Ambrosia

Hollywood Sportatorium (Hollywood, FL)

Dec 8, 1978

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  1. 1 Not As You Were 04:10
  2. 2 Nice, Nice, Very Nice 06:01
  3. 3 Holdin' On To Yesterday 05:28
  4. 4 The Brunt 08:12
  5. 5 How Much I Feel 06:00
  6. 6 I Wanna Know 06:29
  7. 7 Life Beyond L.A. 06:17
  8. 8 Can't Let A Woman 05:49
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Burleigh Drummond - drums, vocals
Chris North - piano, keyboards, vocals
David Pack - guitar, keyboards, vocals
Joe Puerta - bass, guitar, vocals
Royce Jones - vocals
David Cutler Lewis - piano, synthesizer

Ambrosia was an unknown, unsigned LA-based band just starting out in 1969 when the members attended a show at the Whiskey A Go Go. It was a new, critically acclaimed U.K. band called King Crimson, featuring both Robert Fripp and Greg Lake. That show, and especially their songs like "21st Century Schizoid Man" were so powerful and groundbreaking, they shook Ambrosia's music foundation to the core. At their next band practice, Ambrosia immediately went from being a typical late-'60s pop band (who, like so many others took influences from The Beatles and The Beach Boys), to being an ensemble of musicians now dedicated to the progressive music of bands like Crimson, ELP, YES, and Gentle Giant. Eventually both sets of influences would collide and Ambrosia would become a progressive pop band.

Spearheaded by guitarist David Pack and keyboardist Chris North, Ambrosia soon began experimenting by blending radio-friendly pop melodies with complex progressive rock, jazz and acoustic music. By 1971, they had attracted the attention of LA pops conductor, Zubin Mehta, who included the band in a special event with the LA Philharmonic called the "All American Dream Concert." Despite the media attention, it would be several more years before the group landed a deal on Warner Brothers. They had transformed into a pop band with progressive leanings, and although they had a musical style that ran the gambit from rockers and jazz, they seemed to hit the mark with romantic ballads. Their debut, Ambrosia, was released in 1975 and spawned a hit single "Holding On To Yesterday" and the FM track, "Nice, Nice Very Nice," which was based on Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle. Although the critics would never really understand the band and therefore never rallied behind their music, Ambrosia had no trouble getting on the radio and attracting a large legion of fans.

This show was recorded upon the release of the band's third album, Life Beyond LA. More musically adventurous than the band's previous albums, Life Beyond LA spawned the band's biggest hit, "How Much I Feel." The success of Life Beyond LA landed Ambrosia an opening spot on tours for both Fleetwood Mac and The Doobie Brothers. Opening this show with "Not As You Were" and moving quickly into "Nice, Nice, Very Nice," the band shows off their musical chops with a number of the songs performed at this concert. Most of the hits are here, including "Holdin' On To Yesterday," "How Much I Feel" and "Life Beyond L.A."

In 1980, Ambrosia made another successful studio album, One Eighty, which delivered two more radio hits ("You're The Only Woman" and "Biggest Part Of Me"), but by then, Chris North had left the band. After 1982's, Road Island, the band's soft progressive sound fell out of favor with radio programmers and soon after, they split up. The members, especially David Pack, worked on a number of other albums by established artists such as Alan Parsons Project. Bassist Joe Puerta became a founding member of Bruce Hornsby & The Range. Ambrosia reformed in 1990, and they have continued touring off and on since then. They released a live album in 2004, and have issued a number of compilations. David Pack has since left the group and currently records and tours as a solo artist.