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Shadowland - Edge Of Night (DVD) CD (album) cover





3.48 | 10 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Clive's back (in Poland)

There is a rumour (I just made up) that there is a dressing room in the theatre in Katowice, Poland where this concert was filmed, reserved for the sole use of Clive Nolan. He has certainly been a regular visitor there of late, appearing with Caamora, Pendragon, and now Shadowland.

This gig was filmed in February 2009, and captures the first live performance by the band for many years. Indeed, Clive himself make the point that songs from the band's third album, the 1996 release "Mad as a hatter" performed here are actually making their live début. All three albums contribute generously to the set list, which compiles them into a pleasingly coherent whole.

For those unfamiliar with Shadowland, the project is a collaboration between the aforementioned Nolan and the equally prolific Karl Groom (of Threshold). Groom plays lead guitar and contributes backing vocals. Nolan though largely delegates keyboards duties to Mike Varty (in concert at least), and instead assumes front and centre stage as lead vocalist and sometime second pianist. Those more familiar with his work with Pendragon and Arena may wonder at the wisdom of this, but Clive actually has a strong singing voice in his own right. He is not perhaps the most natural of front men, but he takes to the role with genuine enthusiasm giving a polished performance throughout.

The overall sound is a bit harder and more direct than that of Clive's other bands, but the songs develop well both instrumentally and vocally. Groom's lead guitar work is reminiscent of Nolan's Arena band-mate John Mitchell, while adding some superb colours throughout (and especially on "Painting by numbers", "The seventh year", etc.).

Feature songs such as "Hall of mirrors" (14 minutes) and "Dreams of the ferryman" (13 minutes) allow the band more space and are thus closer to that of bands such as the aforementioned Pendragon and Arena (especially the "Immortal" album). The performance is as tight and well rehearsed as we are used to from bands such as those, a clear reflection of the ethic to which Clive and Karl work. Incidentally, the title track does not appear on any of the three studio albums, but was recorded specifically for the 2009 Shadowland compilation "A matter of perspective".

The gig runs to just under 2 hours, drawing in 14 songs in total. The Polish audience are warm and receptive towards the music, but understandably as usual they struggle with the between songs banter and introductions.

Among the bonus offerings is footage of the band performing in Holland a few days later. There is more of a bootleg feel to this set, the sound quality of the recording being notably inferior. With the setlist being tracks 2 to 9 of the Poland gig, this extra will appeal mainly to those who actually attended the Dutch performance. We are also treated to a 17 minute interview with Clive Nolan and Karl Groom. As usual, the Polish interviewers questions are very knowledgeable, securing suitably informed and interesting responses.

The total package here runs to well over 3 hours, offering a wonderful summary of the life of Shadowland. The main performance is captivating and highly enjoyable. In all, another superb DVD from Metal Minds.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |


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