Bertus Borgers - sax, trumpet; Eelco Gelling - guitar; Rinus Gerritsen - bass; Robert Jan Stips - keyboards; Barry Hay - vocals, flute; George Kooymans - guitar, vocals; Cesar Zuiderwijk - drums, percussion
One of the most powerful rock music forces to ever emerge from the Netherlands, Golden Earring is one of few bands to achieve international chart success in three consecutive decades, first with their hit cover of The Byrds' "Eight Miles High" in 1969, followed by "Radar Love" in 1973, and "Twilight Zone" in 1982. The latter two remain staples of classic rock radio today. A group never content to follow any formula for very long, they approached each album like a new band, often reinventing their music. In 1973, they released their most popular album, Moontan, which gained them a much larger fanbase and allowed them to tour internationally as a headliner (with Kiss and Aerosmith among their opening acts).
This performance, recorded on the first night of a two-night stand at London's Rainbow Theater, when Golden Earring opened for Lou Reed, captures a particularly interesting moment in time for the band. Their Moontan album had just been released, this was the groups first time performing at the Rainbow, and it was just prior to their first taste of international recognition. When Golden Earring took to the stage on this night, they were introducing Moontan material to the London audience for the first time. Although limited to a 40-minute set, they pack a serious punch into the time allotted.
They kick the set off with "She Flies On Strange Wings," the George Kooymans penned opus that became the single from their 1971 album, Seven Tears. Originally divided into two parts on the single, here it is expanded even further, clocking in at nearly 11 minutes and featuring an extended opening sequence and adventurous playing throughout. This is a prime example of the way the band would often begin a song calm and mysterious and gradually build up the intensity level. They next announce that they'll be performing the b-side of their forthcoming single and launch into the eclectic country-influenced rocker, "Just Like Vince Taylor." This rarity wouldn't surface on an official album release until their box set, The Devil Made Us Do It: 35 Years was issued decades later. Next up is "Big Tree, Blue Sea," originally featured on their self-titled 1970 album and revamped with an additional flute arrangement for Moontan. This is another highly adventurous modular piece, with obvious similarities to later era Jethro Tull and having a distinct progressive-rock bent. Initially mixing electronics and flute over a delicate groove, this eventually develops into a lengthy hard rocking guitar workout, epitomizing the Moontan-era sound they were now developing in concert.
From the between song banter, it is obvious that the band is in very good spirits here and the performance reflects this. But nowhere is their enthusiasm better reflected than on the set-closing "Radar Love." Brand new, this highly ambitious number is crackling with energy. From the opening bass riff, it is obvious that Golden Earring is on to something special here. This song would, of course, go on to become a career-defining moment for the group, and hearing it when it was so fresh and new is undeniably exciting. A fitting ending to a set of ambitious music when Golden Earring were arguably entering the most spectacular stage of a career that has attained incredible longevity.