In 2013, after a hiatus of almost ten years, the British progressive rock band Landmarq returned to the Netherlands to do some concerts. Four times they climbed the stage in our country to promote their latest studio album Entertaining Angels (2012, see review). I was very lucky to see them perform at Lakei in Helmond (see review), Rock Ittervoort 2013 (see review) and De Pul in Uden (see review). The only show I did not witness was the one at Cultuurpodium Boerderij in Zoetermeer, which was one day after their show in Helmond. Strangely enough, this was the concert captured for a possible release on CD and DVD, so this could mean I could see it after all when it eventually would be released. Two years later after the actual date of the concert the band finally managed to present this live show to the outside world to celebrate their 25th anniversary. They named it Road Skill - Live In The Netherlands.
As you may have guessed, I was very glad they finally released the recordings of the only show in the Netherlands I missed myself. Hearing the audio on the CD and seeing the images on the DVD certainly brought back a lot of good memories. Seeing them many times and knowing them personally did not at all disturb my honest judgement of what the band delivered on this release. So I can frankly write that I did regret that they could not include the whole show on the single audio disc. This did mean they had to skip the songs Mountains Of Anglia and Walking On Eggshells. They would have needed to include a double CD to get everything released but that would have cost too much I guess. However without those excellence tunes, the CD that comes along with this release is still a good one to listen to. The music was perfectly mixed and comes crystal clear out of the speakers. The same can be said about the DVD on which the entire show can be enjoyed. Again the sound is superb and the shots of the musicians on stage are rather well done. The close ups are good enough to follow the band during their entire performance. During the rest of the Dutch concerts in 2013 the songs played were all coming from the album they had to promote at the time. So again nothing from their back catalog and only songs taken from Entertaining Angels. But again that was alright by me because the songs from this release are all quality songs which you can hear over and over again.
While watching the band members on this DVD I noticed they were again in great shape and performed in the best possible way just like during the concerts I witnessed and just like during their concerts I found it difficult to mention real highlights. Personally I found Stormbrewing, with a beautiful piano solo, Thunderstruck and Calm Before The Storm the ultimate highlights. These pieces contained musical fireworks with a lot of great guitar and keyboard solos. But I'll have to mention songs such as Prayer (Coming Home) and Glowing as well, because these pieces demonstrate the sensitive and emotional side of the band. During this concert I once again became strongly aware of the fact that Uwe D'Rose (electric guitars) and Mike Varty (keyboards) play their melodic musical parts beautifully of course knowing that they've got a steady rhythm section behind them. Steve Gee is a great bass player on the five and six-string bass, and the young Daniel Martin surprised the audience with his excellent and tight drumming. What can I say about Tracy Hitchings? I guess everybody knows how great she is as a singer and as a performer. This she once again demonstrated on this release. It is as if she hardly has any trouble singing her lines and moves along the stage at the same time without making any mistakes! So only thumbs up for her and of course her fellow band mates for delivering an outstanding show on this DVD.
For those who still haven't seen enough of the band after enjoying the entire Zoetermeer show a couple of bonus features are left to watch. First you can see a 45 minute long interview the band did with former Background reviewer Marcel Haster. It was videotaped at their hotel room during the time they played the Rock Ittervoort Festival. The only missing person was Tracy. But she was interviewed later on at the venue where the Rock Ittervoort Festival takes place and is 14 minutes long. It was obvious that questions were asked about their latest studio album, new drummer and the live shows. The footage of the Rock Ittervoort Festival in between the questioning was certainly nice to watch and added something extra to this DVD release.
For Landmarq fans, this release without a doubt is a must have for their collection, but also for those who enjoy neo progressive rock in particular. Both cannot avoid Road Skill - Live In The Netherlands. So if you still haven't got it, go buy your copy and have a great time watching and hearing this excellent band!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Robert James Pashman)
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