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Peter Bardens' Mirage - Mirage Live 14.12.94 CD (album) cover

MIRAGE LIVE 14.12.94

Peter Bardens' Mirage

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

2.80 | 8 ratings

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SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
3 stars Caramel

In the mid 1990's Peter Bardens put together a band called Mirage, named after the 1974 Camel album. In addition to Bardens himself, this band was made up by previous members of Camel and Caravan including Andy Ward, David Sinclair, Pye Hastings, and Jimmy Hastings. This constellation obviously brought back memories from the 1977-1978 period of Rain Dances and Breathless, when Camel was joined by members of Caravan and Andy Latimer jokingly said that they were thinking of renaming the band "Caramel".

Peter Bardens' Mirage went on the road to perform a mixture of Camel and Caravan material plus songs from Peter Bardens recent solo albums. All of the Camel albums to which Bardens contributed are represented in the set list from Never Let Go from the self-titled 1973 debut to The Sleeper from 1978's Breathless album. 1974's Mirage is represented by Free Fall; 1975's The Snow Goose by The Great Marsh/Rhayader/Rhayader Goes To Town; 1976's Moonmadness by Song Within A Song and Lunas Sea; and 1977's Rain Dances by Tell Me and Skylines. Several Caravan classics are also performed including 9 Feet Underground and For Richard. From Bardens' solo albums there is one track each from 1987's Seen One Earth and 1988's Speed Of Light, and two from 1991's Water Colours. The song Gunblasters would later appear on Bardens' 1995 album Big Sky. The song Lizard On A Rock was previously unfamiliar to me and I still don't know were it is from. It is actually one of the better songs in this set!

The Camel songs are performed slower than the original versions. This works to interesting effect on Song Within A Song which here is given a much jazzier feel, but it is less successful on some of the other Camel numbers. Some of these performances feel a little bit lazy and lacking in energy. Compared to the versions of these songs played live by the "real" Camel (the Andy Latimer-led incarnation of the band) these versions by Peter Bardens' Mirage are clearly inferior. Of the two songs performed from Rain Dances, Tell Me works somewhat better than Skylines. The Camel number that works best here is Lunar Sea. The Caravan songs are similarly not up to par with other versions that I've heard (live or studio). You get the feeling that the band was somewhat underrehearsed at the time of this recording.

The only numbers that one could argue are improved in this format are the solo Bardens tunes. Out of these the two instrumentals originally from Water Colours, Timepiece and Journey, are clearly the better ones. Overall this live album is worth hearing for fans of both Camel and Caravan; good, but not really essential.

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |

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