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Refugee - Live in Concert - Newcastle City Hall 1974 CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.54 | 33 ratings

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5 stars A Masterpiece Prog Live Album!

Colleague Collaborator Guillermo Vázquez wrote at this site : "Why Patrick Moraz left this band?" to start his great review of Refugee's the only one studio album. This is truly a thought provoking question and I do like it because I fully agree with him. Refugee is a great band and there was actually no compelling reason to disband. What a pity! With such a great studio album, this band is actually could be BIGGER than ELP. This live performance proves that Refugee is a great band! By the way, for those of you who have not listened to (and MUST OWN!) Refugee only one album, you must. It's a masterpiece of progressive music. In fact that album was the one that influenced the pop music scene in my country through the release of original sound track film "Badai Pasti Berlalu") in 1977. The musical nuance was mostly taken from Refugee's album.

I only knew this live in concert CD couple of months ago when I browse the net. I then ordered this album through the Missingpiece - which took so long to process because they were on leave - how come no customer order assurance during their leave period? Well finally .. after a long wait my order arrived and this was my second priority to enjoy after Genesis "Live" (Gabriel era). The first thing I did was to read the sleeve notes and I was impressed with the passion demonstrated to make this live concert CD available from Brian Davison's C 90 cassette containing major stuffs which later become this CD. The notes were well written by Martyn Hanson (the author of "Hang On To A Dream" - The Story of The Nice). Because I was grown with vintage prog music like Genesis, Yes, Pink Floyd and also Refugee, I was really touched with the notes that Martyn put it. One of it was the fact that the tape was originally found on 2000 and it it made into CD in 2007!

I don't really care about the sonic quality which I consider "poor" even though Martyn said it's good. It's not good at all to my standard. The sonic quality of my Marillion bootleg albums are better than this one. But again, I don't care because I'm so curious to have the live version of this legendary band that has colored my childhood days. My pulse was running faster when "Outro - Ritt Mickley" (2:53) was wonderfully performed even though it's quite short. The song starts in the middle because I believe the opening part is damaged. But it's okay, I don't care. Through this track I can sense the great live vibes and how Patrick Moraz plays his keyboard wonderfully. With this release I finally know who Ritt Mickley is. As Martyn put in the sleeve notes that Patrick's English is good but his pronunciation is really bad. It actually meant to be "rhythmically" but the other band members thought that "Ritt Mickely" due to bad pronunciation from Patrick. What a great prog joke, really! All of them laughed but the name stuck.

I shout outloud "Yeeeaaah!" when I listened to "One Left Handed Peter Pan" (8:44) which to me is one of great symphonic prog rock composition featuring dynamic and pulsating keyboard work, aggressive bass lines and dazzling drumwork. It's truly a masterpiece!!! That's why, this band could be bigger than ELP, especially knowing "One Left Handed Peter Pan" which supposed to be part of Refugee's second album. It opens with ambient keyboard followed with tight bass lines by Lee Jackson and powerful drum beats by Brian followed with Patrick's keyboard work. What follow then was the energetic vocal line by Lee Jackson. He sings with very strong accentuation and energy. Patrick Moraz solo follows with his pulsating synthesizer. It's really great! It's gonna be a great track in studio, I think. Well, actually after quitting from Yes, Moraz could rejoin with other Refugee members and made the second album.

"The Diamond Hard Blues Apples Of The Moon" (7:00) is basically The Nice's song which Refugee performed beautifully. Next are two songs from their first album. The first one is "Someday" (6:06) which actually telling the story about the break-up of Lee Jackson (vocal, bass) first marriage. It's performed much more dynamic than the original studio version. The second is "Papillon" (8:00) which its name was inspired by Dustin Hoffman's film with the same title. Again this song demonstrates great combination of aggressive keyboard work, tight basslines and dazzling drumwork. The live version is much dynamic. This live version features also Bob Dylan's "She Belongs To Me" (8:54).

The last song is my ultimate favorite from Refugee "Grand Canyon Suite" (18:24) which represents Patrick's willingness to write a piece of music on natural wonder. It's quite surprising to me that Patrick played Alpine Horn at the start of this epic. I really enjoy this track, performed live, especially with how energetic Lee Jackson delivered his powerful vocal with really great dynamic. "When you go home and sleep this nightDream of wings and astral flight. Fly with the speed of waking light. And we'll go. And I'll show you. Show you the way. To the Grand Canyon". What a great song, really! Listening to the melody of this song, I almost cry ..!!

Overall, I cannot give any less than five stars for this wonderful and energetic live show. However, I would raise a flag for those of you who really an audiophile should consider twice if you wanna buy this record. The sonic quality is poor, I tell you. But for me, I don't care. This live record is a gem for me and I will treat it as precious as my other collections. It's a must have for those who love vintage prog! Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Gatot | 5/5 |


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