Every well respected progressive rock act nowadays comes with a live release. Because they certainly want to show how good they are on a live stage and can perform their music very seriously. Take for instance the British band High Spy. They are certainly a well respected progressive rock act which has released several albums already. Their catalogue is rather large. But if that is the reason to come up with a title such as 14 Original Timeless Classics - Live for a live release, I don't think so. Well they must have thought that the progressive rock scene is that serious bring in some healthy humour. Off course they are right about that. Let's hear how strong they are on a live CD and DVD which are both included.
Right from the start you can hear that Mark Stokes (guitars), Ade Peddie (vocals/ bass/ harmonica), Tony Hall (drums/ backing vocals) and band leader Mark Price (keyboards/ backing vocals) can come up with some strong progressive rock tunes. Some of them maybe a bit poppy, like for instance songs such as Time Of Your Life, Move The Earth and Time Will Tell. It doesn't mean they are less enjoyable. No way! There is always a strong instrumental part with a solo played on electric guitar or synthesizer. Highlights are most of all the tracks Clue, the space rocker Rollercoaster and Just In Time.
Their performance was recorded at the Rigger July 2016 They included two covers from Pink Floyd and Marillion. Acts which have been an influence to the band as Mark mentioned to me (see interview) earlier in 2013. People who only know the big names in the scene certainly must have enjoyed excellent live versions of Kayleigh and Breathe.
As a bonus a live DVD is included as well. Don't expect too much of it, I warn you! It's the video footage of the same concert done at the same venue. Also the same songs can be heard. But you also can see how they play on their instruments. But if you ask me if they give you good close ups of the musicians, I must answer this in a negative way. The whole concert was just filmed with one camera, which hardly moved around the stage or took a closer look at the musicians individually. Therefore you have most of all poor shots of the keyboard player and drummer. To camouflage this they added some extra visual effects to the footage. Visual video parts which were at the same time used during the concert and projected behind the musicians. This was certainly nicely done and improves the pleasure of watching this most of all fine performance on your television. I guess I can't complain too much because it is a bonus and not an officially professional released DVD after all!
All in all I can still be rather positive about this live release. Because the musicians do know how to play on their instruments and the songs they perform together are rather enjoyable to listen to. You never have the urge to skip to the next track. You stay captured for all of the 14 compositions played during their seventy minutes performance. So well done after all. Only next time, come also with a multi camera recorded DVD.
****- Henri Strik (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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