In 2009 the Polish progressive rock band Millenium released their first official live DVD and double CD. They named it Back After Years, Live In Krakow 2009 (see review). It was a rather entertaining release on which the band and their fans looked back on their entire back catalogue. Now seven years later the band comes up with another live release, titled The Cinema Show. Again you can enjoy a double CD version next to a DVD release of the same show. However this time around even a Blu-ray version can be ordered.
On The Cinema Show the line up of the band is almost exactly the same as on their first ever live release. Again Łukasz Gall (lead vocals), Piotr Płonka guitars, Krzysztof Wyrwa (bass) and Ryszard Kramarski (keyboards) are present. The same musicians who also played on their studio albums in recent years. Only drummer Tomasz Paśko is missing and has been replaced by Grzegorz Bauer. The show that was recorded for this live release was done in Kijów-Centrum in Kraków November 2015. Exactly the same venue that was used in 2009, only much bigger and with more people in the audience. It seems this venue is a kind of cinema and therefore they named this release The Cinema Show. Special guests for this show were Darek Rybka on saxophone and the two female backing vocalists Sabina Godula - Zając and Marta Mołodyńska-Wheeler .
The concert originally began with an announcement by the in Poland well known radio presenter Arthur Chachlowskiego of MLWZ. Strangely enough the footage of his performance can only be seen when you check out the bonus material on the DVD. I guess they wanted to start the DVD with a great intro, which they actually did by using a strong opening tune where all the participants are mentioned on the screen, just like you can see in a Star Wars movie! What follows is a selection of songs mostly taken from the band's last three studio albums Puzzles (2011, see review), Ego (2013, see review) and In Search Of The Perfect Melody (2014, see review). The band didn't want to come up with the same songs as on their previous live release, therefore you won't hear or see a lot of the older material. One you do get is Plastic World. According to band leader Kramarski a rather simple tune and easy to play. He came with the idea to use this composition to swap instruments between the members of the band. The drummer and bass player performed on each other's instruments, just like the keyboard player and guitarist. Another oldie was used for the encore; Back To Myself Part 1 from their debut Vocanda. This album was originally released in 2000 but re-recorded in 2013 (see review). The classic Millenium tune Light Your Cigar can be seen in the DVD extras as well. I guess it was one of the encores just like Our Little Eden and the earlier mentioned Back To Myself Part 1. A special mention goes out to the songs The Girl From A Glass Sphere, We Try Again and Time Vehicle. They have a special mentioning in the set. The first song was written for one of their fans Nathalie; an autistic girl who is one of their biggest fans. The second song was performed on request. The earlier mentioned Arthur Chachlowskiego wanted it to be on the setlist because it is one of his favourite pieces of music written by Ryszard. Finally Time Vehicle, because it was taken from last year's double CD compilation Time Vehicle (The Best Of ...) (see review) where it is the only newly written composition.
Visually the new DVD is way better than its predecessor. You can say without any doubt that they did everything to make it an awesome show to watch. Many cameras were used to get great close ups of all the musicians on stage. The lights look fabulous and the 5.1 surround sound is just amazing! Ofcourse there are things that could have been done better., such as the presentation of the musicians on stage or the use of possible video projections behind them. But even without those things I can say that The Cinema Show is one of the best DVD releases I have seen in years. Words can hardly describe what I went through when I watched Alive Again (see review) released by The Neal Morse Band in 2016, but the same can be said about this release. I am again just speechless about another awesome live experience!
The same can be said about the double live album of the same concert. When you hear the audio on both discs you almost don't need the footage to see how the musicians play their beautifully performed parts. The audio mix makes sure you can hear a band in great shape. It is almost as if you are present at the venue where the band performed all those great progressive rock tunes. Tunes that go most of all in the direction of Pink Floyd, something that band leader Ryszard Kramarski admits himself. During the concert he actually says that Farewell has influences taken from this band. I guess he was referring to Echoes, taken from Meddle released in 1971.
An awesome live experience has to be rewarded with the highest score possible, don't you think? Even if the title of this release had nothing to do with a famous Genesis composition, I didn't have to think twice to give all of the five stars to The Cinema Show. It is well deserved, because I know it must have taken a lot of time and effort to come up with such an excellent product. Millenium comes with a piece of art which is highly recommended to lovers of Pink Floyd and those who enjoy neo progressive rock in general.
***** Henri Strik (edited by Astrid de Ronde)
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