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Arena - Smoke & Mirrors CD (album) cover





3.83 | 61 ratings

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4 stars Their tenth year anniversary: BRAVO!

Pepper's ghost is an illusionary technique used in theatre and in some magic tricks. Using a plate glass and special lighting techniques, it can make objects seem to appear or disappear, or make one object seem to "morph" into another. Often "Smoke and Mirrors" are used to make the trick work.

So this DVD is called "Smoke & Mirrors" after track 2 on the Pepper's Ghost album. It makes sense ARENA plays 3 tracks from their latest album. Fortunately the track list of this DVD has contains some of the best tracks of all of their albums till present. The show kick in with "Bedlam Fayre", an up-tempo track that also is the opening track of the Pepper's Ghost album.

The second track is the wonderful opening track from one of ARENA's finest albums: "the Visitor". As this sung was originally sung by my favourite ARENA singer Paul Wrightson, I was wondering how well Rob Sowden would sing it. I can only say he does a great job. Even so great that I personally don't miss Paul Wrightson too much anymore. But I was very delighted to see him perform some songs on the extra's of this DVD: The Reunion concert in "De Boerderij". During this extra footage John Jowitt and Paul Wrightson are invited to play bass and sing for ARENA once more. Great to see Paul Wrightson thank Rob Sowden for letting him sing a few songs. Makes you even wonder more why he left the band. (maybe he had to?). The best thing is to see that he's really enjoying singing and he gives us a stunning performance of "his songs" "A Crack In The Ice" and "The Hanging Tree". Rob and Paul are both singing "Crying For Help VII" together. Simply wonderful!

One more thing I have to say that this DVD shows once more that Mr. Clive Nolan really is one of the best keyboard players around in the prog-scene today! He's also the mastermind behind ARENA. And another thing I would like to say is that guitar player John Mitchell, IMHO, is just as good as Steve Rothery from Marillion, ARENA's big brother.

"Elea" is a wonderful instrumental track and the ARENA epic "The Hanging Tree" and "A State Of Grace" are performed after one and other, just like on "the Visitor" album, the way it should be done! All tracks are really worth it. Maybe special attention to the fact that also the epic "Solomon" of their debut album is played and "Medusa" from their second studio album "Pride" as well. All and all the tracks being performed life on "Smoke and Mirrors" could be seen as a nice ARENA overview for the last decade. This DVD may actually be seen as ARENA's tenth anniversary: BRAVO!

evenless | 4/5 |


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