Mostly Autumn -
Back In These Arms

(2DVD 2023, 144:52, Mostly Autumn Records)

The tracks:
  1- Tomorrow Dies(7:05)
  2- Spirit Of Mankind(4:49)
  3- Nowhere To Hide(4:19)
  4- The Spirit Of Autumn Past (Part 2)(5:48)
  5- The Last Climb(6:52)
  6- Gaze(4:53)
  7- This Endless War(6:32)
  8- Back In These Arms(6:32)
  9- Passengers(5:58)
10- Mother Nature(14:10)
  1- In For The Bite(4:13)
  2- Into The Stars(4:11)
  3- Western Skies(6:37)
  4- Skin Of Mankind(4:46)
  5- Changing Lives(6:56)
  6- Silver Glass(6:30)
  7- Heart, Body And Soul(5:23)
  8- White Rainbow(18:55)
  9- The Harder That You Hurt(4:43)
10- Heroes Never Die(8:27)
11- Forever And Beyond(7:13)

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Fans of Mostly Autumn had to wait ten long years to have a follow up DVD release for Live At The Boerderij (2013, see review). The excellent DVD on which at the time the rather new female lead vocalist Olivia Sparnenn-Josh shone on the stage. She made many fans forget her successor Heather Findlay, who shone for the last time during her farewell concert which was recorded three years earlier and released on the excellent DVD That Night In Leamington (2010, see review). But was it worth the long wait many people asked themselves? I guess it was more than worth the wait of Back In These Arms the new double DVD. Which will be on sale at gigs and in their webshop.

After all of the pent-up emotion and frustration that gathered after two and a half years of inactivity due to the pandemic, the band returned for this release back to one of their favourite venues. Namely Cultuurcentrum Boerderij in Zoetermeer. In their second homeland, none other than the Netherlands. They climbed this stage countless times and this time around the line up included the earlier mentioned Olivia Sparnenn-Josh on vocals, band leader Bryan Josh on guitars and vocals, Chris Johnson on guitars and vocals, Henry Rogers on drums and old servants Iain Jennings on keyboards, Andy Smith on bass and Angela Gordon on flute and keyboards.

You could say that this concert was a mark of some kind of normality returning, and the cast of songs spans 27 years of the band. The magic and intensity was captured deeply in this show and is highly infectious. The band was at the top of their game. Showing the audience that they are going on full gear again, because they had waited so long to see them playing their favourite songs. Which they loved so much and above all missed so much!

The setlist for this show was filled with so many old classic Mostly Autumn tunes. Compositions such as Nowhere To Hide, The Spirit Of Autumn Past (Part 2), The Last Climb, Passengers, Heroes Never Die and the absolute highlight for me personally Mother Nature. But also filled with many new classic Mostly Autumn tunes. Compositions such as Tomorrow Dies, White Rainbow, This Endless War and The Harder That You Hurt. So it was mainly enjoying both sides of the stage. The band was able to play their favourites again and the fans could enjoy them again. A win-win situation so to speak.

It's difficult to mention any highlights because the whole performance, divided into two sets, is one musical highlight for me. Therefore I will not go deeper into that issue. One thing is for sure. The over two hours long performance is musically the best you can get from this wonderful band. It probably beats all the other live releases they have made so far.
When it comes to the musicians on stage, it's hard to single anyone out. Everyone did their best to make it an excellent performance. Olivia once again is a one of a kind female vocalist. I guess it difficult to mention anybody in the progressive rock scene who can top her performances on a stage. Bryan Josh's guitar parts are also exceptional this time and cannot be faulted. Just enjoy it when he lets his guitar do the talking. The band is of course very lucky to have a great keyboardist like Iain Jennings in their ranks. His parts are sometimes like a symphony of sound. Sometimes sensitive on the piano or more violent on the synthesizers. Angela Gordon's flute playing is always enchanting and an indispensable part of the band's sound. Chris Johnson started in the band as a possible replacement for the unfortunately deceased Liam Davison. A role that he fulfilled in a very excellent way. Filling all the extra musical parts with extra rhythm parts and sometimes also even playing a solo or doing twin guitar parts with Bryan. Finally, the rhythm section. This has consisted of bassist Andy Smith (been in the band as long as I can remember) and drummer Henry Rogers for quite some time now. They connect with each other well and provide a basis on which the other musicians can come forward to play their solos.

Not only was the band at the top of their game. This can also be said about the people who made it possible to enjoy this excellent concert as often as you would like to in your living room on your television. The excellent camera team of Dutch film maker John Vis has outdone themselves with this release. He and his crew made some wonderful shots and the editing is simple superb!

Therefore this DVD is of a superb quality. It was filmed with lots of cameras from different angles. This way you can see all the band members play their instruments from a very close range, just the way you want to see it. Multiple interesting parts are edited in one frame. It's almost impossible to miss anything of this great performance.

After watching this stunning DVD, I can only say that the people behind the cameras captured Mostly Autumn just the way they are live on stage. Therefore I have to compliment the team that was responsible for this awesome recording. They succeeded in recording even better DVDs than That Night In Leamington and Live At The Boerderij . It was the right decision to let the Dutch film this Mostly Autumn concert and the band made the right choice to have their show recorded at Cultuurpodium Boerderij in Zoetermeer. Therefore Back In These Arms only deserves the highest rating of five stars which is a lot for a live recording! Who could ask for more!

This is a superb product and therefore a must have for any fan of Mostly Autumn. Highly recommended to everybody who enjoys fantastic melodic progressive rock by some amazing musicians. So the highest rating of five stars is very well deserved. The best live release in a very long time, that's for sure. Words can hardly describe what I went through, I am just speechless about this awesome live experience! Grab it while you can. You won't regret it!

The audio from this stunning concert was released as a double CD as well

***** Henri Strik (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)

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