The Flower Kings - Tour Kaputt

(CD 2011, 78:52 / 61:13, 143 min, Reingold Records RR CD 006 / RR DVD 001)

The tracks:
CD/Set 1:
  1- Love Is The Only Answer
  2- There Is More To This World
  3- Retropolis
  4- Trading My Soul
  5- Hudson River Sirens Call
  6- I am The Sun
CD/Set 2:
  7- Life In Motion
  8- Brimstone Flight 999
  9- Babylon
10-  Stardust We Are
11- What If God Was Alone
12- Blade Of Cain
13- The Sum Of No Reason

The Flower Kings Website        Reingold Records

Many things went wrong during the summer of 2007 when The Flower Kings got on tour to promote their album The Sum Of No Evil. First their tourbus was heavily damaged as a result of hitting a moose. A substitute was arranged at short notice, but then some troubles appeared when guest drummer Pat Mastelotto (Mister Mister, King Crimson) wanted to cross the British border. As an American musician he wasn't allowed to visit the UK without the proper documents. However, all things were settled in time which made it possible to continue with the band. Also bassist Jonas Reingold experienced adversity with serious health problems, but eventually he managed to do the job on stage properly during his performance at De Boerderij in Zoetermeer, together with Roine Stolt (lead guitar, vocals), Hasse Froberg (guitars, vocals) and Tomas Bodin (keyboards). The gig in The Netherlands appeared to be recorded for a release on DVD and CD.

Initially it seemed that the audio and video material of this Dutch show got lost, but out of the blue a new release of The Flower Kings had been announced. With the full title Tour Kaputt, Official Bootleg Live @ De Boerderij, The Netherlands, Nov 2007 the material was finally presented to their fans and to people who enjoy good live performances on audio and video. The title Tour Kaputt has everything to do with the moose accident. It was a statement of the German crew after the vehicle was hit by this enormous animal. Fortunately many stories have a happy ending and so has this one. The tour continued and despite the accident and incidents the Sum Of No Evil­- tour delivered a great souvenir! I'm not sure whether the whole gig is presented on this release, but as far as I'm concerned it doesn't really matter.

The album has been divided into two separate releases both with the same title. On a double-CD you can enjoy the audio taken from the concert footage that was presented on a DVD as well. The first disc contains the music from the first set and, quite logically, the second one contains the second set plus the encores. The sound on both the CD and the DVD is very good and that also applies for the images on the DVD. However, when you start the DVD you are tricked by the people who shot this gig. The first two minutes the black and white images look very poor, just like cheap amateur footage you can watch daily on YouTube. However, as soon as Roine Stolt starts to sing the colours appear and the show continues with Love Is The Only Answer, one of the highlights of their latest studio album The Sum Of No Evil. This is a classic Flower Kings-tune performed with a lot of passion and power just like the rest of the material on this album. Songs as Trading My Soul, Life In Motion and Brimstone Flight 999 are as much welcomed by the audience as the old stuff.

It's a feast to enjoy these old favourites once more. On the one hand I really wonder if people, who don't like songs as There Is More To This World, Retropolis, Stardust We Are and I Am The Sun may call themselves prog heads. On the other hand it remains a matter of taste, of course. Tomas Bodin once again used real Moog-synthesizers to make these songs sound even better. Bodin is not the only musician responsible for the fantastic live sound during this fine performance. As always Reingold steals the show with an outstanding bass solo during Retropolis in spite of suffering some serious health problems. Guest drummer Pat Mastelotto proves to be a fine substitute for Zoltan Csörsz who wasn't able to get on tour with the band due to several personal issues. Mastelotto uses several electronic devices thus giving the music a fresh approach. His drumming has a fine groove on which the rest of the musicians can improvise as much as they like. Good examples are Sum Of No Evil, the encores and Retropolis. The vocals of Froberg and Stolt sound very strong as well. This isn't always the case when musicians play guitar and sing at the same time as I noticed with many other bands in the past.    

Fortunately Mr. Stolt shared this live performance with his fans instead of storing it in his private collection. The fantastic sound and the fine close-ups of all musicians make this release a very mature product. It can easily compete with the bands earlier DVD/CD-releases Meet The Flower Kings and Instant Delivery. These were shot with more cameras and recorded with better sound equipment, but in my opinion they didn't capture the band in its essence the way Tour Kaputt does. Highly recommended!

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

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