Bertus Borgers - saxophone, trumpet; Karl Kalf - trumpet; Rinus Gerritsen - bass; Robert Jan Stips - keyboards; Barry Hay - flute, vocals; George Kooymans - guitar, vocals; Robert Jan Stips - synthesizer, keyboard; 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 too 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.
Even though the formula for Moontan brought them tremendous success, when it came time to record the next album, they again opted for a new approach that was less esoteric and went for a more straightforward rock direction. They possibly intended it to be more accessible, but the resulting album, appropriately titled Switch, was met with widely opposing reactions. To this day, Switch remains one of the band's most controversial albums, with fans loving or hating it in equal measure. All of which makes this April 1975 Record Plant performance all the more interesting.
When Golden Earring took over the Record Plant on this night, they were heavily immersed in the Switch album material and they perform much of it here. With the exception of "Big Tree, Blue See," an outstanding remake of an older song they had re-recorded for Moontan, this entire set consists of Switch sessions material performed live, including the crunchy riff-laden b-side of the "Kill Me (Ce Soir)" single, "Lucky Number." Fans of the album will be delighted by the powerful performance here and those less enthused by it may reevaluate this material in a live context, which is harder edged and far more immediate.
From the between song banter, it's obvious that the band is in very good spirits here and the performances reflect this. The catchy title song kicks it off as they vacillate between a swinging boogie and straight ahead rock. Both sides of the single follow, first with the b-side "Lucky Number" and then the highly unusual and underrated a-side, "Kill Me (Se Soir)," here extended and containing a blazing guitar solo. 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 take their sole break from the Switch material by diving into "Big Tree, Blue Sea," originally featured on their self-titled 1970 album and revamped with an additional flute arrangement. This is a 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 contains some very sparse sections where Hay plays the flute through a delay unit creating a very spacey sound. Eventually a nice grooving jam develops into a lengthy hard rocking guitar workout, while reflecting back to the Moontan sound.
Then it's back to the Switch material for the remainder of the set. Both "Daddy's Gonna Save Your Soul" and "Love Is A Rodeo" are a riff-laden hard rockers that are immediately accessible. They close the set with the opening track of the album, "Plus Minus Absurdio," an unusual instrumental containing intense keyboard/guitar interplay.
A fine set of ambitious music when Golden Earring was arguably at the peak of their creativity.