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Camel - At The Royal Albert Hall CD (album) cover

AT THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL

Camel

 

Symphonic Prog

5.00 | 5 ratings

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Hercules
Prog Reviewer
5 stars This has been a long time coming, but the wait has been well worth it. I was at this show and it was one of the best - if not THE best - gig I've ever been to. I worried that they wouldn't catch the full atmosphere on film, but after it arrived this morning, my fears were allayed. Don't expect pyrotechnics and a lot of showmanship: Camel settle for just playing their music and letting that do the talking. And what music it is: the whole of the incredible Moonmadness, then a second set which draws heavily on Dust and Dreams, an album I've never really loved. But live, the tracks stand out. Part of the reason for that may be the presence of Pete Jones. The late Guy Leblanc was a very fine musician, but Jones brings vocals and sax to the show alongside his keyboards. Every other band must envy Camel for this brave act of recruitment, because taking a blind keyboardist on board was a gamble, but a gamble that has paid off spectacularly. He adds a new dimension to the band and the current line up is as good as any there's been. His vocals on End Of the Line and lung bursting sax solos are amongst the highlights of the DVD. He also a contributes an amusing introduction to Ice, showing that he's now part of the furniture. But, as ever, it's Andy Latimer who steals the show. For a man who faced death 10 years ago, he's back and playing with a brilliance that is almost unmatched. Sure he can speed round the fretboard as fast as anyone when he chooses, but that's not his style: he prefers to ring every drop of emotion out of the music and he doesn't just play his guitar but lets it almost become part of him. No guitarist has recorded as many wonderful solos and several are here. Andy's voice has always been Marmite to many, but I love his depth and ability to convey emotion, whilst Colin Bass is also a great singer. But when Pete Jones sings, you drop everything to listen: in an earlier life, he sang on X Factor and told Simon Cowell to "shut up", so that deserves respect, but his voice is amazing. The rhythm section is as tight as a camel's behind in a sandstorm and it's obvious they're having a great time and that they're great friends as well as bandmates. I met them before the gig and they are a lovely bunch, Andy Latimer being very funny and self-effacing. So my advice is this: go on to Camel's website and buy a copy of this DVD for every friend you have and give them it for Christmas. They'll love you for it. The fact that my ugly mug is on it should not deter you! Best DVD of the year? No doubt about that: it might be the best of all time, a record of a band still going after 45 years and still on top of their game. Let's hope this isn't their swansong and that they tour again, but if it does turn out to be their final act, it would be a fitting farewell.
Hercules | 5/5 |

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