(Hard Rock) UFO - Strangers In The Night Deluxe Box Set review
Viewers/listeners of our recent Top Ten Albums - 70s Live Hard Rock Albums podcast/video know how highly this reviewer rates UFO's Strangers In The Night double live album ... topping our list, no less. So when news came that a mammoth Strangers cd box set was being released, your intrepid reviewer took out his credit card and asked "How much do you want?" without a second thought.
Okay - logistics first. You get 8 cds(!), the first two containing remastered versions of the original legendary record, logged in a mighty fine looking box. Each cd comes in its own sleeve, the exception being the original album that comes in a double sleeve that is a mini version of the original album artwork/layout. Additionally, you get a 24-page booklet providing some context around the recordings and the state of UFO at the time of the gigs.
Now onto the music. Here we basically have a "week in the life of UFO" as the remaining six cds contain full concerts from six consecutive days of touring (from which the cream was taken and inserted on the Strangers opus). Now, some may question the value of this given that most bands don't change up their set lists that often and that we already have the amazing double live record to imbibe. You'd be wrong.
Firstly, each concert has a different running order and there's no less than five tracks on various cds that didn't make the Strangers record ("Hot'N'Ready", "Pack It Up (And Go)", "Cherry", "Ain't No Baby" and "On With The Action"). Add to that the fact that there are subtle differences in performance each night making it a hoot to try and figure out which version was used on the original record (especially for those who have lived and breathed this thing for decades now).
Secondly, this simply proves how great a live band UFO were (and still are - I saw them a few times in the last five years and can attest that they are still an amazing live experience). After listening to this box set for six straight days I realized that not once did I become bored, happily immersing myself into the band's truly remarkable set of songs over and over again. I doubt that there's more than a handful of bands that I'd be happy to consume in such a manner.
UFO Strangers In The Night - one of the greatest live albums of all time (I put it at #2 behind Ramones It's Alive). If you don't have this in your collection, you don't have one.