Arena - Smoke & Mirrors

(DVD 2006, 172:00, Metal Mind Productions MMP DVD 0063)

The tracks:
  1- Bedlam Fayre
  2- A Crack in the Ice
  3- Midas Vision
  4- Elea
  5- The Hanging Tree
  6- A State of Grace
  7- (Don't Forget to) Breathe
  8- Smoke & Mirrors
  9- Purgatory Road
11- Waiting for the Flood
12- Medusa
13- The Shattered Room
14- Chosen
15- Skin Game
16- Witch Hunt
17- Enemy Without
18- Solomon
19- Friday's Dream
20- Cry VII

Arena Website        samples        Verglas Records

In October 2005, I witnessed a special live concert performed by British neo prog band Arena to promote their latest release Pepper’s Ghost . This gig was part of their tenth anniversary tour. The band visited De Boerderij at Zoetermeer for the second time to please their fans with a special concert. Therefore, they had invited ex-members John Jowitt (bass) and Paul Wrightson (vocals) to perform a large section of the Visitor-album together with the musicians who are currently in the band. Both Jowitt and Wrightson contributed a great deal to the success of one of the best albums Arena ever made. At the end of the show, they both returned on stage to do the special encore Crying For Help VII . A friend of mine shot and directed this unique concert. This special moment in Arena’s history appeared on the band’s second DVD-release for Metal Mind Productions. The footage, also including the performance of Medusa, was added to the concert they gave at the end of September 2005 in Katowice, Poland. Smoke & Mirrors proves that the people involved in the making of the DVD learned a lot since Arena’s first one Caught In The Act. The crew shot everything in a very professional way. The sound, the lightshow and the camera positions are much better than on their previous DVD. In addition, the interview with keyboardist Clive Nolan and drummer Mick Pointer has improved in comparison with the one on Caught In The Act. However, it is a pity that the Polish interviewer still keeps inquiring after the start of the band and after the line-up changes. It is a great pleasure to see Arena performing material from Pepper’s Ghost. All band members are almost similar dressed just like the outfit on the cover of the album. Besides the concert, including classic tracks like The Hanging Tree and Solomon, you can also see the introduction film that Arena uses before a concert. In my opinion, this DVD is a souvenir for everyone who saw the Pepper’s Ghost Tour. If you missed the live show, you get another chance here to see what a top-notch band Arena is live on stage.

**** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)

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