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Saga - Contact - Live In Munich (DVD) CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.58 | 12 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Bye Michael.

For someone who's been in a band for 30 years as the lead frontman to quit on good terms with the band that he's no doubt had so many good times with must be a little heartbreaking. Contact is the Michael Sadler farewell concert, Saga's last show with the man who has been the distinctive voice of the seminal Canadian band for so very long. With a huge selection of songs and some ace shooting on the part of the production company, Saga fans are sure to appreciate this massive set, and people new to the world of Saga will have some good footing to start with these CDs/DVDs to go out and explore the band's massive discography.

What works so well about the DVD overall is the performances. 30 years later Sadler is still at the top of his game as far as vocals and showmanship goes (and who knew he was fluent in German?) while the rest of the band is just as capable. The show really is all about Sadler though, and though he does give time away from the spotlight for piano and drum solos we all know that since this is his last concert with the band he's going to go all out to make it a worthwhile one. And he does, between interaction with the crowd and his interaction with his bandmates on stage the man sure knows how to keep a concert from getting boring. Of course, let's no forget about his insurmountable talent as a singer - man, that guy can belt out lines like nothing!

Standouts during the 22 song set are not far or few. Starting with the emotional opus The Interview, Saga bursts right into their set and never looks back. The lighting effects on stage are also key - adding to the drama of not only having this be Sadler's last concert, but since Saga's music is just so dramatic already, really. You're Not Alone keeps things going in the upbeat tempo put on by the first couple songs and the band finds a way to elevate this particular song from good to amazing thanks to some killer solos and some great crowd interaction which keeps things moving. The band starts to near headbanging proportions with songs like the rocking The Flyer and Mind Over Matter with it's amusing circus-y intro. On The Loose is also an incredible standout thanks to the performer's energy - including a dual keyboard solo!

What also adds to the concert is the more 'touching' moments. After all, this is Sadler's last concert, so you can expect there to be some more heartbreaking moments. The first of which is the singer's A Capella rendition of The Security Of Illusion in which the crowd hums along note for note. After the first set and prior to the beginning of the encore Sadler also gets what is probably the biggest bouquet of flowers ever seen on stage from his crew, band members and family while the crowd holds up "Bye Michael" signs all throughout the venue. The band actually pulls two encores, but the best performance of them all has to be Don't Be Late thanks to speed effects used in the video that adds to the drama of everything along with the lighting which just makes the whole thing surreal.

Aside from the main concert, the DVD has a bunch of goodies. The second disc of the set also includes some b-roll type material with different members of the band talking about their memories of the band getting their start around Toronto, there's also another take of the concert material for German TV that doesn't have quite the same quality as the main concert, and no new songs, but it's an enjoyable set none the less. The set also includes a double cd set of the main concert in case you want to take it on the road with you.

Overall it would be hard to give this any less than 4 stars. Minimal critique - other than I have to say that the time between the encores was excruciatingly long and while there was some great stuff going on there was also a whole lot of the back of the audience's head while there was no one on stage. Dudes in the editing room... cut that part, man!! Yes, all the other stuff including the audience holding up the signs was top material, but there's no need to stare at the back of the audience's heads for 5 minutes while the camera man fiddles with the gain control, there's no cuts even!

That rant aside, this is a killer DVD set and any fan would be happy to have it in their collection. Non -fans will also find a good place to start (as mentioned before) - so make sure you pick this one up, be you a fan or someone who has been interested in the band at some point over their prolific career.

Queen By-Tor | 4/5 |


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