John Young Band -
Live At The Classic Rock Society 2003

(CD 2021, 56:30, Heritage Records)

The tracks:
  1- Significance(4:40)
  2- When I Was Young(5:02)
  3- Just One Day(4:41)
  4- All Grown Up(4:26)
  5- Underside(6:55)
  6- Unknown Soldier(14:20)
  7- Childhood's End(8:29)
  8- Open Skies(4:04)
  9- Kings(3:51)

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John Young needs absolutely no introduction. However, the reissue of this album Live At The Classic Rock Society 2003, originally released in 2003, is a timely reminder of the one of the strands in the multi-layered musical life he led before bringing us Lifesigns' exquisite debut album (see review) ten years later in 2013, followed by the equally wonderful Cardington (2017, see review) and Altitude (2021, see review).

For this live show with the John Young Band, Young surrounds himself with another posse of stellar musicians, in this case guitarist Robin Boult (Fish, Howard Jones), bassist John Jowitt (Jadis, IQ, RAIN) and drummer Dave Stewart (Fish, Camel) for this live show.
It's a showcase for some of his deeply personal, ever melodic compositions in which the soulful warmth of his voice and the expressive beauty of his keyboards weave the magic of the stories, his musicians providing extra colour and texture to the songs.
In this set are slower ballads like opener Significance and the deeply immersive Underside. Boult gets a chance to exercise his musical chops on Just One Day and All Grown Up. Centre stage is the 14-minute epic Unknown Soldier, altogether darker and emotional, followed by Childhood's End, full of waterfall effect piano arpeggios.
The final two songs have played their way forward to become regulars in the Lifesigns' live set: the pacy, catchy Open Skies is about UFOs and Manchester United while Kings really kicks ass, being a barnstorming, brilliant instrumental.

If you are a Lifesigns fan, this is an essential addition to your burgeoning record collection, and a timely reminder why Young is so widely admired, holding his place as one of the most thoughtful and compelling figures in the music scene.

**** Alison Reijman

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