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Kayak - Chance For A Live Time  CD (album) cover

CHANCE FOR A LIVE TIME

Kayak

 

Crossover Prog

3.61 | 21 ratings

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SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
3 stars Close to the fire, but not quite there

After a long absence from the music scene, Kayak came back in the year 2000 with the excellent Close To The Fire. This album was very different from their earlier albums - more Symphonic Prog as opposed to Pop Prog - and it is by far my favourite Kayak album. The present live album was recorded during this period and relies heavily on material from Close To The Fire with no less than seven out of the album's 12 tracks making it into the set list. While this is a lively and energetic live performance, I strongly prefer the studio versions on which Andy Latimer from Camel made a guest appearance (Ton Scherpenzeel, the keyboard player and leader of Kayak, was a member of Camel in the 80's). Just like the studio album, this double live CD is bookended by the brilliant Close To The Fire title track and the excellent Full Circle - two songs that I love. These songs function excellently as opener and closer respectively, but not all of the best songs from that album are here. They do play Two Wrongs (Don't Make A Right) which was a the weakest song from Close To The Fire, but they sadly don't play the wonderful Frozen Flame.

The rest of the set is made up by classics from the early 70's to the early 80's the best of which are Merlin and Niniane (Lady Of The Lake) both originally released on the Merlin album in 1981 (and later featured on the misguided and overblown 2003 re-make Bard Of The Unseen). Even here though, the original studio versions are better but the former features a great Rick Wakeman-like keyboard solo from Scherpenzeel (ironic as Wakeman also made a song about Merlin).

I have never been a big fan of the band's 70's albums which are clearly on the Pop Prog side of things. But it is admittedly quite good Pop Prog and the songs chosen for this set are among the band's biggest hits. In the middle of the show (towards the end of the first disc) there is an acoustic set with some songs featuring Scherpenzeel on accordion. These folky acoustic songs remind me a bit of Styx' wonderful acoustic hit Boat On The River.

This is a good career-spanning live album that makes a nice addition to your Kayak collection. They have, however, not been able to capture the sonic quality of the studio recordings. I therefore strongly recommend to go for some of the band's studio albums first, particularly the outstanding Close To The Fire and the very good but uneven original Merlin (the first half of which is great).

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |

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