There was a time, believe it or not, when Mott the Hoople
live recordings were scarcer than fish lips, the consequence of the band's utterly uncompromising attitude towards bootlegging. Today, there is scarcely a significant moment in the band's development that cannot be reflected by a live album, from their earliest visit to the Fillmore to their final trip down Broadway, and, in between times, a series of discs follow the band through what once seemed an endless series of peaks. In Performance does not add to that corpus; it does, however, tidy it up a little. The four discs in this box set are little more than a straightforward repackaging of shows that the Angel Air label has already taken around the block once: the 1970 Croydon gig that was originally recorded for an official release but wound supplying a mere one song to the band's next studio album; five tracks recorded in Stockholm in 1971; a 1972 show in Philadelphia, touring All the Young Dudes
and welcoming David Bowie
on-stage to join in the chorus for the title song; a stupendous 1974 King Biscuit broadcast from Santa Monica, with the band at the peak of their glam rocking powers, and a 13-song mishmash of live cuts and demos recorded between 1971-1973. There are no bonus tracks, and no subsequent remastering. But, if you haven't picked up the original discs yet, this is the package for you. The bookshelf-style box is beautifully designed, and a perfect match for the studio roundup that Sony released a few years back, while a well-stuffed 48-page booklet penned by Mott
fan club guru Keith Smith delivers some extra bang for your buck. Plus, Mott
were rarely ever less than blazing hot on-stage, and this box captures them both seething and steaming.