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Pendragon - Past And Presence CD (album) cover





4.03 | 62 ratings

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erik neuteboom
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Last week I watched an old video that contains a BBC documentary about the year 1977. Of course it was about the rise of the punk music and their venomous remarks towards progrock music: too important visuals, the musicians as small and tiny figures on stage, the self-indulgence during the soli and the great emotional distance between the musicians and the fans. When the neo-prog movement emerged in the early Eighties you can suggest that they had learned from the critical punk remarks: less indulgent and more direct music, more rock elements and especially more contact with the fans, even a kind of 'cult-following'.

I had to think about this while watching the Past And Present DVD because for me Pendragon is perhaps the best example of the neo-prog movement, even more than early Marillion and IQ: Pendragon plays straight-forward progrock, quite simply but with emotion and very tasteful, driven by neo-progrock veteran Nick Barrett with his warm, very distinctive vocals and sensitive and powerful guitar work. From the very first song on this DVD there is a great atmosphere (community singing, handclapping and screams of excitement) in the wonderful opera-like concert hall and the band plays inspired and enthousiastically. I am impressed by the beautiful lightshow with lots of blue and green layers and some amazing light effects. The sound is good and during the concert we can welcome all former band members because of the 21st anniversary of the album The Jewel: keyboard player John Barnfield (with his Memorymoog and Mark Kelly-like flights), multi-instrumentalist and co-founder Julian Baker (founded Pendragon in 1978 with Nick) and between the 6th track till the 'encores' there is keyboard player Nick Carter who delivers a great job. My highlights are the catchy Flying High, Fall Far (Nick changes his awful looking blue Fender Strat for a wonderful orange Gibson Les Paul guitar), the instrumentals Excalibur and Please (howling guitar runs), the beautiful and compelling Alaska (pleasant atmosphere and strong interplay), the 'classic' The Black Night (again howling guitar and lush keyboards) and the final song Stan And Ollie (prog and roll with fiery guitar and all band members on stage, great atmosphere!). A special moment is when Nick walks into the crowd to sing and then many fans start to take pictures from him while he is embraced or they put hands on his shoulders, who dare to say there is no contact between musicians and fans during progrock concerts?!

For me this is a neo-progrock document, I love the nostalgia and it's a great performance by the band, not to be missed by any neo-progrock fan!

erik neuteboom | 4/5 |


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