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The Flower Kings - Carpe Diem CD (album) cover


The Flower Kings


Symphonic Prog

3.47 | 34 ratings

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3 stars 3.5 stars really!

Much better sound than the previous official bootleg, Live In New York. You can actually hear the bass in this one :-)

I'll be the first to admit this isn't the greatest Flower Kings live album. It's basically a collection of songs that haven't appeared on previous Flower King live albums/DVD's, most of them being rarities in their live performances. The exception to this is the song Paradox Hotel that opens the album. Why this was used instead of something that has not appeared before (it is on the Instant Delivery DVD/CD) is unclear to me. Perhaps because it was the opening song for shows on the tour? In any case, I've never much liked this song, a hard rocker that just seems too straight forward and mainstream (albeit 70's or 80's hard rock mainstream) for my taste. There is one other track that appears that is on Instant Delivery, Pioneers Of Aviation. This is a short version of this song, shorter even than the album version, and not as good as the Instant Delivery version. Again, no idea why this is included aside from the fact of it being shorter than the previous live album version (and both Paradox Hotel songs being from the album that this tour was in support of).

The other songs, however, are worth getting this CD for. While Psychedelic Postcard is not my favorite Flower Kings song, it's good to hear a live version and it comes off better live than it did on Flower Power. The best part is the song that followed on that album and that follows it here, Hudson River Sirens Call. On the album it was little more than an atmospheric ambient piece (what many people refer to as filler......though not me), here it is a Roine Stolt showcase with a blistering solo that just kills. The drum solo by Liliequist is pretty lackluster and dull (the first part of Fishsoup), but I'm not a huge fan of drum solos anyway. The bass solo section is pretty entertaining, with Reingold doing a fushiony jam over much better drumming from Liliequist.

Just This Once is one of my favorite Flower Kings songs of all time, and hearing this live version is just pure bliss for me. I still prefer the studio version, but the improvised solos here are great, with Roine and Bodin turning in truly stunning performances. A great rendition of this great song, extended to almost 14 minutes with the extended solos. Great stuff. World Of Adventures is actually the first half of this great song, with the second half taken up by the instrumental sections from the song Silent Sorrow from Retropolis. This part is fantastic, with great interplay between all members on this very Zappa like section. Another winner for me. Lastly, we have the supposed Bonus Track, from a different venue, Quebec City (the rest of the album being from a single show in Whittier, California). A Vampire's View is one of the few songs I like from the Adam & Eve album and I was interested to hear this live version. Daniel Gildenlow's vocal performance is sadly missed by me here, though Stolt (the quieter, lower register parts) and Froberg (the louder, higher register dramatic parts) do a serviceable job. The song is played fairly well, and comes across fairly well, but I still prefer the studio version and much prefer hearing Gildenlow sing it.

All in all, not a bad live curio for the fans. It lacks flow, since it is not a complete show, with the rarities (for the most part) being separated from the main set. This makes it seem disjointed and more like some of those live albums where every track was taken from a difference concert, even though this one was almost entirely from one single concert.

In any case, as a fan, I must go with 3.5 stars because to me it is essential, though certainly no masterpiece. For the archives I will round down, as being realistic I have to consider that this is not a place for newcomers to the band to venture early in their discovery. The studio albums are much better for that, followed by the 2 live DVD's. So for fans, well worth having for the somewhat rare and unusual selection of songs, for others, something to get only after you are a convert......or possibly if you just prefer to hear live material.

infandous | 3/5 |


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