STEVE HARLEY & COCKNEY REBEL : FACE TO FACE
Label : EMI
Release Year : 1977
Venue : various locations UK
Recording Dates : December 1976 - January 1977
Review (AllMusic) : It was one of the most grotesque decapitations in history. One moment, Steve Harley was swaying sleek and sinister, oozing absinthe and decay, the head of a hydra of unimaginable potential...and the next he was trilling old Beatles songs and defusing even the last limping hang-overs of the glory that was once his for the taking. In 1974, Harley could have been better than Bowie and was on his way to becoming bigger as well. By 1977, he scarcely seemed to even remember the songs, so the audience sung half of them for him. Face to Face was recorded live in the aftermath of the Love's a Prima Donna album and, more pertinently, "Here Comes the Sun," a U.K. hit, but truly, excruciatingly, one of the most cloying covers the Fabs had ever suffered. Predictably, then, it opens the show, and Harley knows no shame. His voice was always more mannered than marvelous, but across the first two Cockney Rebel albums, that worked to his advantage. Now it simply sounds affected...either that, or the poor lad has hiccups. And they don't go away. No complaints about the actual set list. Across four sides of vinyl, Harley has always been well aware of his own worth and delivers a show which is half greatest hits, half greatest bits. But the pale apologies for the epics, the perfunctory trawls through the classics, and the "gee-it's-so-wonderful-to-be-here" simper which now passes for stage presence aren't simply inexcusable. They are embarrassing and, no matter how lustily the audience sings along with their favorites, you know that they won't be calling him Sebastian ever again. Judy Teen has left the building.