Even though Boney M. was a studio-group the group did perform live! On stage Marcia, Liz, Maizie and Bobby truly showed that they didn’t need the studio musicians nor the voice of Frank Farian to make it work.
Boney M.’s live concerts with their band – Black Beautiful Circus – were always seen as something colourful and explosive.
However it must not be forgotten that when Boney M. did live shows they provided all the vocals themselves without Farian being a part of it. And they were actually able to re-create the sound of the records live on stage.
Marcia and Liz were of course providing the main vocals, just like in the recording studio. On stage the male vocals were done by no less than Bobby himself where he sang all the parts that Farian sang on the records. Bobby actually managed to sound quite close to Farian. Though Bobby might wasn’t hitting all the notes, he truly made a good job and his performance on stage would often make fans wonder why Farian didn’t give Bobby a chance in the studio. It was the same with Maizie. She was however not adding any lead vocals on stage, but she was adding backing vocals.
From the start of 1977 to the end of 1979 Boney M. was touring heavily all around the world with their show. Their concerts were always a true success among the concert audience. The critics were not always of the same opinion – even though many of them had to give in and admit that Boney M. actually was quite hot on stage and actually could sing.
Today the funny thing about Boney M. is that many critics and a great part of the public are looking at the group as a studio group with only two singers (Marcia and Liz) which means that the common opinion often also is that the group wasn’t able to do live concerts back in the seventies. That’s however totally wrong!
The group did hundreds of live concerts from 1977 – 1979. Some of the shows were also recorded. However seeing clips from the live shows on TV is a rarity – just like it was back in the seventies. What was shown on TV back then (and released on video/DVD’s today) was (is) mostly promo videos, Boney M. specials and various TV performances from various TV-shows where the group most of the time was miming. Luckily there would also be some TV performances where Marcia and Liz would be adding their live vocals to pre-recorded tapes.
However during the years two Boney M. live concerts have been aired on TV. A concert recorded in November 1978 in Dublin was aired on Irish TV later the same year. When the group did a South African tour in 1984 one of the shows from Sun City was recorded and aired on South African TV as well. That’s the only two live shows that have been aired on TV and that’s even when several live concerts were recorded in 1977, 1978, 1979, 1981 and 1984.
November 2007 finally saw the first official release of live material with the group. The DVD “Fantastic Boney M. (On Stage & On The Road)” includes the “Boonoonoonoos” TV special from 1981 as well as the probably best material ever released with Boney M. on DVD: a 42 minutes live show from an Austrian music festival. The show was recorded live in Vienna on 1st. November 1977 (Despite the cover states it to be a live show recorded in Hamburg, which is an error made by the record company). It’s a colourful adventure that takes the audience by storm. It truly shows that Boney M. not only was a studio group, but also a true live act!
To mark the 40th Anniversary of Boney M. Sony Music finally released “Live in Dublin – 1978” and “Live in Sun City – 1984” as a part of their 3 DVD set “Diamonds”.