The Dutch progressive rock band Silhouette was formed in 2005 and released their debut album A Maze one year later. It was followed by Moods (see review) in 2009. Their third album Across The Rubicon (see review) saw the light of day in 2012. Two years later they came up with Beyond The Seventh Wave (see review) and this can be considered as their best so far. Also the readers of iO Pages (a well known Dutch progressive rock magazine) felt this way. This resulted in them getting the iO Prog Award for the best progressive rock CD of albums made by acts coming from Holland and Belgium released in 2014. One thing that probably was on the bands bucket list was the release of a live album. This wish could finally be fulfilled in 2017 with the release of Staging The Seventh Wave.
Why it took so long to come up with a live release had probably to do with the fact that the band was not really a strong live unit a couple of years ago. When the core members Erik Laan (keyboards, bass pedals, lead and backing vocals) and Brian de Graeve (12-string acoustic guitar, lead and backing vocals) added extra guitarist DaniŽl Van Der Weijde to the line up and the former rhythm section quit and were replaced by bassist Jurjen Bergsma and drummer Rob van Nieuwenhuijzen things started to fall in place. The missing pieces of the puzzle were found. With the reformed line up the band turned from a poor live band into one of the best live acts in the Netherlands. Their fans had noticed this as well and started to ask for a live album or DVD more and more after seeing them perform on a stage. Of course they couldn't resist this request and finally recorded their performance from the Parktheater in Alphen aan de Rijn on April 15 in 2016 (see review). They chose to do the entire award winning album Beyond The Seventh Wave plus some audience favourites.
Staging The Seventh Wave was released as a digipak with one single audio disc and one single video disc. The CD contains almost the entire concert except for the final encore Unreal Meeting. Of course the announcements in between the songs are left out as well. The audio sound is very good and when you hear it you are dying to look at the footage on the DVD. Because you want to see how every musician played on his instrument and which moves they made on stage. Therefore I was very curious how the film crew captured the whole musical event. The four headed camera crew did a rather good job by showing the spectator a good look at the six musicians on stage. Even the extra guest on stage got some good shots as well. Bart Laan occasionally went on stage to help out in the guitar department. While standing in between drummer Rob van Nieuwenhuijzen and his father keyboard player Erik Laan he seemed to enjoy himself a lot. While looking at the man behind the keyboards you sometimes hoped some better shots were available to see exactly what Erik does behind his keyboards. Also would it have been cool to see how he played on the bass pedals, while touching his keys at the same time or even singing some vocal lines. But that's unfortunately not the case. Nevertheless is it still worth looking at this concert and to see how host Brian de Graeve tells the story of this concept album in between the performed compositions. Which is about the insatiable freedom thirst, which concerns the whole human race. The whole band presented this concept music very impressively. Frequent touring made the band a well oiled machine, so bravo to all of those involved.
Besides the complete performance of the band a nice extra is included on the DVD as well. This is most of all interesting for those who on a regular basis look at our website. The twenty minute footage shot at the Starsound studio in Utrecht in the Netherlands was filmed and edited by our own film crew. When Also Eden and Silhouette did their "Wings Unfurled" Mini-Tour May 8 in 2015 we were present (see review) and made three videos of each band. Too bad that only the performance of Lost Paradise, Betrayed Again and Devils Island was used for this release. Because it certainly would have been nice for the fans to watch Web Of Lies and Unreal Meeting as well. Mainly because the videos feature the Silhouette XL line up. This means with the addition of four extra guest musicians. Most of all the contributions of Tamara van Koetsveld on clarinet, Sophie Zaaijer on violin and Maryo on backing vocals did add something extra to the band at the time, also the fine guitar parts of Erik's son. This way they could do the original parts from the studio album on stage very well. But those who still want to see them can watch them on our website or on the bands website.
The band can certainly be proud of this fine release. Most of all lovers of great neo progressive rock are advised to check it out. You will be entertained all the way through. lovers of these unrivalled keyboard sounds will get their money's worth. Harmonically embedded in the two-part singing, guitars and keyboards form a unit. Neoprog as it should be and the fans love it just as I did!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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