Salient. Official Newspaper of Victoria University Students Association. Volume 40, Number 3. March 14, 1977.
Not so frantic — 801 Live Manzanera's 801
Not so frantic
801 Live Manzanera's 801
"We are the 801
We are the central shaft"
From these lines in Eno's "The True Wheel", from Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy), Phil Manzanera's 801 took its name.
801 was a temporary band from last year that played only three concerts, one of which we now have on record. Personnel were: Phil Manzanera (guitar); Eno (vocals, synthesizers, guitar, tapes); ex-Quiet Sun member Bill MacCormick (bass, vocals); ex-Curved Air keyboardist Francis Monkman (Fender Rhodes, clavien!); Simon Phillips (drums, rhythm box), and Lloyd Watson (slide guitar, vocals).
It's a great loss to music that this could not have been a permanent band, because on the evidence of this record they would have been a force to be reckoned with.
The materiel on this album comes mostly from Phil Manzanera's and Eno's solo albums. "Lagrima" (from Diamond Head) opens the proceedings, and it is a bit of electronic trickery wherein Manzanera's guitar is treated by Eno's synthesizers. This leads into the Lennon/McCartney song, "T.N.K." (Tomorrow Never Know). This excellent version of the song is one of the album's high points. There is some excellent guitar from Manzanera: I have always found his work outside of Roxy Music to be superior to that with the group (and if you don't believe me, listen to Eno's albums).
"East of Asteroid" follows, which, as far as I can make out, is a collision between "East of Echo" (from Diamond Head) and "Daddy Was An Asteroid and Mummy Was a Small Non-Stick Kitchen Utensil" from Quiet Sun's Mainstream album. This cut features some tight, almost Cogham-ish drumming from Simon Phillips. The rhythms are fairly complex, with a number of changes and some fine treatments from Eno of the drums and bass. Some great bass work from Bill MacCormick leads into "Rongwrong", another (I think) Quiet Sun number. This one has a whimsical vocal from Eno (really quite a good singer in his own way), and the song as a whole reminds me a little of some of Syd Barrett's solo work, except that it is a bit more complex.
"Sombre Reptiles" closes side one, and it is given much the same treatment as on Eno's Another Green World album (and if you haven't got that yet you ought to be ashamed of yourself). The only real difference is some electric piano and clavinet embellishments from Francis Monkman.
Side two is undoubtedly Eno's side. "Baby's On Fire" is given a very different (but very good) treatment from that on Here Come The Warm Jets, with an almost funky clavinet intro. The only disappointment (and an inevitable one) is that I miss the dizz-buster guitar solo from Robert Fripp. Manzanera's good, but he's no Fripp.
Some treated applause leads into "Diamond Head". I never liked the original version of this, but this live one isn't too bad. Also from the Diamond Head album is Eno's "Miss Shapiro" given a very gutsy treatment here.
This track segues into a sleazy version of the Kinks' "You Really Got Me", complete with great power chords from Manzanera. It then returns to the opening riff of "Miss Shapiro"
Last up (and where else could it be?) is my favourite Eno track, "Third Uncle", wherein the Good Captain takes on the Velvet Underground at their own game and wins hands down. This track is a Killer! Manic rhythm guitar from Eno and Manzanera, not to mention the letter's hair raising solo. Play this one Loud!
801 Liva is one of the best live recordings I've ever heard. Forget Hard Rain, get this.
— David MacLennan