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Caamora - She CD (album) cover

SHE

Caamora

 

Neo-Prog

4.06 | 18 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Brave

Having heard the album first, the DVD now serves to make clear Clive Nolan's vision for this elaborate project. "She" is not simply another concept album, it is a fully fledged rock opera. This performance, recorded in Katosice, Poland in October 2007, has all the makings of a west end musical along the lines of "Jesus Christ, Superstar" or "Evita".

The band take the form of a mini-orchestra, seated on either side of the stage and reading from full scores. It is though essentially a rock line up with additional oboe, horn and cello. In addition, we have an 11 piece choir, who take on the role as extras in the performance. Centre stage is dominated by the four lead singers, Clive Nolan, Agnieszka Swita, Alan Reed (ex Pallas) and Christina Booth (Magenta). Given that at least three of these (I am not sure about Booth) are not experienced actors, One has to admire their bravery in taking on roles which require them to sing and act throughout the performance. It has to be said that they rise to the challenge with surprising confidence. Clive's casting in one of the lead roles means that he does not play (keyboards) at all during the performance. It is worth making clear here that the CD and DVD versions therefore contain different renditions of "She", one being a studio recording, the other a live show.

Swita delivers the title role ("She, who must be obeyed") in a way which belies her lack of experience as either a singer or a stage performer. He voice is distinguished and powerful, holding up superbly during the 2+ hours of the concert.

The music and lyrics are composed by Nolan throughout. He turns his hand to what is for him an alien environment with apparent ease, the aforementioned comparison with Lloyd-Webber/Rice projects being a fair reflection of the quality of the final product. While the music here is not prog in the way of Nolan's bands such as Pendragon and Arena, this is perhaps as close as we come to a Prog Rock Opera.

It is difficult though to see where Nolan goes from here with such a lavish production. Unless he can secure a West End run (which would surely be successful), the expense of putting on such a show on a touring basis would surely be prohibitive. Without a high profile staging of the production over a period of time, I fear that "She" will not receive the oxygen of publicity it needs in order to gain the recognition it deserves.

The DVD includes a half hour "Making of" film, which consists of interviews with Clive and Agnieszka plus rehearsal footage. Interestingly, even Clive seems unsure where he goes with the project from here.

I would emphasise again that this is not simply a staging of a concept album. This is the a full blown rock opera fit for the 21st century.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |

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