are at their most warmly intimate here. Heading out on a ten-date tour of British universities in January 1976, they touched down in Nottingham on January 24 to record a show for U.K. radio broadcast, and stripped of the orchestras that are their companion on other period live recordings, at last listeners get to hear Renaissance
in their natural state. It's a spellbinding album, almost 78 minutes devoted to the group at its live peak. Epic recountings of "Song of Scheherazade" and the traditional encore "Ashes Are Burning" are the undoubted highlights, of course. But the opening "Can You Understand" sets the mood for the evening, a sweeping panorama that reminds you just how eclectic this band was, without even trying to be clever. Excellent sound quality and Annie Haslam
's liner notes complete a package that brings renewed dignity to Renaissance
's discography, at a time when the multiple reissues of their Royal Albert Hall concert perhaps dulled the anticipation for yet another live album.