Sparks - Big Beat Live at Capitol Theatre (1976)

1975 will see the second Sparks mutation (after the "Island English period"), maybe one of their most deleterious and unexplainable one (but there'll be unfortunately some more in the future). Weird, in 1976 (an awfully bad year for rock music, it was urgent that punk washed that away), to adopt a half-hard rock format for such a band. Surely at the general climax has led Ron Mael to take this path (looking back at the Billboard US top 100, I don't really see such a trend in the charts but maybe I miss the point) but it was truly a cul-de-sac and a false step for the band that wasted in one year all its newly acquired credibility. I must confess that I didn't follow them at the times, and considered they were lost for the cause. It would take quite a time before I get back to them (first with Whomp That Sucker in 1981 and their synth-pop 1981-84 period but much more enthusiastically with Lil' Beethoven in 2002). So, here we are at the now mythic Capitol Theatre of Passaic in the New Jersey, with the Mael bros and a brand new band who... how to say that without being too rude... does not really match the sparkling glam playing of the previous line-up. Weird as the US backing bands of US artists that had made it in England during the 73-75 period were weak compared to their English pairs (think of John Cale for example but also Ian Hunter). Anyway, it's an interesting testimony. It was filmed and you got the video below. For this post, I tried to improve the sound quality and think I succeeded, at least substantially, so this post is a more interesting that it is supposed to be, this concert being easily available, even on a live compilation album (Sparks Live 1976-82) but with a less satisfying sound. I also created a cover sleeve with an unused picture of the Richard Avedon session, that provided the official cover sleeve of Big Beat. Catch it here. More Sparks live to come.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this one and definitely interested in more live Sparks of good quality.

All the best,

Derek from Paris

Timmy said...

Really like all these great Sparks posts.....

dkelvin said...

Thanx for the nice comment
Yes it's interesting to hear them during this period

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tomg said...

Hey, Tom again. I just read about the filehoster issue, and i'm really sorry about it. So bad i came too late. I just want to say that all your artwork it's very nice, and it's still online, ans at least your youtube uploads are still alive, so thanks for that. I hope you don't give up. Cheers!