The Man Upstairs (DVD)

1 Apr 2008
Record Collector #348
Grahame Bent

John Martyn - The Man Upstairs: In Concert Live In Germany 1978

Stunning live performance finally makes it to DVD

Almost 30 years to the day after it was filmed at Hamburg’s Audimax auditorium for the German TV show Rockpalast, this classic performance is only now available on DVD for the first time. The Man Upstairs captures the power of John Martyn’s live show, with Martyn at the height of his powers following the release of his then-current studio album One World.

Armed with his familiarly weather-beaten six-string acoustic, an SG Fender Twin, and his trademark battery of effects units, this vintage TV broadcast captures Martyn flying high on his own as he stretches out, taking chances with his songs whenever the opportunity presents itself. All the light and shade, dynamics, ear for melody and appetite for experimentation that have long been key to Martyn’s performances are captured here in all their unrestrained glory as he plays his way through a set which includes spectacular renditions of Outside In, Big Muff, Small Hours, Solid Air and I’d Rather Be The Devil. Apparently Martyn’s powerhouse performance was one half of a double bill with US guitar maverick John Fahey, whose set was likewise recorded for German TV. It must have been quite a night.

* * * *

Voiceprint | VPDVD 34

Related to: