Years of struggle had turned Cold Chisel into one of Australian rock's all-time great bands – many would argue the greatest. But the years had also taken their toll and, by the early '80s, rifts had begun to drag on the band. Drummer Steve Prestwich called it quits in June 1983. Two months later, the band put out a press release saying it was disbanding and in December played its final concerts to sold-out audiences at the Sydney Entertainment Centre. The shows were filmed for the documentary Last Stand: this is the film's soundtrack and the cream of those concerts. Undoubtedly a chunk of Aussie rock history, this album also stands purely on the strength of its content. Impassioned renditions of 16 of Chisel's best numbers (three of which – "Twentieth Century," "Flame Trees," and "Janelle" – had not as yet been released) delivered to rabid audiences show that the guys could still get their mojo working in overdrive and that, to the end, Cold Chisel were a great live act.
The production of a new Ring at the Bayreuth Festival is an event that takes place every six years. Bayreuth recordings of the complete cycle are rare; this is only the third official audio recording and the second filmed version. The Kupfer/Barenboim Ring was performed over a five-year period and recorded at the conclusion when the "Bayreuth Workshop" had raised "the quality of the performance to an almost unsurpassable level".
This album of Handel vocal selections should delight the listener with its clear, bell-like soprano and its period orchestra, its Handelian melismas and reverential songs to God. Soprano Dorothea Craxton sings with such a beautiful, creamy sound and smooth technique that one does not hear her breaths. However, this album disappoints for the sole reason that the recording quality is off-balance, often relegating Craxton to sound like a member of the ensemble as opposed to soloist (or being overpowered by one of the ensemble).