Saturday, October 30, 2010

Magenta Real World-Live Acoustic with String Quartet & Oboe!

Official news release from the Magenta Website:

Magenta is thrilled to announce the release of ‘Live at Real World’, the 3 disc set of its acoustic performance at Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studio recorded in November 2009. This special package features a 2 CD recording of the concert, with the addition of three additional songs also recorded at Real World the following day. A DVD is also included featuring NTSC format video of the entire concert with audio in stereo and 5.1 mixes. Extras include a 5.1 mix of ‘Joe’ from ‘Home’, the promotional video of ‘Blind Faith’ and two photo galleries.

The band has two videos on YouTube from the performance:

Monday, October 18, 2010

Yes Union DVD -- mixed reactions

A Concert from the 1991 Yes Union tour is finally being released! I was originally very excited when I heard this news; it was the first time I ever saw them in concert (I was 18 at the time), and it was quite spectacular. "In the Round," performing on a circular stage in the center of the Rose Garden in Portland, with this huge metal multi-armed spider-like light rigging up above them, the stage would revolve slowly giving you a great view of all 8 members of the tour, bringing them together onstage for the only tour in the band's history like this. Just the fact that they were able to get Howe and Rabin onstage at the same time is saying something!

However, I was quite disappointed today when I went and looked at the official video clips on YouTube from this DVD. The concert that is presented in the video is NOT "In the Round," but is on a traditional stage. I was really looking forward to seeing them perform on the revolving stage, as I remember it.

And why does Tony Kaye's T-Shirt say "HARD?" That made me laugh. Perhaps he's finding Wakeman's parts a bit too difficult? Or perhaps he just has a hard time playing them one handed while waving the other hand up in the air?

And poor Bruford looks like he's bored, perhaps thinking... "Only one time signature at a time... sheesh. But at least I get my electronic drumpad endorsement."

I wonder if Rabin plays the same acoustic guitar solo that I still remember way back from that concert I watched in 1991 -- I mean, he's a great guitarist in his own right, but when he's up against Steve Howe, who's doing one of his amazing acoustic guitar solos, perhaps Trevor should have just grabbed his electric instead and done some nice fast shredding or something -- perhaps accompanied by one of the drummers. That's what he seemed best at.

Which reminds me ... Hmmm, I think I remember Bruford and White did a rather awesome drum duet. Might be worth getting the DVD just for that.

I read that this was filmed during the last concert of the tour-- perhaps that's why they all look so tired and disinterested.

All gripes and jokes aside, I'm looking forward to getting this DVD. I just wish they had filmed a concert "In the Round" as I remember it.

I've incuded a short clip of Awaken for your (hopefully) enjoyment.

BUT WAIT!!!!!! Look what I just found: a professionally filmed video clip of Yes performing in the round on the Union Tour in Denver ... so the film exists. Wonder why they never released it? Aparently the sound of the full concert isn't very good, but Trevor Rabin did a nice sound mix for some of the tracks. Luckily someone has put quite a bit of it on Youtube -- 12 segments. I'm guessing I'd like this better than the DVD that's being released -- and since I (and you) can watch it free on YouTube, I think it may be far the better alternative.

The playlist can be found here:

and you can watch it below. I've got the full playlist embedded:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Take a pebble....

I just got a new book of ELP sheet music -- the only one currently in print. To celebrate I'm posting the two-part video of Emerson, Lake, & Palmer performing "Take a Pebble" in 1971. It's a great song with some unusual piano strumming, jazzy improve, and some great drumming and vocals, with a nice folksy acoustic guitar bit in the middle. The video is a little out of synch with the music, but it's still nice.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Caamora's "She"

I heard about this project of Clive Nolan's back when it was first released, but it's taken me until now to get around to getting a copy and giving it a listen. Now I'm wondering what I was waiting for! One of the best new albums I've heard in a long time. It's a 2 hour long symphonic rock opera adaptation of the classic novel She written by Henry Rider Haggard in the late 1800s. A plot synopsis of the opera can be found here.

Clive Nolan has  created something really incredible here. not only did he write pretty much the whole thing and play all keyboards, he also takes on the role of one of the main characters, a lost explorer named Leo. He's joined by the Polish singer Agnieszka Swita in the role of She Who Must Be Obeyed, the 2,000-year-old power-mad god-queen, Christina Booth of Magenta as Ustane, the servant girl who falls in love with him, and Alan Reed, formerly of the band Pallas, who takes the part of his friend and fellow explorer.

She is available as a double CD studio album, as well as a live performance DVD. In the DVD the band (joined by cello, French horn, and various woodwinds) takes on the passive role, similar to a pit orchestra, while the cast and chorus move around on stage in costume as in a traditional opera. While some are undoubtedly inclined to label this as pretentious or overdone, I think they've pulled it off wonderfully. The show has been performed around the world, mostly in countries more inclined toward such musical efforts.

A couple clips of the DVD are available on YouTube, so I've included them here:

The scene at the opening where the two explorers are shipwrecked in a storm.

The confrontation between She and Ustane over the wounded Leo.

Nightwish: Ghost Love Score

Not one of my favorite bands, but one of my favorite songs -- A 10-minute-long, near perfect blend of metal, orchestra, choir, and quasi-operatic vocals. I'm not a huge fan of metal music generally, but since I have a soft spot for anything orchestral I quickly fell for this. They have quite a few other songs backed with orchestra and choir, and they're done quite well.

Unfortunately I couldn't find any performances actually featuring the choir and orchestra -- in this video the band is performing along with pre-recorded orchestra and choral tracks.

I don't follow this band very closely, but I do know that the singer featured in this video has been replaced, which caused quite a stir among fans. I have two of their albums that feature the singer in this video, and really enjoy the more orchestral tracks on them.