Personnel: Neil Carter (vocals, guitar, keyboards); Phil Mogg (vocals); Paul Chapman (guitar); Andy Parker (drums).
Audio Remasterer: Peter Mew.
Liner Note Authors: Pete Frame; Dave Ling.
Recording information: Hammersmith Odeon, London, England (04/15/1983).
By the early to mid-'80s, it was quite clear that while UFO retained a sizable fanbase from their late-'70s peak, any hopes of becoming a world-wide dominating force (… la such then chart-dominating UFO disciples as Def Leppard and Iron Maiden) were nil. However, this didn't stop the lads from putting on worthwhile shows and releasing albums (albeit of the spotty variety), and it's this era that is showcased on 2009's Headstone. Comprised of a 1983 live recording from the Hammersmith in London, this set forgoes all the expected UFO classics (no "Doctor Doctor," "Rock Bottom," or "Lights Out" here, folks), and in its place are a helping of UFO tracks almost all from early-'80s albums -- that have all pretty much been forgotten. And despite featuring not the most renowned UFO lineup, ever -- only original members Phil Mogg (vocals) and Andy Parker (drums) are present, joined by Phil Chapman (guitar), Neil Carter (rhythm guitar/keyboards), and Paul Gray (bass) -- Headstone will turn out to be a pleasant surprise for longtime UFO fanatics. The reason being that while quite a few of these tracks fell flat as studio versions, they certainly improved on the concert stage, as the performance is inspired throughout. "We Belong to the Night," "Let It Rain," and "No Place to Run" may not be included on many UFO "best-of" collections, but when you add it all up, Headstone is one of the more surprisingly strong UFO live albums to have reared its head (of which there have been an overabundance over the years). ~ Greg Prato