We don't need to introduce Peter Jones to our readers. He is the extremely talented blind artist who recently joined the concerts of the British band Camel on keyboards and saxophone. However he is most of all best known for his solo project called Tiger Moth Tales and of course his part in the British band Red Bazar. Playing the role as their lead singer and additional keyboard player. However he also might be known to many people for his numerous guest appearances on other artists' records, including, Barock Project, Bardic Dephts and the Colin Tench Project. After four studio albums he comes now with his first concert release entitled A Visit To Zoetermeer. The titles was without doubt inspired by his own composition A Visit To Chigwick. And you are served with a double pack in a narrow digipak, a CD and the accompanying DVD. This DVD contains exactly the same songs, nine in total, like the CD version plus five promo videos, which take around 22 minutes to play.
As the title suggests, and rightly so, that the album contains a recording of a concert registered at Cultuurpodium Boerderij in Zoetermeer, located in the Netherlands. It took place on January 26, 2019. At the time it was a double headliner show of the earlier mentioned Red Bazar and Tiger Moth Tales. Peter Jones appeared there in the company of guitarist Andy Wilson, bassist Mick Wilson and drummer Paul Comerie. The same musicians who climbed with Peter on stage to perform the music of Red Bazar as well. This meant that there was no need for a major conversion break - so maximum efficiency for organizers and musicians. As Tiger Moth Tales, the musicians only came on stage in different clothes and gave a fantastic concert. Bringing back the old seventies progressive rock sound resembling Genesis and Steve Hackett. But also sometimes the earlier mentioned Camel comes to mind!
You can't expect crazy moments with a big light show or special effects during a live performance of Tiger Moth Tales. And although it doesn't have some great scenery and choreography, nor does anything extraordinarily spectacular happen on the stage, from the first to the last minute it catches the attention of the viewer. This is a performance in which the main role is played not only by the musicians themselves, but above all by their music. And this one defends itself perfectly.
Throughout the concert there is a cross-section of the albums Cocoon (2014, see review), The Depths Of Winter (2017, see review) and the last album Story Tellers Part Two (2018, see review). Only nothing was done from Story Tellers Part One (2015, see review). But even without songs taken from this release there is still enough to enjoy music wise. Because the appearance of the British musicians is well rounded, the sound typical of Tiger Moth Tales is offered in a very successful way. Unsurprisingly, Jones plays the leading role. He is clearly in charge. And the singing - which is certainly a strength of the musician. Furthermore, he mainly acts on the keyboards, his use on the guitar is rather the exception. This concert set includes such well-known items as the stronger opener Toad Of Toad Hall to get in the right positive mood. Or the sad Christmas song Match Girl on which Mick Wilson draws attention when he picks up the melodica and gives the beautiful song a special touch. There is room for a playful pastiche in truly Jones style during The Merry Vicar, it is made with the theatrical flourish on The Boy Who Cried Wolf, there is the ultra-progressive epic Tigers In The Butter, there are also extremely romantic moments of elation in the form of the song A Visit To Chigwick played to the final. In general, the band delights with very nice melodies and arrangements, and in some songs they even manage to give them a bit of Genesis feeling.
The five promo videos contain the actual studio versions of the selected pieces and mostly show Pete Jones in various settings while operating his arsenal of guitars, keyboard and wind instruments. Nothing more or less. However still nice to watch!
All in all I can only be positive about this wonderful concert document. All this is done in a style similar to the music of Camel, Steve Hackett and Genesis, is maintained in a very English atmosphere and is constantly bearing a peculiar quality mark - a real musical stamp : the brilliant musician Peter Jones. It can't be described otherwise than unique and one of a kind. The genre fan should be able to enjoy the mixture of symphonic prog and neo prog and therefore highly recommended to those who like this kind of music. This live performance was without any doubt a lot of fun to listen to and to watch! Now it remains to be seen what Jones comes up with for the next Tiger Moth Tales album. Really looking forward to it.
**** Henri Strik (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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