Rinus Gerritsen - bass, keyboard; Barry Hay - flute, saxophone, vocals; George Kooymans - guitar, vocals; Cesar Zuiderwijk - percussion, drums
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. As a band never content to follow any formula for very long, they approached each album like a new enterprise, often reinventing their music. In 1973, they released their most popular album, Moontan, which gained them a much larger fan base and allowed them to tour internationally as a headliner (with Kiss and Aerosmith among their opening acts).
This performance, recorded on the second 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 engagement at the Rainbow, and it was just prior to their first taste of international recognition. Although limited to a 45-minute set, they pack a serious punch in the time allotted.
Like the previous night, Golden Earring kicks 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 over eight 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 calmly and mysteriously and continuously build up the intensity level.
Next up is "Big Tree, Blue Sea," a song originally featured on their self-titled 1970 album that was 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.
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 next song, "Radar Love." Brand new, this highly ambitious number is crackling with energy here. From the opening bass riff, it is obvious that Golden Earring is on to something special. 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.
The set concludes with a truly monumental version of an extreme rarity from the group's back catalogue. Originally released in December of 1969 as the B-side of the band's "Another 45 Miles" single, "I Can't Get A Hold On Her" clocks in at nearly 15 minutes here. Needless to say, they approach this number in a highly improvisational manner that allows the musicians plenty of room to flex their musical muscles. This is a hard driving performance that shows the band applying the progressive rock approach of "Moontan" to vintage material. The interplay between guitarists Gelling and Kooymans is never less than impressive and propels this set closer into a blazing jam. Gerritsen takes a pummeling extended bass solo toward the end, followed by a short drum romp by Zuiderwijk, before they finally veer off into outer space with an echo-laden vocal improvisation as the tape stock ran out. Although incomplete, the nearly 15 minutes that were captured here is a fitting conclusion to a set of very ambitious music. This is Golden Earring when they were arguably entering the most spectacular phase of a career that has attained incredible longevity.