The billing, “The Best British Rock Concert of All Time,” is a bit of an overstatement (I think that title should go to The Concert for Kampuchea … but, that’s just me). I’d be more comfortable if Live at Knebworth was actually labeled “a nice collection of songs.”
The whole affair was organized as a benefit for the Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Centre and the Brit School for Performing Arts. Since 1976, the Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Centre has presented the Silver Clef Award to artists for outstanding service to the British Music Industry. In 1988, organizers started planning a benefit concert. Eventually, an invitation was extended all present and past Silver Clef Award Winners and those that were available on June 30, 1990, donated their time to perform. The show sold out almost instantly once it was learned that Paul McCartney, Cliff Richards and the Shadows, Genesis, Pink Floyd, Status Quo, Eric Clapton, Dire Straits and Robert Plant (with Jimmy Page on guitar) would provide the entertainment (Tears for Fears opened the show due to bassist Curt Smith’s being a sitting member of the fundraising committee).
The 2-CD set is nice – it’s enjoyable and something I think the fan of once popular British artists will continue to visit. Truth be told, it’s a little heavy on Genesis for my tastes, though their set does open with a killer version of “Mama” (a guilty pleasure). Jimmy Page tears it up on Plant’s “Wearing and Tearing” and a post-Waters Pink Floyd deliver incendiary versions of “Comfortably Numb” and “Run Like Hell.” Like I said, it’s a nice collection … so much so that I look forward to seeing the expanded DVD.