I consider the Polish heavy prog formation Riverside as one of the best bands of the last decade. Riverside delivers a great tension between the mellow parts with guitar runs in the vein of Pink Floyd by Piotr Grudzinski, soaring keyboards played by Jacek Melnicky and heavy parts with propulsive guitar riffs, a thunderous rhythm-section and powerful Hammond-layers! Those passages are topped with the very emotional vocals of bassist Mariusz Duda. This manís putting his entire soul into the music!
Iím not up to every song on the four studio albums, but on stage Riverside is a powerhouse, a tight unit that loves to play for their fans. Since I discovered Riverside - thanks to my good friend ĎKiwi Rayí- soon after their debut album Out Of Myself (2003), Iíve witnessed the band three times, so I was eagerly looking forward to a live DVD. The bonus DVD of the limited edition of their latest studio effort Anno Domini High Definition was an excellent foretaste that caused cascades of goosebumps moments! This bonus DVD was recorded live in Amsterdam in 2008.
Watching the double DVD Reality Dream - a nice play upon words by the way - is a superb musical experience! What an emotion, dynamics and tension! This is a prog rock document that will still be appreciated twenty years from now! Riverside plays a home game in Poland as you can witness by the warm interaction between the band and the enthusiastic audience and the inspired and relaxed way they perform their music. From the very first note youíll be carried away to an outstanding musical trip loaded with emotion and excitement. In the hypnotizing song Out Of Myself we hear a Floydian intro and an intense ending with howling guitar and sparkling piano. Lots of shifting moods, a huge tension, an ominous atmosphere and heavy final parts can be heard in Volte-Face and Parasomnia. Rainbow Box and Dance With The Shadow deliver bombastic heavy prog with swelling Hammond-organ. 02 Panic Room is a hallucinating video clip and in I Turned You Down we can enjoy intense vocals and wonderful work with the volume pedal. The long and dynamic highlight Second Life Syndrome offers lots of emotion and exciting work on guitar and keyboards.
The lightshow is very tastefully and varied. I love the green and blue rays. Iíve read some critical remarks about the computer editing of the live images, but in my opinion it looks sensational and matches perfectly with Riversideís sound. It gives the music an extra dimension, but if you donít like it, only 10 to 20 percent of the images have been edited with this special computer program. So donít be fooled that this should have spoiled the entire DVD-set!
On the second DVD we can enjoy the two Ďencoresí Before and Ultimate Trip, the final part of the concert on the first DVD. Besides, you can watch seven tracks recorded between 2006 and 2008 in Germany, The Netherlands and Canada, including Back To The River with an obvious hint to their love for Pink Floyd. The quality of the images and the sound is a bit less than the concert registration, but the authencity makes it worth while watching. These extra tracks are no duplications, so this is a consumer-friendly way of treating the fans. The second DVD also contains a nice movie entitled Behind The Curtain by John Vis alongside a photo gallery and credits. This DVD certainly is a historical document of progressive rock music! Highly recommended!
***** Erik Neuteboom (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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