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

LIVE AT THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL

Camel

 

Symphonic Prog

5.00 | 22 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

judahbenkenobi
5 stars At last! It took the band nearly a year to release this DVD as promised and teased on YouTube, but finally the wait is over! At least for us mortals that live far away from where all the action takes place, a concert film is about the only way in with we will ever see and listen to our favorite bands performing live.

This DVD is almost complementary to the other film Camel released a couple of years before, "Ichigo Ichie", which featured the same lineup. Although some of the tracks are here again, most of the setlist is different. Its main difference being that the classic "Moonmadness" album is performed in its entirety. "Spirit of the Water", "Airborn" , and "Lunar Sea" were on " Ichigo Ichie ", but hearing them within the album context gives them a different, very special feel. The arrangements for the "Moonmadness" tracks are not immensely different from the originals, but since 75% of the band is different from the one who played the original version, it is only logical that there will be some personalized changes to each instrument. The only exception to this is the opening track, "Aristillus" which is the original recording played back as an intro to the concert.

The second half of the setlist consists of other classic tracks, mainly from their 90's repertoire, Andy Latimer's most cherished period it seems. There's two tracks from the "I Can See Your House..." album (not what I expected, but thankfully the best tracks on that release), "Unevensong" from "Rain Dances" and nothing from the debut, "Mirage" or " Snowgoose", except for the obligatory closer. If you want something from those other albums or from their 80's material please visit the other concert releases.

The musicianship here is top notch. Everyone seems to be in perfect shape and absolute control of their respective areas. Andy Latimer is the highlight, of course. There is little evidence to his having been so close to death or at least close to disability. His guitar playing is more emotional than ever, and his modesty moved him to delegate some of the vocal duties to the rest of the band. Colin Bass's lines are solid as always, and his voice doesn't seem to have aged one bit. Denis Clement, always smiling and enjoying himself delivers a strong, steady rhythm beat that, although sometimes slower than the original tempo, keeps a very energetic attitude that permeates to the rest of the band. And last, but certainly not least, Pete Jones, who has been blessed with the physical blindness that is compensated for what appears to be superhuman musical abilities. His excellence at the keyboards is unquestionable, his voice is soothing as it is powerful, and he steals the show with his sax soli on "Rajaz" and "Lady Fantasy", the latter respectfully substituting Pete Bardens's original organ solo.

Camel's concerts have never been known for its visuals, and this one is no exception to that rule, although the sole beauty of the Royal Albert Hall is enough to impress the eye. As always, the highlight is the music, the performance itself. Buy this album. I absolutely recommend it. After careful consideration and attention to PA's review guidelines I must admit it: this one is definitely an essential masterpiece.

judahbenkenobi | 5/5 |

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