Although Magenta has come up with several live releases in the past, I always find it a real treat to watch and hear the band performing on a live stage mainly because the band is more dynamic on stage than they are on their studio albums. However, after watching them myself several times, I do know nothing can replace being present at a show feeling the energy of the band. Nevertheless the second best thing is watching and listening them on a DVD and CD. Therefore I was very glad to get a review copy of Chaos From The Stage in my mailbox!
Chaos From The Stage is a package which includes a CD and DVD. On those discs you can find the audio and video recordings of a performance from Assembly in Leamington Spa in November 2015. Unfortunately you will find on the audio disc an abridged concert. With a concert that lasted one hour and forty five minutes, it is impossible to get this on a single CD. The band did choose to release a single live album instead of a double live album and therefore had to skip almost a half hour of material which are four complete songs which you can find on the DVD thank God!
However, even without the four tracks the CD is worth listening. Right from the start with the opening piece Glitterball the band kicks ass. This track is certainly one of the highlights on Chameleon (2011, see review) but sounds even stronger performed with a live band. The same can be said about the songs taken from its successor The Twenty Seven Club (see review) which was released two years later. Just listen to the live versions of the epic The Devil At The Crossroads and you'll know what I mean. The same goes for the other epic piece Metamorphosis. But I guess I didn't expect anything else with a line up of the core members Christina Booth on lead vocals, Chris Fry on electric and acoustic guitars and Rob Reed on keyboards plus the marvellous playing of Dan Nelson on bass guitar and Steve Roberts on drums. The band is in great shape throughout the entire live album.
The main course was for me without a doubt watching the entire concert on DVD. With the extra tracks Guernica, Towers Of Hope, Demons and R.A.W. on the menu I just couldn't ask for more. By including Lust on the set list they made my day. It is still a marvellous piece of music, with a lot of musical references towards the musical style the progressive rock act Yes was known for in their heyday. Hearing it together with all the other songs in 5.1 surround sound is of course just awesome! Also, the way everything was captured by the cameras gets my compliments. This is just how you want to see the musicians in action-at close range. You're almost looking over their shoulders. That those same musicians had fun on stage can be seen as well. It is most of all the interaction of Christina with the other guys on stage which is sometimes rather hilarious. The way she talks in between the songs and what comes out of her mouth spontaneously brought a big smile to my face several times! No bonus material is included. But who is going to watch those sometimes rather boring behind the scenes documentaries? Not me! Therefore I don't care if only concerts are presented and nothing else!
Chaos From The Stage is a must have for all fans of the band but also those who are into fine neo progressive rock music with a link to the music of Yes can buy this excellent release without having second thoughts! Highly recommended!!!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Robert James Pashman)
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