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Pendragon - Live In Krakow 1996  CD (album) cover




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4 stars This is PENDRAGON's fourth live album since their debut CD "The Jewel" in 1985. It was recorded during their latest "The Masquerade Overture" tour. I can't remember any other band that has put out so many live albums on such a short time. This is their twelfth CD, which means that every third CD is a live album. But that's OK because they don't have the same material on those live albums (with a few exceptions). On the other hand, that could have been a problem for many other bands, to fill out four live albums with interesting material. But that isn't any problem for PENDRAGON. They have so many great songs to choose from, so this fourth live album is equally interesting as their previous live efforts. This is a must for every PENDRAGON fan but also a worthy introduction to the band if you haven't heard them before. As I am a PENDRAGON fan I'm waiting curiously for their new album "1999" that is said to come out sometime this year. In the meantime I will console myself with this excellent live album.
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Posted Saturday, February 14, 2004 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
3 stars Twenty years ago Pendragon emerged in the slipstream of Marillion who speerheaded the neo-progressive rock. I have always loved their sound, especially on stage they are so enthousiastic and Nick Barrett knows how to communcaite with his audience, with his voice and his guitar! Ten years ago this live CD was recorded in Poland, a very progrock friendly country as we have experienced in the past but also recently with Riverside, Satellite and Quidam. Pendragon treated the super enthousiastic crowd on songs from the albums The Jewel, The Masquerade Overture and The World, the songs (from slow to up-tempo) sound very recognizable featuring lots of sensitive guitar work and sumptuous kebyoards, a bit melancholical vocals and a tight rhythm section. When the band asks the crowd to sing a Polish song everybody is happy and we can enjoy a great live atmosphere! If you like melodic and accessible neo-prog, Pendragon will please you! By the way, the reason to write this review is that I met a fellow 40+ proghead in a record store in Amsterdam, he was searching for Pendragon and we had a nice, nostalgic oriented chat. At home I decided to play some Pendragon music, it turned out to be this wonderful album....
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Posted Tuesday, November 7, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I consider "The Masquerade Overture" as their best album ever released and a really must own in any prog discography. I could hardly be disappointed with this live release which was recorded during their supporting for this album.

The atmosphere is phenomenal. The band is very popular in Poland (there web-site is even fully translated into Polish, with several other European languages; which is a nice attention for their fans who do not necessarily master English. Nick will also here and there do some attempts in the Polish language. He such a fine person, really.

All of "The Masquerade" is present, if you except "The Overture", and the short and only weaker track "The Pursuit Of Excellence". So all these magical and melodic moments are here.

The poppish and very pleasant "As Good As Gold" in its long format, the wonderful "Paintbox" with the incredible and emotional guitar work. One of the highlight of this set. The long and nice "Gardian Of My Soul", one of their most beautiful song ever written "The Shadow" with his fantastic (one more) guitar solo; and the extraordinary "Masters Of Illusion" (the first encore with a gorgeous and Floydian guitar mood at the end). All played perfectly with the addition of a frenetic crowd (more to be noticed in the video :"Live At Last!").

But all the numbers are excellent. BEAUTIFUL. I tell you. And the hell with the ones who believe that this is useless music. Of course, Pendragon does not play with the big names. Although there are hardly any big names in activity in prog today releasing good new material (Yes is still touring until recently, as the pair Gilmour / Waters - separately of course -, Tull as well as Van der Graaf but these are very few examples).

Pendragon produces simple, extremely romantic and melodic music which IMO holds more symphonic elements than "neo-prog" ones. Both Clive and Nick are very well supported by Peter (on bass) and Fudge (on drums). The line-up of the band is pretty stable as well.

One number is taken from their debut album : "Leviathan". One of the good "Pendragon" numbers out of this album, but when compared to their later work, I'm afraid it does not hold the comparison. Rockier but less emotional. Still, it is pleasant to listen to an old number once in a while.

Two numbers come from "The World". The opener of the album : "Back In The Spotlight" another poppish and very accessible Pendragon song in a shorter version here (prog pop maybe ?) and a nice part of their epic "Queens Of Hearts".

Let's be grateful to Pendragon that we can still hear this type of music in 2007 and long live Pendragon. I don't know if this is a masterpiece but it fills my heart with joy and emotion. And I can do nothing less than rating this live album with five stars.

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Posted Friday, June 1, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Recorded before a very receptive audience in Poland - where Pendragon are several orders of magnitude more popular than they are in their home country! - Live In Krakow 1996 is one of my favourite Pendragon live albums. Part of this is because it presents what I consider to be definitive renditions of just about all of The Masquerade Overture aside from the intro track and the brief interlude of The Pursuit of Excellence. As well as trimming back those two compositions from the album, the versions here also spark with energy and rock out a bit more than the ones on the studio album, to the point where I actually prefer these renditions if I am in the mood for hearing Pendragon add just a touch more pep to their 1990s work.

The fact that the album also includes two well-chosen snippets from The World and an absolutely scorching version of Leviathan from The Jewel - which blows the original studio version out of the water - is the cherry on the top. This is by far Pendragon's best live album of the 1990s - and indeed of their career to that point.

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Posted Monday, February 6, 2012 | Review Permalink

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