June 2009 had been very special for a lot people because that month the King of Pop Michael Jackson had died. It was also a special month for me as it turned out. Dutch progressive rock band Mangrove released their masterpiece Beyond Reality (see review) and gave a superb concert to celebrate this release (see review). The whole concert was filmed and it seemed that the footage would only be used for private use. A sad case! I would have loved to see this fantastic performance one more time. In the meantime their drummer Joost Hagemeijer was replaced by Remco Engels and a couple of other live shows were filmed as well. Therefore I never did expect that someday I could witness a DVD release of their release party. However the band felt that the recordings were too good to be left on the shelf. They didn't want to keep it away from their fans as they wrote on their website.
Live Beyond Reality belongs to what they mentioned as the Mangrove DVD trio
This DVD will be the first one in a series of three DVDs that will be released in succession. Among this series will be the special DVD show done at 'De Boerderij' in Zoetermeer in the Netherlands which featured the band's latest line up. Furthermore you can expect the unique acoustic show “More or Less...” which we reviewed as well (see review). But that's all for later because this review is about the first release of the DVD trio.
The DVD starts with a very nice menu that shows a house in the snow. Through one of the windows, you can watch the bands performance at the Gigant in Apeldoorn. Through this window you can see the band in action for 2 hours and 15 minutes. While watching this performance I asked myself if they could capture the true spirit of this wonderful live show. Well I guess they pretty much gave me the same feeling which I had while I was in front of the stage during this excellent concert. Again, I did see a couple of musicians that tried as hard as they could to entertain their audience. One more time I did see them all dressed in black clothes playing a selection of songs taken from their first three albums, kicking off with I Fear The Day taken from their concept album Facing The Sunset. It became clear that the film crew had taken good positions to nail down all the important musical parts. Most of all, drummer Joost Hagemeijer did get some rather good close ups. This way you could see perfectly how he hit the acoustic drums and electronic devices. Also, lead singer Roland van der Horst was a real eye catcher seen through the eyes of the camera. He played very well on the acoustic and electric guitars-all seen at close range. Bassist Pieter Drost was also displayed in a perfect way. Even the total shots of the band were perfect. Only keyboard player Chris Jonker was rather badly filmed. I hardly could see him behind his stack of keyboards while touching the keys during the first three songs. I didn't care that much at first because I was most of all curious to see how they had filmed my favourite pieces Fatal Sign, Wizard Of Tunes, City Of Darkness and the audience favourite There Must Be Another Way. I guess nobody had told the guy covering Chris that those songs contain essential keyboard parts which should be seen being played in their full glory. But that wasn't the case. I can't use any four letter words in this review but that's pretty much what came to my mind when I didn't see Mr. Jonker playing those fantastic synthesizer parts in many close ups. Thank God the music was still breathtaking so I didn't trash my living room!
However during the second part of the show it seemed that somebody did get a kick in the ass during the break. This time the shots behind the keyboards did contain enough close ups to watch the whole performance of Beyond Reality with a smile on my face. Bravo! This was just the way I wanted to see a band on a live stage. I just want to see the musicians sweat dripping from my TV screen. The same musicians were this time dressed in white clothes and looked as if they had performed the songs many times before. But that wasn't the case at all. Only the title track was done before as a sort of teaser for the new album-an album that was on sale the first time during this concert so hardly anybody knew the songs performed. Regardless, the crowd loved it all. However this can't be seen on the footage of this release party. The interaction with the audience and the applause in between the songs during the whole show were just left out. Between almost every track my TV screen went black. Only during the second set, when the songs were done with hardly any interruptions, could you watch the songs in a row. Only after the encore (Voyager) can you hear some Dutch words to thank the people who came to this splendid performance.
This is a splendid performance that certainly let me-one more time-relive that certain day in June of 2009. So thanks to the band and everybody involved who released this stunning concert on DVD. I guess they are not to blame for the criticism that I had during the first part of the concert footage. No extra items are included this time. Nobody will miss them after they have seen this first DVD release from a progressive rock band that most of all is superb in concert. It has to be said that Mangrove deserves a much wider audience. Hopefully, this release will gain them more attention abroad.
This is highly recommended to everybody who enjoys the music made by bands such as Camel, Pink Floyd and Genesis. Please get your copy at the bands web address!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Robert James Pashman)
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