When two long time members left Kayak after they released Cleopatra - The Crown Of Isis (2014, see review), I really thought this would mean the end for one of the long lasting cross over progressive rock band of the Netherlands. But, band leader Ton Scherpenzeel was eager to continue and with the 2018 album Seventeen (see review) he returned with a brand new line-up. In January 2019 Kayak played THE progtemple of the Netherlands; De Boerderij and also in Hedon, Zwolle and captured their performance live. Perhaps due to the fact bandleader Scherpenzeel suffered heart problems a follow-up for Seventeen was postponed, but it also gives the band a good reason to release that eponymous concert as a double CD.
The line-up has slightly changed from Seventeen, besides Scherpenzeel, vocalist Bart Schwertmann, guitarist Marcel Singor and bass player Kistoffer Gildenl÷w remained. The initial new drummer Colin Leijenaar was replaced by the band's former drummer Hans Eikenaar.
Live 2019 sees a fine round-up of classic Kayak compositions, but also sees a few homages in the opener Love Of A Victim and Still My Heart Cries For You to Kayak's long time drummer, composer Pim Koopmans, who passed away in 2009. Since I personally have not seen Kayak live in their new configuration, some of the compositions have a slightly different sound as I remember them. Which I think is a positive thing, due to the diminished line-up of one vocalist and one guitarist, songs have to be adapted to the new situation. This is something, which works out very well on the Live 2019 album. Personal highlight s on the album for me are the long La Peregrina but also the never performed Still My Heart Cries For You, Cracks and Walk Through Fire. Signature compositions like Ruthless Queen and Starlight Dancer remain to be solid and great songs, but I guess, due to the fact both songs are embedded into the brains of every single Kayak follower, these new versions need time to get used to. Nevertheless, both performances are great.
While waiting for a follow-up for Seventeen, Live 2019 is a very pleasant live album, which shows what this band is capable of. Pretty well done!
**** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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