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The Flower Kings - Alive On Planet Earth CD (album) cover


The Flower Kings


Symphonic Prog

3.80 | 116 ratings

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5 stars A Superb Live Album!

For those of you who have watched the "Meet The Flower Kings" DVD you might have a sense of emptiness in terms of how the stage generates the live dynamics of the show because all players are relatively quiet while performing the show. But it's totally different with the live CD of The Flower Kings like "Alive on Planet Earth" - I feel the power of the show not through the live vibes it generates but through how the music is presented to the audience. I can feel it that this is a great live record which shows how great the band is on stage performing their repertoires. The other aspect that helps me enjoy this album is the sonic quality of the CD which sounds truly great to me - it has a compact and tight bass sounds, powerful mid-range and transparent treble. It's really enjoyable.

Disc One is the band's performance at ProgDay, Chappel Hill, North California , September 1998. It kicks off with a powerful song with excellent composition "There Is More To This World" where the band members contribute nicely to produce excellent performance. It's good to notice here that Tomas Bodin's role in keyboard is replaced by Robert Engstrand who plays as excellent as Tomas. Unless it's noted at the CD sleeve, no one would know that this is not Tomas Bodin. It flows to ambient song with excellent flow in relatively moderate tempo "Church of Your Heart". The song has excellent chorus which is melodic and memorable. Some segments with organ solos indicate the strength of this song combined with - as always - stunning guitar work by Roine Stolt. In the middle of the track there is a church organ solo that enriches this song. It's wonderful! If you are audiophile this song might attract you on how excellent the sound quality is. The multi-style texture of this song has made the position as second track is the right decision. The music brings us to a mixture of feelings: being dark, gloomy and in some way happy mood as well.

"The Judas Kiss" starts off beautifully with soaring church organ sound followed with bluesy guitar work in medium tempo. It then flows to a bit faster tempo which brings the lead vocal enters the music beautifully. This is definitely a song that stirs my emotion because it has excellent melody as well as stunning guitar work which reminds me to a blend of David Gilmour's as well as Hackett's style. But, actually Roine Stolt's guitar sound is totally different with any legendary guitar players. Whatever the style, this is truly a great track with great dynamic. I can hear clearly how the bass guitar contributes dynamically to the song, being performed live. What makes this song is truly enjoyable is the improvisation part which starts off with guitar (really great!) followed with other instruments: keyboards and bass guitar. The improvisation part is very satisfying because it consumes long duration. The piano solo sounds terrific with jazz mood. I do enjoy this improvisation part. WOW! Man ... it's pretty damn hard to deny that I do love this band very much! This is THE band after the demise of all old school bands like Yes, Genesis. Oh yes, I dare to say that this band is on par excellent with its predecessors in terms of musicianship as well as the tight compositions they have with its music. Try this song yourself and play it with LOUD volume at your power amplifier! You'll be amazed to the bone, man! Oh .. help me ... I'm totally suffering from complete satisfaction with this song being performed live. Nggeblak! (oops .. sorry for using my local language menaing: "my mind is totally paralyzed enjoying how wonderful the song is presented live here on this live show". Superb! Do I overstate my opinion saying that this live show is better than Genesis "Seconds Out"? My apology if you disagree with me ...).

Having been brought into the peak dynamic experience with "The Judas Kiss" the band is now playing my emotion by bringing it down to the mellow mood - but it's still excellent - of "Nothing New Under The Sun". It's a stunning combination of bluesy guitar work and symphonic organ. The last part of this Disc One the band plays a cover of legendary Genesis song "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway" excellently.

Disc Two (recorded live in Japan 1999) is to me another great music offering where the band not only plays their songs but also two songs from Roine Stolt's solo album "The Flower King". The disc starts beautifully with soft piano touch combined with guitar work under "Big Puzzle". I can see the jazzy style performed here - but it's not just jazz, it's more than that. A great opening of disc two. This song is taken from the band's "Back In The World of Adventure" album (which I already reviewed here at this site). This version takes 5 minutes longer in duration from original studio version bringing it to 18 minutes duration. But believe me .. you won't get bored with this 18 minutes thing because you will experience a great journey of beautifully crafted music with various styles and breaks. Awesome!

"Sounds of Violence" is a great track taken from Stolt's "The Flower King" solo album. It starts wonderfully with great pulsating keyboard sounds in memorable melody. This is the kind of composition I enjoy very much. The stream of music that comes after the keyboard solo at the opening is rich in textures and melodies. "In The Eyes of The World" is another great song performed excellently at this live show. After this song the band seems to end the show as there is long hand clapping from the crowd until they band come back on stage performing Stolt's solo "The Flower Kings". This must be an encore and is followed with a concluding performance of "Stardust We Are - Part Three".

Overall, it's a masterpiece live performance of a symphonic prog band The Flower Kings from Sweden. It's not just the music is great but the performance is also superb. It's highly recommended. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Gatot | 5/5 |


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