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Renaissance - Live At Carnegie Hall CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.26 | 225 ratings

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4 stars I understand that in 1976, "Frampton Comes Alive" was the best selling live album of the year. This was apparently the 2nd highest selling live release back then.

It is a frustrating album that I nonetheless, recommend.

Musically, this is a terrific set. The songs presented in this collection are indeed the best of Renaissance (mkII) at the time of the recording. The energy of the performances cannot be faulted, given the atmospheric, melodic, and highly civilized nature of the music. The band played with precision and confidence, and worked well with the orchestra. John Camp's bass work was especially notable and highly satisfying to fans of the Entwhistle/Squire/Lee style of edgy-but-warm thunder and Annie Haslam's sweet voice soared over the proceedings marvelously.

That all being said, I've always wished that the audio quality was better. Sure, the listener can hear all of the instruments and voices, from the bass pedals and shimmering guitar harmonics that accompany the buildup under the bass solo in "Ashes Are Burning," to Tout and Dunford's delicate piano and acoustic guitar interplay throughout. Still, the recording sounds distant and lacks presence, even by mid-1970s standards. It almost comes across as if the microphones were all set up out in Carnegie Hall's lobby instead of on the stage. Anyone who has seen the band live knows that they could be very powerful and dynamic, in spite of their image as a strictly "lightweight" outfit.

Nonetheless, this is a terrific primer for those unfamiliar with the group's catalogue, which proved that the band was as capable of working their magic on stage as in the studio.

| 4/5 |


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