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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

The Tubes

Live At German Television: The Musikladen Concert 1981

Review by Gary Hill

I reviewed the DVD of this last issue, but this time around it's the CD release. I have to say, the Tubes are a hard band to classify. I've put them under prog rock this time. Certainly they are art rock. I'm not sure about the prog category, but it's kind of the same. There are definitely links to things like Todd Rundgren and Frank Zappa that we qualify as prog. However you slice it, though, this is a cool live disc. It was recorded for German TV, as the title suggests, so the sound quality is very good.
This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2017  Volume 1 at
Track by Track Review

There is a cool introduction with a self-help speaker over the top. They eventually work out to a jam that's very much in line with a progressive rock sound. We're taken through a number of shifts and changes. There is a bit of a hint of "White Punks on Dope." This has some harder rocking sections along with more mellow ones.

Matter of Pride
I dig the rocking groove on this. It's kind of funky in a lot of ways. There are definitely things about this that make me think of Todd Rundgren. They definitely have some hooks that sound like his.
TV is King
New wave and artsy Rundgren seem to merge on this number. It's another cool track on a set that's full of cool music.
Think About Me
I like this one a lot. It has some theatrical elements. It's quirky, and even a little punky. It's also quite artsy in an odd way.
Talk To Ya Later
If you know only one song here, this is the one. It's a high energy number that was a hit.
Sport Fans
The marching band styled introduction here brings some definite theatrics to the table. The cut has an almost Frank Zappa edge to it, but delivered with some new wave and Rundgren in the mix. The section mid-track is part electronic and part musical theater. That leads out to a rather art-rock like movement. Then we get a cheer-leader type break that's all theatrical stuff.
There is almost an electronic prog element to this number. The bass brings some hints of funky fusion. The whole cut is quite intriguing, if a bit strange. There are some definite proggy shifts and changes along the road.
Mr. Hate
This comes out of the previous tune. It has some definite art rock in the mix, too. It is pretty accessible, really. It has some cool rocking sound built into it, really. There's a theatrical artsy movement mid-track.
Attack of the Fifty Foot Woman
Art rock, catchy new wave and something like Rundgren seem to combine here. This is fun, if a bit strange. It even has some things that feel a bit jazz-like.
Theatrical music is combined with something that feels like both Rundgren and Zappa at different points. This is odd, but it's also very cool.
Mondo Bondage
This high energy cut has some serious weirdness built into it.
Don't Want To Wait Anymore

There is some cool fusion here along with something very much like Todd Rundgren at its core. This is an effective number that is rather soulful. It makes good use of hooks and powered up versus mellower movements.

Power Tools
Coming in hard rocking, this gets some prog infused as it moves forward. This is a classy mid-tempo number that works quite well. The chorus is much more powered up and still catchy.
Business Dance
The intro to this is a full theatrical skit kind of thing. This cut has some art rock in the mix, but overall is more musical theater merged with new wave and a bit of funk. I'd say that there is even a bit of Parliament in the musical mix here.
Don't Slow Down
Bouncing rock, this is driving and cool. It's perhaps less proggy than a lot of the stuff here, but it's still creative and effective.
Sushi Girl
A bit harder rocking and punky, there are still proggy elements at play on this. It's a catchy cut with a cool start and stop rhythmic structure.
Tubes World Tour
Here we get a hard rocking number that's a lot of fun. We get some cool soloing and some theatrical stuff on this.
Let's Make Some Noise
The chorus on the closer was actually included in the opening bit. That makes for a nice book end kind of thing. This comes in mellow and proggy. It works out with some almost jazzy stuff at times. This is a classy cut that's a bit strange, but also very cool. There is definitely some Todd Rundgren built into this.


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