Drummer and multi-instrumentalist Wojtek Szadkowski can be regarded as one of Poland's most productive musicians. He's one of the founder members of the legendary band Collage. Later on he led his own band Satellite and established the side project Peter Pan. In 2009 another project became reality called Strawberry Fields consisting basically of the same line-up as Satellite, with the exception of the new female vocalist Robin, whose real name is Marta Kniewska. Together they recorded their debut album Rivers Gone Dry (2009, see review). A few years after the release of that album, a live concert was shot at the famous Wyspiański Theatre in Katowice.
On this DVD guitarist Sarhan Kubeisi (Satellite) is seconded by guest guitarist Michal Kirmuc and keyboard player Krzyś Palczewski (Collage, Satellite). The latter was a guest musician on the debut album, but now he takes care of all the keyboards on stage. Bass player Jarek Michalski (Satellite) and drummer Wojtek Szadkowski complete the line-up. Well, to be honest the band's debut album wasn't the most impressive album I heard in 2011. For me it sounded too much as pop music instead of prog rock. However, sometimes when music is performed live on stage, it seems as if the musicians get an extra energy boost that lifts the music far above the quality of the studio album. With the impressive list of musicians participating on Live Strawberry Fields, I was hoping this would also be the case this time.
In a positive mood I sat down to listen, but unfortunately I was getting depressed and disappointed already during the first song. Robin's vocals are all in one and the same key and the repetition of the refrain Open Your Eyes a two hundred times didn't help either. During the show there's not much happening on stage and as it continues, I tended to drift away from the music. I think I got a bit bored by the monotonous vocals, the sound of pop music and the lack of any stage act at all. They also perform three 'covers', if you would like to call them that way, since Don't Walk Away In Silence and Is It Over are originally Satellite-songs in which I surely missed the vocals of Robert Amirian. That also applies to Living In The Moonlight, a cover from Collage. It's not a bad interpretation, but it never reaches the quality of the original.
I was hoping to see a fine live concert just like Magenta's DVDs, but for me it turned out to be disappointing. Too much focus on the popular side of music and a vocalist that doesn't affect me at all. I hope Wojtek Szadkowski will concentrate on just one band to put all his energy in. Sometimes side projects just don't work. Such a pity...
**+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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