A long time has now elapsed since Helicon and Frankie Valli is well back at the front of The Four Seasons, this time revamped with the purpose of recording a long overdue live album. The 1980 UK tour was the rehearsal for this live venture and had everything. The band was tight, Frankie sounded great, the arrangements had been updated, there was masses of superb new material from the Heaven Above Me album and it was going very well until.....the weekend before the recording at the final rehearsal concerts disaster struck. A freak tornado hit the stage and wiped out the equipment, also injuring several band members such as keyboard player Jerry Corbetta who broke a finger.
With 7 days to do it they restored the equipment, re-programmed the synthesisers, Jerry Corbetta played one-handed and original Four Season Bob Gaudio was pulled in to augment the sound. But the whole thing was destined to be under par, such a shame as everything had been at such a superb peak. Frankie had a serious head cold over the two shows recorded, then MCA withdrew permission for the new Frankie Valli solo stuff to be used, fearing it would hit sales of the studio versions, some vocals had to be re-recorded but the whole thing was a shambles.
The album did appear as a 2 record set, but I know what I heard of this tour and it doesn't reflect it well at all. Maybe if you don't know how it should have sounded then it won't matter so much, but it's a tragic loss of the one real chance to record a Four Seasons live show at their peak of performance. So close....
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