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Peter Bardens' Mirage - Live Germany 1996 (aka Speed Of Light - Live) CD (album) cover

LIVE GERMANY 1996 (AKA SPEED OF LIGHT - LIVE)

Peter Bardens' Mirage

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.64 | 5 ratings

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SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars Gold

As the title implies, this albums was recorded live in Germany in 1996 and features, in addition to Peter (or 'Pete', as he calls himself on the sleeve) Bardens himself on keyboards and vocals, Steve Adams on guitars and vocals, Desha Donnahue on bass, flute and vocals, and Dave Cohen on drums and percussions.

The set list consists of about 50% Camel songs and 50% Bardens' solo material. Such brilliant Camel classics as Never Let Go (from the self-titled 1973 debut), Rhayader / Rhayader Goes To Town (from 1975's The Snow Goose), Spirit Of The Water, and Lunar Sea (both from 1976's Moonmadness) are performed. Interestingly there is no track included from Mirage, the Camel album from which Bardens took the name for his solo band. Rain Dances (1977) is represented by two tracks in Skylines and Tell Me, but Breathless--the final album Bardens did with Camel before he left the band--is also overlooked. The majority of these songs were also featured on the previous release (Pete Bardens') Mirage Live 14.12.94., but the live versions present on this 1996 recording are much superior. The band he's got this time is a much tighter unit and both the band and the audience seem to enjoy themselves immensely on stage which translates very well to this recording. Lunar sea, Never Let Go, and Skylines work particularly well. Tell Me and Spirit Of The Water are good too, but work somewhat less well here. These two songs have female lead vocals, which is interesting for a change, but perhaps not the best choice.

From Bardens' solo albums two songs are played that originally appeared on 1987's Seen One Earth (Seascape and Home Thoughts), three from 1988's Speed Of Light (the title track, After Thought, and Gold), and two from 1991's Water Coulours (Timepiece and Journey). Most of these tunes are instrumentals but Gold and the title track from Speed Of Light are vocal numbers. The piano driven Home Thoughts and After Thought are played together and create an excellent interlude between the rockier tracks. Journey is another good instrumental piece. Timepiece is the jazziest number, it starts out well but overstays its welcome a little bit. Bardens' two most recent solo albums at the time of this live performance, 1993's Further Than You Know and 1995's Big Sky, are not represented in the set list. His two pre-Camel solo albums are also overlooked (so there is no Homage To The God Of Light here). Overall, there is thus a heavy concentration on material from 1973 to 1977 and from 1987 to 1991; which I would say are the two most creative periods in Bardens' long career.

This live album from Pete Bardens' Mirage is an excellent addition to any Camel fan's collection

SouthSideoftheSky | 4/5 |

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