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Saga - 1982 In Transit (Live)

ALBUM: In Transit (Live)
LABEL: Polydor, Maze (Canada)
SERIAL: 29 988 3, ML 8006
YEAR: 1982
CD REISSUE: 1987, Bonaire, 258 160 * 1994, Polydor, 800 100-2 * 2003, SPV, SPV 076-7466A CD-E


LINEUP: Michael Sadler - lead vocals, keyboards, bass, electronic drum pads 'A Brief Case' * Jim Gilmour - lead keyboards, vocals, clarinet, lead vocals 'No Regrets' * Ian Crichton - guitars * Jim Crichton - bass, keyboards * Steve Negus - drums, electronic percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 Careful Where You Step * 02 Don't Be Late * 03 Humble Stance * 04 Wind Him Up * 05 How Long * 06 No Regrets * 07 A Brief Case * 08 You're Not Alone * 09 On The Loose


The 1978 to 1981 timeframe of Canadian legends Saga was for me the best period of their lengthy discography. I didn't quite buy into their late 80's period, less so their 90's era, but I never quite parted company with the band picking up the baton as the band ventured into the 21st century. The first four albums by this group are quite timeless, and for newbies who have never heard the band (shame on you.. but I digress..) then you could do no worse than procuring their 1982 live album 'In Transit' which represents cherry-picked tracks from those 4 mentioned albums. Recorded on tour dates in Copenhagen and Munich, it is appropriate then that European fans get to celebrate on Saga's first live album; the album sounding as good as anything the band have since released. I have a live video of the band from the 'Silent Knight' era, and though as good as that sounds, 'In Transit' takes it up a notch.

The Songs
All of the 9 songs here are kept as close to the original studio tracks, and as such, sound full and dynamic with enough room for the band members to shine at various moments as you would expect on a live album. For me, the album highlight is Saga's trademark tune 'Humble Stance', which all leads up to a highly energetic crescendo of synth madness at the end. 'How Long' which is the very first Saga track from their 1978 debut is still as punchy with that percussive synth motif pervading the song. 'No Regrets' features a nice clarinet solo from Gilmour, who also sings lead on this track. Soon after, Steve Negus delivers the obligatory drum solo on 'A Brief Case' which then segues into 'You're Not Alone', one of the principle tracks from 1979's 'Images At Twilight'. No surprise that 'In Transit' finishes up the with the band's best known commercial hit; 'On The Loose', a powerful rendition, but I'm wishing the album didn't stop here..

In Summary
I have to ask: why did the band only finish up with 9 tracks? They could have included one or two more. It feels underdone in quantity which is a pity. I would have loved to heard other songs such as 'Framed' or 'No Stranger' from 'Worlds Apart', or the most awesome 'Too Much To Lose' or 'What's It Gonna Be?' from 'Silent Knight'. Sure, some of these songs appeared on future live recordings, but I think the band missed an opportunity here. 'In Transit' has been released a couple of times over the ensuing years, so you should be able to pick up a good quality copy online.

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#1 | reyno-roxx on December 30 2012 09:41:50
I bought this not long after release when I was in Germany and I have played it regularly ever since; especially once I obtained it on CD and now its on my phone. An awesome album, but I'd agree that it was way too short. It deserved to be a double set.
This was Saga at their very best.
#2 | gdazegod on December 30 2012 09:58:55
Well, we've plugged all the 70's and 80's releases here. Might need to start picking on the 90's stuff. Lee, I need a hand.. lol!
#3 | gdazegod on December 30 2012 09:59:39
Do I take it that the cover art has the veritable signature of one Hugh Syme all over it?
#4 | Jez on December 30 2012 12:38:09
Most excellent live album, with a great tracklist. This was one of the first full digitally recorded albums if my memory serves me, and it shows, as the quality for a live album is stunning. My only complaint is that it wasn't a double album, as 40 odd minutes of these guys is not enough. All the favourites of the time are on this one so you can't go wrong.
#5 | Nick C on December 30 2012 17:19:40
A completely boring story is my usual input whistler .... but when I got this from HMV who had especially ordered it for me I ran to Manchester hardly able to contain my glee. Got on the bus home...dying...and I mean dying to bang it on the record player and listen as soon as possible...and the bus broke down. A usual 30 minute journey took nearly an hour and a half ... with this beauty in my hands just dying to be played. Oh yes that day sticks out very vividly in my mind.
#6 | reyno-roxx on December 30 2012 21:03:12
It is Hugh Syme's hand with regards the artwork indeed, George! Photography by Deborah Samuel though.

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