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Pendragon - Live At Last ... And More CD (album) cover





4.18 | 65 ratings

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3 stars I've got this DVD early last year and just found out that it has not been reviewed here. It's probably people don't pay attention to Pendragon as many consider that if we talk about neo prog it must be about Marillion, IQ, Pallas, etc and rarely mention about Pendragon. It's actually worth observing because this four-piece band has been consistent with their music style since its inception. This live set was filmed during the band's The Masquarade Overture Tour. Specific to this DVD it was filmed at Krakow, Poland on 24th November 1996. As you may guess, this was a performance to promote their latest album at the time: The Masquarade Overture.

The show started with a shot of a nice stage design with back drops containing materials from album cover designs. The welcoming music sounds awful to my ears called "March Of The Torreodores" - what's this? This is not suitable to welcome a prog show. How can someone compares this to, say, uplifting Firebird Suite of Yes or Rosini's William Tel Overture? I almost drop my listening at first spind of the DVD. But, I already paid US$ 18 (quite cheap, actually), so I forced myself to enjoy it. Nick Barrett, Clive Nolan, Peter Gee and Fudge Smith then enter the stage. Barrett dressed in a yellow and blue checkered coat, again, for it does not prog at all. Ugghhh . Nolan dressed like Rick Wakeman? Sort of. Peter Gee dressed with a vest and did not really prog, appearance wise - especially looking at the way he played his bass guitar. Awful. Sorry.

The show started with Nostradamus in an upbeat tempo that stimulated audience participation. Barrett seemed like more than a singer, more than a songwriter and I think he was the center of the show. He is also a fantastic guitar player with Floydian style. One of my favorite was when the band played Guardian Of My Soul (12:58). It's a great song that starts energetically followed with a silent break and then continued with slow guitar fills. The song moves from slow to a rocking style with great guitar and keyboard works. There is short drum solo in the middle followed with stunning guitar solo. There are many tempo changes with combination of low to high register notes on vocal. Back In The Spotlight (6:17) starts off in upbeat tempo with guitar solo and keyboard as rhythm. The vibe is heating up and the vocal is becoming aggressive. The crowd is excited. Under The Last Man On Earth (14:35) the crowd sing along with the band. Yes, the band has successfully made the audience getting hot with the show. Just before The Last Waltz (Queen Of Hearts Part Three) (5:12) the crowd sing in a capella with Fudge Smith plays his bass drum as beat keeper. It's a good live vibe, really.

On stage, it seems really clear that Nick Barrett is the center of attention as he delivers his roles excellently. Second is Clive Nolan with his long hair and head banging acts at some rocking segments. Unfortunately, his keyboard sound is mixed at relatively low level so that the keyboard sound is not truly obvious - even on solo part. It's probably he plays his keyboard very carefully. Fudge Smith delivers better drumming here compared to his performance with Steve Hackett in Time Lapse live video.

There is a huge selection of bonus material for fans. It includes the commercial video for "Saved By You. Also a short biography on the band and its members; complete with a discography with scans from all the albums. Also some website information and a Pendragon logo also there's an interview. The interview was not clear to my ears as the recording technology used was really bad so I can't hear half the questions asked. This DVD gives an overview of Pendragon and the kind of music they play.

Overall, this DVD will favor most of neo progressive fans. It's enjoyable live performance especially on guitar work. On the stage performance I observe that there is a little mismatch between audio and visual takes that are obvious especially during Nick's vocal part or Fudge Smith drumming. It's a production issue, I think. Keep on proggin' ..!

Progressively yours,


Gatot | 3/5 |


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