Since the release of the album The God Thing back in 1997 I have been a regular follower of German progressive metallers Vanden Plas. Over those twenty years I have always been impressed by Vanden Plas's music and the evolution to slightly longer and a bit more bombastic compositions. A lot of people, including myself eagerly waited for a live recording of the band, since the last real live album Spirit Of Live was set in the year 2000 and left the fans waiting for seventeen years now.
Luckily for us in waiting, Vanden Plas was recorded live at the ProgPower USA festival in 2011 and the performance ended up on one single CD, as well as on DVD in one nice package.
Since the recordings are dated a number of years back, the set list lacks songs of the later albums: Chronicles Of The Immortals, Part One and its follow up Chronicles Of The Immortals, Part Two, released in 2014 and 2015 respectively. Like the album title indicates the show was part of the tour which promoted the The Seraphic Clockwork album (2010, see review). This does not indicate the mentioned album was performed integrally, five tracks are represented from the album. The other four tracks hail from Christ O, Far Off Grace and Beyond Daylight. Like several PPUSA videos I have seen in the past, the filming of those shows, with multiple cameras, smart focussing on vocalist and individual solo's, is quite nice to watch. Drummer Andreras Lill is filmed by two separate cameras, which adds up to the variation. Also keyboard player GŁnther Werno is frequently in the spotlight with a small special camera. All in all the whole show bids a wide range of variety, split screens, sometimes even in four parts. During the performance of the single Holes In The Sky, which is presented on The Seraphic Clockwork, their video clip is nicely blended into the live performance, adding a nice, variation. Musically Vanden Plas has chosen a diverse set list, some tracks are emphasizing on the powerful side of their music; the amazing Rush Of Silence, Cold Wind and the mighty final track Silently. Other tracks are focussed around Andy Kuntz strong vocal parts, combined with subtle keyboard and piano sections; the brilliant power ballad Far Off Grace. Both guitarist Stephan Lill as well as bass player Torsten Reichert are, besides performing very well; active on stage, interaction with both audience and fellow band members, which proves with how much fun and professionalism the band conquers ProgPower USA.
In the end I am very happy, although the show is a few years old. The performance is great, probably part of the reason why it is released so many years later. Sometime the stage lights are caught by the camera, which perhaps was supposed to happen, but that is just nit-picking. By the way, in the DVD menu you can chose between the regular stereo version and a 5.1 version, which almost make you feel you are actually attending the show.
**** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Dave Smith)
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