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Focus - Live At The Rainbow CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.45 | 122 ratings

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4 stars When I tuned in Jakarta Alternative Station (the new radio that focused on seventies rock music) last night I heard they aired good stuff which most of them are 'rare' collection like Birth Control 'live' which I never heard before. But one track they featured was the one that I have been familiar with, ie. "Hocus Pocus" from "Live at The Rainbow" version. I then spun the CD in its entirely and it reminded me back to the glory days of seventies when prog and rock music were dominating the music industry. It's a rewarding experience listening to the album that I have not played for such a long time. Then I checked this site and found out a very "surprising" reviews about this live album which I think it's underrated for Focus as a legendary prog band. I said to myself that it can't be this album is rated with less than 4 stars because the overall performance of the band is really terrific.

Right after the release of Focus III album, the band recorded and released this live album at the Rainbow. The famous track "Focus III" (3:54) kicks off this live set with soft organ work combined with stunning guitar fills. It then flows seamlessly to "Answers? Questions! Questions? Answers!" (11:38). By my definition, this track is performed lively and much more dynamic than the original studio version. I like the hard- edge guitar work combined with soaring organ sounds and excellent bass lines. "Focus II" (4:27) begins with a long sustain organ sound in an ambient nuance followed slowly with guitar fills / solo. The msuic tirns into high points with guitar leading the way as main melody combined with dazzling drum and punctuated organ sounds. The short drum solo during transitions have made the song more enjoyable and it's rockier.

"Eruption" (8:29) shows the band's relatively complex arrangement on stage; combining mostly organ sounds augmented with drums while guitar seems to play as fillers during opening part but it then plays bigger role after that especially during solo part with bluesy touch. "Hocus Pocus" (8:29) is a famous and legendary track by Focus and the band plays it differently throughout this show. It kicks off with a rocking guitar fills / riffs that a bit improvisational and it truly rocks! Jan Akermann plays his guitar skillfully augmented with drum. The track is performed flawlessly on stage even with the unique distant vocal style. The drum by Pierre van der Linden is also excellent as it dynamically create beats for the music. "Sylvia" (2:48) is for me a classical pop based music with organ as main rhythm and guitar plays lead melody. It's performed excellently by the band. "Hocus Pocus" (reprise) (2:47) concludes the album wonderfully.

As Ivan said, if you want to listen a frantic concert where people shout and join the band, don't buy it, but if you want a rare testimony of Focus calmed style on stage, it's a great purchase. I fully agree with him. In fact I did purchase this album not on a purpose but the first spin I was amazed about the show because I was familiar with all tracks featured here. Focus was one of the bands that colored my rightplaced childhood era. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Gatot | 4/5 |


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