People who are sick and tired of watching live DVDs including bad close-ups, mad fans screaming, too much smoke and hardly any lights on stage should get a copy of Going Off On Two, the latest DVD by the multi-national band The Tangent. On this DVD you won't find any of these annoying side effects. All that matters is the wonderfully played progressive rock and the perfect close-ups of the performing musicians. Only music and nothing else, just like it was in the old live TV-shows in the sixties and seventies when prog rock was invented. On programs as The Old Grey Whistle Test and Beatclub musicians had to prove they could really play their instruments live on stage.
Those live shows inspired The Tangent to record a similar album at the Great Image Studios, Stockport, UK in December 2010 without an audience making all that noise. Five days they spent in this converted abattoir. The first three days were used for rehearsing and the remaining two days for recording a full-length concert. Most of the songs were recorded in one take with hardly any overdubs. However, it took Andy Tillison (lead vocals, keyboards), Jonathan Barret (bass), Luke Machin (guitar, vocals), Tony Latham (drums) and Theo Travis (saxophone, flute) six shots to record Perdu Dans Paris before they were satisfied with the result. On the other hand the two more difficult and long pieces Where Are They Now? and In Darkest Dreams were recorded in only two takes!
What you're going to watch on this DVD is a real treat. For me, the ninety minutes of music were a delight to watch and listen to. The many cameras filmed almost everything at very close range. The sound is superb and I think that Jim Morrison and The Who, who can be seen on posters on the wall, would approve both the music and the images. It's obvious that most of the songs were taken from the band's penultimate studio album Not As Good As The Book (2008) and the latest one Down And Out In Paris And London (2009). Logically these songs didn't appear on the band's first DVD-release Going Off On One (2007). The band's latest release seemed to be very popular because this DVD contains three tracks of it: Where Are They Now?, Perdu Dans Paris and Paroxetine - 20mg, all very well performed. What else can you expect from a band at their creative hight? On the first two mentioned tracks the live footage got some extra outdoor shots like images of England's nature and some shots of Paris. You won't find all of the performed material in the band's back catalogue. The track The Mind's Eye is a piece that will be published on COMM (see review), a brand-new album to be released in September 2011, that is, if everything works out fine. It's an up-tempo song with a lot of influences from the Canterbury-scene, but I also noticed some Steve Howe influences in the playing of Luke Machin. They also included a nice Tangerine Dream-like musical part in the middle section of In Darkest Dreams called After Phaedra. This seems to be a sort of tribute to the legendary TD-album Phaedra similar to the piece After Rubycon on their first DVD. Unfortunately this track hasn't been included on the bonus-CD.
Talking about the bonus-CD, on this additional CD you can listen to almost the entire soundtrack from the concert footage of the DVD. Seemingly In Darkest Dreams lasted too long to include. However, you get some interesting interviews with all musicians instead. It's very enjoyable to see how they talk about their influences, their instruments and gear. Another nice addition is the photo gallery. Lyrics and commentary subtitles have also been included, but I guess not many people will use this feature. Don't get me wrong, they are certainly worth watching because they add some extra information. All these extras plus the superb concert registration makes Going Off On Two a stunning release and highly recommended to all die-hard prog heads. A nice incidental circumstance is the fact that this album was totally financed by their fans from all over the world. So a well-meant'thank you' to them!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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