Live In London 1976 [Masterport 1 DVD]

Live at New Victoria Theatre, Nov 13, 1976. VG audio and video.

It was no coincidence that Linda Ronstadt’s first major London concert, right around the time Hasten Down The Wind hit British stores, was broadcast almost-live by the BBC’s Old Grey Whistle Test. Without ever having a hit in that country, Ronstadt had nevertheless established herself as possibly the leading light on the US West Coast scene, certainly for a UK audience that still found the Eagles a little too sub-Byrds for their own good. The venue itself was sold out well in advance, and there was still a queue of hopefuls stretching around the block at showtime. And everyone watching the show at home could not help but wish they’d been there to join them.

The timing bar that runs across the lower part of the screen does detract a little from the experience, but that truly is the only fault with this disc. Ronstadt was at her all-time musical peak here, comfortably ensconced within the country-folk-rock mould that she had pioneered, and not yet looking to break out of it with the string of increasingly nasty crowd-pleasers that scarred her late 70s successes. So a set that dipped neatly between new material and old favorites ("Silver Threads And Golden Needles" lands a luscious run-out), and the best band that she ever worked with, was combined with the TV cameras’ own fixation on her face to produce a show that looked as great as it sounded. - Dave Thompson

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