A lot of lovers of progressive rock probably do not know that a country such as Mexico is a rather important country in the progressive rock scene. I noticed this myself when I visited the annual Baja Prog Festival held in Mexicali, Mexico in 2002. The very friendly people are most certainly aware of the scene nowadays. Almost all of today's well know prog acts have been to this very cosy festival. One of them was the Swedish band Moon Safari. According to the recordings on their latest live album Live In Mexico, they had a very good time as well when they climbed the stage to do their show on April the 3rd (2014) at the Teatro Del Estrado.
It might surprise some people to see another live album released by this incredible band. Their first live release The Gettysburg Address (see review) was released in 2012. And now two years later Live In Mexico is already out! Well in the intervening years, two new releases came out namely Lover's End Pt. III: Skellefteå Serenade (2012, see review) and Himlabacken Vol.1 (2013, see review). In light of this, enough new material was available to be played during the Baja show. When you look at the songs performed, you can see that they actually did this. The complete Lover's End Pt. III: Skellefteå Serenade 25 minutes version can be enjoyed. Furthermore from the last studio album-my personal favourite Barfly, Mega Moon and Too Young To Say Goodbye were done. And what about the classic Moon Safari tunes Crossed The Rubicon, A Kid Called Panic and Heartland? Too bad they played the last mentioned title a little bit different compared to the studio version. But it still sounds superb! Just like all of the other tracks that are included on this release. All of them perfectly done and very close to the studio versions. I'll have to say Simon Åkesson (vocals and keyboards), Petter Sandström (vocals and acoustic guitar), Pontus Åkesson (vocals and guitars), Johan Westerlund (vocals and bass), Sebastian Åkesson (vocals and keyboard) and stand in drummer Mikael Israelsson (Black Bonzo) did an excellent job when they performed in Mexico. Most of all, bravo to Mikael for replacing original drummer Tobias Lundgren temporarily in such a good way.
The complete album was very well mixed and mastered by Jonas Reingold (The Flower Kings, Kaipa and Karmakanic). The recording sounds excellent, however strangely enough their earlier released live album sounded better than this one. The Gettysburg Address was recorded at The RoSfest Festival (USA) just like Karmakanic's Live In The US release! Both got from me the highest score possible because they both kicked ass. So it could be that the recordings done in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania are “to blame” for this perfect sound on both live double albums.
Nevertheless Live In Mexico is still an outstanding live document which is a must have for all of their fans. It once again shows what they are capable of on a stage. People who don't know the band yet are advised to buy both live releases. This way they have some excellent progressive rock in their collection very much related to bands such as Yes, The Flower Kings and The Beatles. Again the highest rating can only be given to this excellent live band. Only this time a minus sign for the lesser sound compared to their earlier live release!
*****- Henri Strik (edited by Robert James Pashman)
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