I clearly remember having a blast on October 1, 1982, at a live concert at the University of Saarbrücken, watching Level 42 play their collective asses off in a less than adequate venue and in front of a more than appreciative crowd ready to party hard.
Level 42, at least as far I can ascertain, has never really fared well with most critics at any point of its existence. Today their sound is often called “dated”, the lyrics are deemed “infantile” and all the rest is equally trashed. I really don’t care. I had all of their albums released between 1981 and 1987 and still today I love pulling them out regularly.
Today, in fact, I completed my CD collection of those albums, mirroring my early (complete) and totally worn out vinyl releases. This was some of the most frequently-played party music at the time directly after I returned to Germany. A (slap) bass sound that crossed over into the charts from what was fusion at the time (I remember Stanley Clarke having a go at it, but Mark King bested him in that department), a more than excellent drummer (Phil Gould), wonderful harmony vocals by Mark Lindup, plus a fabulous ear for catchy melodies. Hell, with all the total sh*t that critics were raving about and calling revolutionary in the early 80s (all of which basically came down to one or two “musicians” able to play exactly three different things on their instruments), Level 42 was a refreshing take on musical ability. To my ears, their material still is today.
Screw the haters.
P.S.: I distinctly remember seeing them live at the University of Saarbrücken at least one more time (when True Colours was released in 1984), but I can’t find a single reference online. Still, it happened … although I don’t have any photos. 😉