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Saga - The Chapters Live CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.76 | 34 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars My only reference to Saga was an old cassette of Heads or Tales that I got in the 80's (I probably still have it somewhere). I always liked it but not enough to buy more of their albums or follow their career. And I didn't know they were still going strong and had been at it up until my reacquaintance with prog early in this decade. I did some research on their later work but a lot of reviewers panned it or gave it less than glowing recommendations so I used by prog budget on other bands. Then in 2005 they released The Chapters and I was intrigued with the story behind it all and thought this would let me get back in touch with what they were all about.

The songs on the album are put in order as 16 chapters. The original chapters were spread over several albums in the band's career, starting with their 1978 debut and up through 2003's Marathon. They were done in random order over 8 records and not all of their studio albums included a chapter. But it turns out that once they are put in order, there is a coherent story. It has to do with aliens trying to save us from ourselves with Albert Einstein's help. I certainly can't do it justice in this short review. But those who follow along with lyrics will certainly love to sink their teeth into this one. All lyrics are included along with some nice signature Saga artwork in a very well done booklet.

As for the music, it probably represents the best of what the fans of Saga enjoy. Good, hard-rocking prog with plenty of keys and hard edged guitar with many solos thrown in. Michael Sadler is a true professional singer and his vocals are spot on here. The production is fine for a live album and the appearance of it being all done in one show is preserved, even though the booklet makes no mention of where and when the recording(s) took place. Although it is a double album, the running time barely exceeds what a single CD can hold, clocking in at just over 80 minutes. So you may have to pay a double album price for basically a single. No song breaks the 7-minute barrier, which is not surprising given Saga isn't big on epics. This would certainly be a good jumping off point for those thinking of looking into the band. I probably won't be adding to my Saga collection since it just is not proggy enough and I like my music more adventurous. But this album has some good melodies, tight playing from guys who have been around the block and is a nice change of pace. And it certainly passes muster for "the songs getting stuck in your head" quotient. As for the rating, I have waffled between 3 and 4 stars. 3.5 would be perfect but I will round it up. The idea to come up with this concept of the chapters before they cut their first album and then the ability to see it to its conclusion with this recording is a very noteworthy achievement. So four stars it is.

johnobvious | 4/5 |


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