Pendragon - Concerto Maximo

(DVD 2009, 195:00, Metal Mind MMP DVD 0171)

The tracks:
  1- Walls of Babylon
  2- A Man of Nomadic Traits
  3- Wishing Well
  4- Eraserhead
  5- Total Recall
  6- Nostradamus
  7- Learning Curve
  8- Breaking the Spell
  9- Sister Bluebird
10- Shadow
11- The Freak Show
12- The Voyager
13- It's Only Me
14- Masters of Illusion
15- King of the Castle
16- And We'll Go Hunting Deer
17- Queen of Hearts

Pendragon Website        samples        Metal Mind Records

First, let me ask you a question. Who is the real front man of Pendragon? Well, of course, that is guitarist and lead singer Nick Barrett! No, wrong he isnít! Oh.., than it must be keyboard wizard Clive Nolan! Wrong again, because it is Scott Higham, Pendragonís new drummer! Most people already noticed his whims and jokes during Pendragonís last live concerts. I saw the band twice to promote their latest effort Pure. During the first gig at De Boerderij in Zoetermeer, Scottís way of drumming was already prominent, but during the second gig in Ittervoort (see concert reviews) he was very much in the limelights and he held my attention during the whole concert. A real eye catcher, he was.

The Polish camera crew filmed Pendragon in October 2008 in Katowice (where else?). They noticed Scottís somewhat different appearance compared with the other band members: short haircut (nearly bald), a well-trained body and big tattoos on his arms. However, he plays as if he has been in the band for ages, singing along with most of the songs. You can see the other musicians appreciating his contributions as much as the people in the audience do. The Polish visitors of the concert saw a band celebrating their 30th anniversary with a splendid performance, but also a raw and pure one. I think Raw would have been a good title for this DVD release. Nick Barrettís vocals do not always sound at his best, but he shows real emotions though. That also applies to the intense guitar sound in spite of the fact that the guitar sounds differ from the original recordings. I like music recorded the way it is performed without any adjustments in the studio in order to make it sound superb.

Many songs from Pure are on the set list, but unfortunately Indigo is not. That is a pity, because the song contains a beautiful guitar solo and is therefore one of Pendragonís new classics. Instead, we can enjoy the great solo in Itís Only Me also taken from Pure. Regarding the whole performance of the band and the quality of the recordings, I got no negative remarks at all. Everything is just as any fan likes it to be. After almost three hours of the best progressive rock music, there is nothing else left to wish for.

As applies to most of the released DVDís nowadays you get the usual extra information like interviews, biography, photo gallery, desktop images and web links. Some people like it, others donít. For me it is just a bonus, no more, no less. After seeing this DVD several times, I can only conclude that todayís heroes in progressive rock are the so-called neo progressive rock bands like Pendragon, IQ, Arena and Pallas. These bands are still alive and kicking and have no problem whatsoever to entertain their audience with incredible prog music. Even if Pendragon should release a DVD after every new studio album, I would really enjoy it!

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