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Quintessence - Infinite Love: Live at the Queen Elizabeth 1971 CD (album) cover




Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

4.83 | 13 ratings

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5 stars I am delighted to support Oliverstoned's assessment of this totally magnificent - and wholly unexpected - release. I have previously reviewed each of the band's five studio-based outputs - including the truly awful Indweller - and consistently bemoaned the fact that no vinyl offering could ever hope to capture the true essence of Quintessence because this was a band which just had to be experienced "live"; moreover, there was no chance, after all this time, of being able to do other than imagine how magical their concerts were. How happily wrong I was! Here we are, forty years down the track, with two live concerts (recorded at QEH on the same day) plus another half a concert, if you add in the surviving excerpts from the previous year's St Pancras concert, as captured on the sister CD, "Cosmic Energy: Live at St Pancras 1970". What total joy!

Whoever mastered this double disc at Hux records deserves a medal - it has truly been a labour of love. The sound quality is absolutely crystal clear. The accompanying booklet is hugely informative - (two of the concerts at which I saw Q are missing from the itinerary at the back, but who can expect total accuracy after all this time?) - and this is altogether just about as good as it could ever hope to get.

I am not going to launch into a review of the individual tracks, because there is no need: people either loved Quintessence or thought they were pretentious piss-takers who were peddling their own brand of pseudo-devotional clap-trap. Guess what? I loved them. I can still recall their concerts as if it were yesterday. And the magic is all here again, on disc, in 2010.

I note that the commentator in the booklet sides slightly with concert number 2 as the preferred one. In the race to the stars, it's a severe case of splitting hairs, but, in my book, the inclusion of (a truly stunning version of) Wonders of the Universe elevates the first concert to an altogether higher plane and, in my opinion, it is duly the better of the two, with the band on absolutely top form. Music and lights from the spheres, indeed.

If I were to seek total perfection, I would recommend extracting the "Giants" suite off the St Pancras CD, and relocating it to its proper home in the QEH concert running order ie after Meditations (concert 1, track 4). This will leave no room for the concert 1 encore (the Dive Deep suite), but no matter - Dive Deep was never one of my favourite songs, and its omission will leave you with about 72 minutes of sheer, uninterrupted bliss, as the band fully lives up to its reputation, at the time, as being, arguably, the best "live" band in the world. They were. And now, thanks to these companion CDs, they are again.

I couldn't recommend this double CD more highly. It's (quite literally) wonderful. As Oliverstoned says, a total masterpiecel

tbstars1 | 5/5 |


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