In 2010 Pallas gave a live performance at the fifth Night Of The Prog Festival at Loreley in Germany. They were the headliner of the first day. Pallas were also announced as celebrating the 25th anniversary of their album The Sentinel. So it was to be expected that a large part of The Sentinel was going to be performed. At the same time the band, with their brand new singer Paul Mackey, were already working on the follow-up of this masterpiece. This resulted in XXV (see review), released in early 2011 which is in my opinion, another highlight in the band's impressive career. The songs performed from this album at Loreley already appeared on the special DVD-edition of XXV. However, the remainder of the live footage shot at the Night Of The Prog Festival gathered dust on the shelves. I don't know the reason why the band still decided to release the remaining footage on a follow-up DVD. Maybe they found the material too good to be left on the shelves.
Well, I didn't mind at all because earlier in my review of their performance at the iO Pages Festival in 2011 (see review), I had already wished for a DVD-souvenir of the XXV-tour. It had such a big impact on me that I wanted to see it again, but this time from a comfortable chair in my living room. However, the show performed at Loreley wasn't exactly the same as the XXV-shows after the release of the album. Recently I saw this show a second time at W2 in Den Bosch, The Netherlands (see review) and again it made a deep impression on me, just as their performance at Loreley. This time the tracks from XXV were left out, but still leaving ninety minutes of progressive rock entertainment.
The band started the set with The Cross And The Crucible, one of my all-time favourites. They continued with songs that covered the entire career of Pallas. On these pieces former singers Alan Reed and Euan Lowson did the lead vocals. Well, Mr. Mackey, who's a real show monster, had hardly any problems to sing these old songs. Occasionally he was assisted by bass player Graeme Murray who nicknamed the new singer 'Iggy Prog', since he resembles punk rocker Iggy Pop a lot.
As I already stated Pallas performed a large part of The Sentinel. The audience could enjoy the Atlantis Suite which included the tracks Rise And Fall, East West and March On Atlantis. They kept Cut And Run and Sanctuary for the encores that ended again a perfect Pallas-concert, very well filmed with many close-ups of the musicians on stage. Also the audio sounded perfect. Additionally they included a slide show of the festival in a photo gallery. The music that accompanies those pictures is an instrumental version of Something In The Deep. Unfortunately songs from the album XXV were not included on this second DVD of the Loreley Festival. That's the only criticism I got for this fine release. I guess I'll have to watch them on the bonus disc of the special edition of XXV.
However, the good news is that the full set from the Loreley gig is available both on a MP3-CD and as a download from their website together with the XXV MegaMix and a wee mystery track. Both are very worthwhile listening to and certainly adds something to this release. The XXV MegaMix is outstanding, shining a different light on their latest album. Three tracks from the album can be enjoyed: XXV, part 1, The Alien Messiah and XXV, part 2, but this time in a special remix with wonderful keyboard parts. The mystery track is an instrumental piece mainly performed on the acoustic piano and synthesizers. It will probably be released on their next studio album. The sound quality from the concert is very good, but differs from the DVD-version.
Both releases are highly recommended to all true Pallas-fans, but also for people who enjoy fine neo-progressive rock. I think you have to order your copies from their website since they aren't available at your local record store!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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