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Renaissance - In The Land Of The Rising Sun CD (album) cover

IN THE LAND OF THE RISING SUN

Renaissance

 

Symphonic Prog

3.51 | 29 ratings

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AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
3 stars "In The Land of the Rising Sun" is the promotional live album for the final Renaissance studio release "Tuscany". As the concert promotes this 2000 album there are a lot of songs here from that album which is not a good thing as "Tuscany" was nowhere near as good as the earlier Renaissance material. From "Tuscany" the set list includes 'Lady From Tuscany', 'Pearls Of Wisdom', 'One Thousand Roses', and 'Dear Landseer'. It is interesting to hear them live but the real piece de resistance comes when the band belt out the old progressive classics.

This 2001 concert begins with an old favourite, 'Carpet of the sun' that has some stirring musicianship, especially the drumming of Terence Sullivan, and a mesmirising melody. 'Lady from Tuscany' is one of the more recent tracks from the "Tuscany" album that I am unfamiliar with. The songs are less familiar after this till we get to the wonderful 'Northern lights' which is a great crowd pleaser and a live staple over the years. This version is as good as I have heard in previous concerts. 'Moonlight shadow' is always a highlight, the great Mike Oldfield tune always soars with amazing melodies and Annie does an excellent job. I missed Maggie Reilly's golden tones, as she augments this tune with her birdsong vocals, but it is still nice to hear this. A couple of sweet ballads follow where Annie gets intimate with the crowd.

Cd 2 begins with a classic from "Turn of the Cards", the enchanting 'Mother Russia' and this 10 ½ minute version is stirring and lifts the spirit, though I missed the majestic orchestra. 'Trip to the fair' is always welcome and here is a 12 minute version with lengthy instrumental breaks with Dunford incredible on guitar. Two more ballads follow with 'One thousand roses', and the gorgeous acoustically driven romance of 'I think of you'. This tranquillity is followed by the best track on the album.

'Ashes Are Burning' has long been a favourite of mine but this mammoth 20 minute version is the tour de force of the band. It has been played in this epic format on the 1976 "Live at Carnegie Hall" album but it is wonderful to return to it when the band are live in 2001. Annie's voice is still enchanting and has lost none of the angelic beauty, with golden tones and hitting every note perfectly. It is a difficult song or the average singer but Annie's 5 octave range is incredible. The band have a field day on this with a very good bass solo from David Keyes, and extended piano runs of Simmonds and Tesar. Annie even ad libs a solo on vocals towards the end with extreme high end soprano range, something that is prevalent in Renaissance concerts. It is an astounding accomplishment and resulted in a rousing ovation from the adoring crowd. "You've been a wonderful audience", the band tell the crowd who are whooping with delight. It ends the concert with a virtuoso high point.

It would have been nice if the band had included the brilliant 'Black Flame' or some others from the earlier material, but this is still a great performance with enough high points to make it worth seeking out. "Live at Carnegie Hall" is better but this is still a great concert and the quality is excellent, with some songs rarely heard live by Renaissance. It is great to hear the band performing so well all those years later, and they continue to perform to present day, as Annie's voice still shines as one of the all time greatest female prog singers

AtomicCrimsonRush | 3/5 |

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