Upon listening to the early recordings of Renaissance, it is hard to imagine that this band came about when three-fifths of the blues-rock group, the Yardbirds, decided they wanted to explore a mix of English folk, rock, and progressive music. By the time this recording was made for the King Biscuit Flower Hour in 1979, none of the original members were left, and the band was a far cry from the original sound it created in 1969.
The original 1969 line-up of Renaissance included Keith Relf (vocals, guitar, harmonica) and Jim McCarty (drums, vocals), both from the Yardbirds. (The Yardbirds' bassist, Paul Samwell-Smith, was Renaissances' recording producer.) The band also included John Hawken on keyboards, later in the Strawbs; Louis Cennamo on bass; and Jane Relf (Keith's sister) on vocals.
Between 1969 and 1974, the band would undergo a number of personnel changes until no one from the original line-up remained. However, the best known version of the band is actually the lineup featured here: Annie Haslam (vocals); Jon Camp (bass, guitar, vocals); Michael Dunford (guitar); Terence Sullivan (drums); and John Tout (keyboards).
By 1979, when this recording was made, the band was promoting its Azure d'Or LP on Sire Records, and had become one of the premier British progressive rock bands. Alongside the likes of the Moody Blues, YES, ELP, and King Crimson, Haslam and Renaissance were now able to get their music out to the mainstream. Tracks like "Mother Russia," "Scheherezade," and "Carpet In The Sun," became staples on FM radio.
The group became more and more classical and orchestra-oriented by 1977, and by the time this tour happened, many of its fans were longing for a band that had more power and energy. Both Sullivan and Tout left the group when the trek ended. The group went through several more personnel changes, and even dipped into a new wave style with 1981's Camera Camera. The band broke up in mid-1980s, when Haslam left to pursue a solo career.
Renaissance did reunite (with Roy Wood in the group) in the late 1990s, and again in 2001, when they did a successful tour of Japan. Today, Haslam lives quietly in Philadelphia and works as a painter.