On the second of July 2002, Anyone's Daughter played at a festival in Calw to honour the 125th birthday of the German author Hermann Hesse. The American band Steppenwolf- with German-born singer John Kay - played on this festival as well. Around this date a lot of activities were held within the scope of the year of Hesse. Although it was an ordinary working day in Calw, thousands of citizens and guests were about, attending the public ceremony in the open air and in the vicinity of Hesse's place of birth. Among them a considerable number of rock fans that hadn't come to see Steppenwolf (Born To Be Wild), but to watch Anyone's Daughter perform live. The history of this German band has been more or less connected with Hesse. In 1981 they released the album Piktors Verwandlungen based upon 'Piktors transformations', a famous tale written by Hesse. They performed this 40-minute piece again in Calw, where Hesse was born in 1877.
This time the band performed this piece together with the famous German rock poet and congenial speaker Heinz Rudolf Kunze. To experience this unique event many loyal fans of Anyone's Daughter from all over the country came to Calw, including - and almost unnoticed - two band members of PUR, Germany's most successful pop band. Rumour has it that PUR was founded during a concert of Anyone's Daughter, while becoming friends with their heroes in the meantime. Nearly five thousand visitors saw the re-formed cult rock band perform Piktors Verwandlungen.
According to the new double album Calw Live this epic piece sounds as fresh as at the première twenty years earlier. Heinz Rudolf Kunze replaces Harald Bareth very well on vocals and he also does the narration. Music wise the band brings back the old days. Guitarist Uwe Karpa and keyboard player Matthias Ulmer are still present and their musicality is as strong as ever. Their musical duels are still delightful to listen to. Thanks to the strong rhythm section of Peter Kumpf (drums) and Raoul Walton (bass) they get room enough to show their talents. The band's current lead singer Andre Carswell doesn't have a large role on Piktors Verwandlungen. However, on most of the other songs he sings in the English language. His voice sounds mostly like Noel McCalla and Chris Thompson, two former singers of Manfred Mann's Earth Band.
It's clear to me that the old pieces of Anyone's Daughter are the most progressive ones. It's a feast to my ears to listen to old classic tracks like Swedish Nights, Moria and Between The Rooms that originally appeared on the eponymous album recorded in 1980. You can still hear the band's influences from acts as Camel, Genesis and Pink Floyd. However, on most of the songs recorded by the then newly formed line-up these old prog influences aren't noticeable. Thanks to some tasteful keyboard and guitar sounds several songs from their comeback album Danger World (2001) contain fine moments. Songs like Nina, I'll Never Walk That Road Again, Wheel Of Fortune and especially Helios are worthwhile listening to, but you won't find any songs from the band's latest studio effort Wrong (2004), because it was only released two years after the concert in Calw. The most surprising song is without doubt Imagine, a classic by the late John Lennon. It's well-covered and sung both in English and in German. Kunze does the German translation, while Carswell sings the original lyrics. It's a perfect ending to a concert that Mr. Kunze labeled as 'a magical moment'.
For me the almost ninety minutes of music on this live double-CD were worthwhile listening to. However, I found it a bit strange that these recordings were put on the shelves for such a long time, but better late than never. Fans of progressive rock music in general and of Anyone's Daughter in particular now have the opportunity to listen to an outstanding concert the band gave at the 125th birthday of Herman Hesse.
***+ Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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