On 26 July 2016, Roye Albrighton (guitars and vocals) died after an unspecified illness, at the age of 67. He was certainly one of the big names in the history of progressive rock. With the other Englishmen Allan "Taff" Freeman on keyboards, Derek "Mo" Moore on bass and Ron Howden on drums he formed in Hamburg, Germany in 1969 the legendary band Nektar. The band's early albums Journey To The Centre Of The Eye (1971), A Tab In The Ocean (1972) and ...Sounds Like This (1973) were obscure psychedelic rock albums which also lovers of progressive rock embraced. Most of all later releases such as Remember The Future (1973) and Recycled (1975) showed the band as a real progressive rock unit. The band's latest studio effort was Time Machine (see review) released in 2013. With Albrighton still strong on lead vocals and electric guitars. And now we can welcome Live In Bremen - On Stage In Concert.
An album which was recorded on 29 September 2015 at the Bremer Meisenfree Blues Club. This concert is the last live recording with front man and guitarist Roye Albrighton and in this respect also an important time document of the band Nektar. Albrighton died while working on the album.
Live In Bremen - On Stage In Concert has simply become a fine live album. You can hear clearly the joy of playing as in the seventies, when they released legendary live albums such as Sunday Night At London Roundhouse (1974) and Live In New York (1977). Albums on which the band showed they were real masters of improvisation and jamming. Playing long solos and letting their fans hear new things which were not on the original studio recordings. Something which hardly can be heard on this release. However enough solos on the organ, synthesizer and electric guitar can be heard throughout the entire album. The main reason for this great stuff is that the oldies and original members Albrighton and Howden play very well along with keyboard player Klaus Henatsch, who has been a band member since 2008, and the newcomer Tom Fry on the bass. Like the early days the chemistry between the musicians is perfect and shows a band in great shape!
The recording provides a good cross-section of the music Nektar has released, with the focus clearly on the 70s. And it does not surprise me that these are also the highlights of the album. Newer titles like Doctor Kool or Time Machine certainly have fine moments but the classic pieces of course you want to hear all the way. A good example is the 16-minute A Tab In The Ocean or the excerpt of the excellent Recycled album. Or the psychedelic The Dream Nebula from the debut album which brings you back to the times when they started as a band. The song was completed with Desolation Valley and Waves, giving a perfect extended medley. Just fitting everything very well together. Wonderful long solo inserts and improvisations creating the scenery. This is exactly how you love this band. And in this way it went with a lively mix from the different epochs of Nektar. Everything perfectly matched and class playing by outstanding musicians.
With probably the most catchy Nektar song, which possesses cult status, the concert and this live album came to an end. Good Day from the album ...Sounds Like This had the audience singing along and was a worthy ending to this concert, and showed how a band should perform their music live!
Live In Bremen - On Stage In Concert will remain for all Nektar fans the legacy of Roye Albrighton, who has inspired many over decades with his music. His songs, voice and guitar sound will now be missed by many very much. All we can do now is play the excellent albums he made with this wonderful band. Live In Bremen - On Stage In Concert is certainly one of them!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
Where to buy?
All Rights Reserved Background Magazine 2017