Birmingham (Live with Orchestra & Choir) is a 2013 live album by Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel, featuring the Orchestra of the Swan and their Chamber Choir Orchestra Conductor Andrew Powell, who was the man who did the string arrangements on the original studio albums. The album, a Comeuppance production, was released by Absolute via Universal. A DVD version of the performance was also released at the same time.
The album was recorded and filmed live at the Birmingham Symphony Hall, England on 24 November 2012. The band, with the orchestra and chamber choir, made up about 50 performers together, and performed the band's first two albums The Human Menagerie and The Psychomodo in their entirety - with some of the songs entirely new to the stage. The sold-out show was a one off performance of the two albums, and also included Spandau Ballet's Steve Norman on saxophone and percussion. Aside from the two albums performed, the band also played three additional tracks on the night; "Judy Teen" (the band's UK Top 5 hit single from 1974), "Stranger Comes to Town" (the title track from Harley's 2010 album) and "Black or White" (from the 1976 album Timeless Flight. Harley commented "It's been a long time coming - something like 39 years. Now we're here, at last, with an orchestra and a choir and a big rock band, to play those first two albums pretty well the way they appeared on the original vinyl. Maybe some things should never change, in spite of progress. Welcome, my old friends."
Birmingham was founded in 1871, during the post-Civil WarReconstruction period, through the merger of three pre-existing farm towns, notably, former Elyton. It grew from there, annexing many more of its smaller neighbors, into an industrial and railroad transportation center with a focus on mining, the iron and steel industry, and railroading. Birmingham was named for Birmingham, England, UK; one of that nation's major industrial cities. Most of the original settlers who founded Birmingham were of English ancestry. In one writer's view, the city was planned as a place where cheap, non-unionized, and African-American labor from rural Alabama could be employed in the city's steel mills and blast furnaces, giving it a competitive advantage over industrial cities in the Midwest and Northeast.