It Bites - 'It Happened One Night'

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It Bites - 'It Happened One Night'

An essential purchase for anyone who calls themselves a fan.

Given how good a live band the current line-up of It Bites are, it’s perhaps surprising that it’s taken until now for a live DVD to become available. The brainchild of promoter Russell Cherrington, his dream was to film the band he loved as a boy at the place where it all started, so this one hour and fifty minute show took place at the Stanwix Theatre in Carlisle in February last year, and contains most of the songs anyone who’s seen them on tour would expect. When I say “most” there’s one notable exception, their biggest hit ‘Calling All The Heroes’ is axed in favour of the band’s lengthy epics and a hefty portion of their last album, ‘The Tall Ships’, which I’m sure It Bites feel is more representative of where they are now.

Consisting of four discs – two DVD’s plus two CD’s of the same show – there’s no faulting the main programme. Excellent visuals and crystal-clear sound show original members John Beck (keys,vocals) and Bob Dalton (drums, vocals), plus Lee Pomeroy (bass, vocals) and the superb John Mitchell (vocals, guitar), at the top of their game and demonstrating their amazing musicianship and contemporary songwriting. The band have so much confidence in their newer material that the set is bookended by six recent tracks at the beginning, including ‘Ghosts’, ‘Oh My God’, ‘The Wind That Shakes The Barley’ and the title track from ‘The Tall Ships’, while epic ‘This Is England’ is the sole encore. In between you get lively versions of tracks from the Frank Dunnery years, with highlights including ‘Old Man And The Angel’, ‘Kiss Like Judas’ and the sprawling ‘Once Around The World’, as well as a rocking ‘Midnight’ and a quite unexpected ‘Bullet In The Barrel’.

Through it all great camaraderie is apparent and the interplay between Mitchell and Beck is similar to the magic that Beck once had with Dunnery. Personally I would have liked ‘Calling All The Heroes’ to be included, along with ‘You’ll Never Go To Heaven’, ‘Rose-Marie’ and ‘All In Red’, but what you do get is of very high standard. There are back-projections that have been put together especially for the show, but they’re behind Bob Dalton’s drumkit and are probably not shown to their best effect, and the lights are functional rather than impressive. With the band wearing their customary all-white, everything is clear enough anyway.

It’s nice to have the whole thing on CD too, especially as the second disc does add ‘All In Red’ at the end, and it sounds great wherever I’ve tried it but the ‘Making Of...’ documentary is the sort of thing you’ll watch once and not bother with again. Apart from a mildly amusing bit where the AA man comes to fix the tour bus, it’s mostly rehearsal footage and doesn’t really add to the package, as well as being on a needless second DVD when it would easily have fitted on the main disc. Small gripes aside this is already one of my most watched DVD’s and is an essential purchase for anyone who calls themselves a fan.

Phil Ashcroft


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