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Gentle Giant - Playing The Fool - The Official Live CD (album) cover


Gentle Giant


Eclectic Prog

4.50 | 403 ratings

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GENTLE GIANT have absolutely no problems to play their complex, multi-instrumental pieces on stage.

About the first disc: Already the rocky "Just The Same" (FREE HAND) or the complex "Proclamation" (THE POWER AND THE GLORY) which is played with such an effortlessness that you may not believe it will cause an auditory canal-orgasm. But if you hear how easy the band around the SHULMAN BROTHERS plays and sings the incredibly complex and squiggled "On Reflection (FREE HAND) (rembember: all five members are singing here and they change their instuments during the song) you will feel impelled to construct a GENTLE GIANT-shrine. You think that was the peak level of the concert? Far wrong! The band even enhances itself! With their nearly 16 minutes long medley "Excerpts from Octopus" (I think I do not need to explain which songs from which album are featured here) GENTLE GIANT show their mastery on their instruments, again - so as in the song "On Reflection" - they show how easy singing for several voices is for them. You will find a guitar-duett, a medieval sounding flute-part, anecdotes from other GENTLE GIANT-albums (so as a part of the song "Acquiring The Taste" from the same-titled album in the guitar-duett) and lots of solos which connect the individual parts here. After all those musical excesses GENTLE GIANT plays the more calm "Funny Ways" (GENTLE GIANT) which contains an incredible vibraphone-solo which is played by keyboarder KERRY MINNEAR. The sad, beautiful ballad will quiet your mind a bit (in the figurative sense of course).

Indeed the second disc rocks mercilessly right away (it may even rock a bit more than the first one). After the interesting glass-breaking solo we allready know from the album IN A GLASS HOUSE the band plays the two very rocky and squiggled tunes "The Runaway" and the sometimes baroque-sounding "Experience" (a bridge connects both songs) which you will find on the already mentioned fith album of GENTLE GIANT. Hereafter the band challenges our ears with the song "So Sincere" (THE POWER AND THE GLORY) which is not easy to digest when you hear it for the first few times but wich contains an excellent drumbash played by all band members (vocalist DEREK SHULMAN used to call this "percussion-insanity"). Especially drummer JOHN WEATHERS abounds himself here and convinces with his works on the drums. The GLOCKENSPIEL part at the end tops the tune off. The next song, "Free Hand" (from the same-titled album) is again a rocky tune with an outstanding guitar-solo played by guitarist GARY GREEN. An excellent piece, if you ask me. The following title "Sweet Georgia Brown" which does not appear on any studio album sounds like a violin-based jazz-piece from the late 30s or early 40s. Now bassist and violinist RAY SHULMAN shows his best. The last song "Peel The Paint/I Lost My Head" connects two songs from GENTLE GIANT's third album THREE FRIENDS and from their eighth album IN'TERIVEW. Also maybe not easy to digest, but very interesting and rocky.

Allright, that's it. I really have nothing to critizise here. After listening to this album you can only be awestruck by the band's skills and the emotionality these guys used to play their songs live. PLAYING THE FOOL is one musical excess. I strongly, strongly, strongly recommend this album! Five stars!

Badabec | 5/5 |


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