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Pendragon - 9:15 Live  CD (album) cover

9:15 LIVE

Pendragon

Neo-Prog


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Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars First Pendragon album featuring the now classic line up of Barret - Nolan - Gee - Smith. And it shows. This early live album is a proof of how good they were from the start and promises a lot (which, after a little while, was fullfilled). At the time a live album seemed to be a little too soon, since the band had only a LP out, The Jewel. But now I treasure this CD as a good look at their first years and it's really interesting to hear how Pendragons's classic line up gels from the very beginning, and the songs are actually better sounding here then on The Jewel. 9:15 (the title refers to the time the show started) has a good production for its time and shows the band playing in front of a fanatical crowd. Those were the times! The addtional studio tracks (one in the orignal LP and two on the CD version) are ok, but they'd be much better if they were live versions of the same, since those songs appear on various best of CDs and early albums re-releases.
Report this review (#89522)
Posted Tuesday, September 12, 2006 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Pendragon has only released one studio album and here they go for a live one. For having seen them live in 2006, I have to say that they are a rather good live band. Their melodic and melancholic mood is very well rendered on stage as well.

It was maybe to allow Clive to get more into the band that they decided to release this live effort. It was recorded at the mythical "Marquee Club" in London (July 1986).

There will be one unrealeased song at the time of the original release : "Red Shoes" which will be published on their first compilation "The R(B)est Of" as well as a single.

If we except "Victims Of Life" which will be much shorter than the original number and which serves more as an warm-up track, the remaining songs are pretty much similar to the originals. A bit harder maybe (like "Leviathan" for example).

Lots of people on this site critized Pendragon an awful lot. I just want to say that the music Pendragon plays is beautiful yet simple. If you are looking for complexity, you won't find it here. I like intricate music but from time to time, I really feel great to get other moods. More accessible and very pleasant. And this is exactly what Pendragon is all about. Nice melodies, emotional guitar breaks and very good keys (hold by Clive from this album onwards).

I guess there is nothing wrong with this. On top of that I appreciate Nick's vocals as well as his inspired guitar play. It is always a pleasure for my ears to listen to such beautiful tracks as "Alaska". It always provide me a lot of emotion. I can't help. "The Black Knight" is a great track as well.

Of course, since they only have produced one album, it might seem a bit irrelevant to have recorded a live album so early in their career. Actually there are just over forty minutes of live music here.

Three studio bonus tracks will be featured of which "Please" which is a nice instrumental track featuring a great guitar solo from Nick. Just as beautiful as Pendragon can be.

"Dark Summer's Day" and "Excalibur" were already released on their first EP "Fly High Fall Far". Actually I find quite strange that this track (a very poppy and catchy one) is not featured on this live album.

This is of course not an essential album. Still, it will the only live effort to feature "Alaska" and "The Black Knight". Three stars.

Report this review (#120747)
Posted Friday, May 4, 2007 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Recorded at one of the band's regular appearances at the Marquee, the main London home of the neo-prog revival in the 1980s, 9:15 Live captures Pendragon in smashing form, presenting the best songs from their debut album, The Jewel, as well as the instrumental Please and Red Shoes, the studio version of which would be the band's next single preceding the Kowtow album.

The album marks Clive Nolan's entry to the band, original keyboardist Rik Carter having departed. (He'd later be more of a presence on the goth scene, appearing on releases by The Mission and All About Eve.) The Jewel material, being quite keyboard-heavy, represents the perfect chance for Clive to showcase his skills; his lively interpretations of Rik's original keyboard contributions lend these songs a spark which makes this album an interesting companion to The Jewel.

The album also shows how Nick Barrett is an excellent frontman; the audience can't help but be caught up in his enthusiasm and good cheer, and neither can I. The mixture of radio-friendly, melodic pop-prog and more progressive songs is more immediately gripping than it is on The Jewel (which took a long time to grow on me to the extent that it did), perhaps because the catchy pop tunes carry more energy live, and the live portion of the album concludes with an absolutely incredible rendition of The Black Knight, a song which I don't think Pendragon ever managed to top in the first decade or so of their existence.

Aside from Red Shoes, which just isn't quite as solid a song as the others, this is a brilliant live effort, and I would recommend it to anyone interested in the early days of neo-prog.

Report this review (#209118)
Posted Saturday, March 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Pendragon got into the live album business pretty early - after a few EPs and a single LP. This might seem a bit premature, and perhaps it was. That doesn't prevent this from being a highly enjoyable album.

In fact, basically every track is an improvement over their studio counterparts. I tend to believe this has something to do with the new musicians manning the drums (Fudge Smith replacing Nigel Harris) and keyboards (Clive Nolan replacing Rik Carter). While "The Jewel" often seemed a bit stiff, even brittle, the tracks as presented here have much more life, energy and raw power behind them while maintaining a high level of craftsmanship, and I think Messers Smith and Nolan likely have a great deal to do with that. "Leviathan" sounds great, "Circus" is a minor classic, and what I consider to be the ultimate version of probably one of Pendragon's ten best songs, the epic "Black Knight", appears here.

So why only four stars? For one thing, "Red Shoes". Nick Barrett has admitted that most fans seem to hate that song (though he says he also sees everyone dancing to it when they perform live - more evidence that what works well in a concert setting may not work as well as a listening experience, I guess), and frankly I sympathize with them. It's just a banal, boring blob of trite musical cliches which I always skip. And for another, the sound quality. The live portion is actually fairly passable in sound, but the three studio songs sound flat as paper - a real tragedy, especially on the beautiful "Dark Summer's Day", another minor masterpiece which makes me sadly recall my father's passing on a beautiful early September day (and I know this is probably not at all what the song is about, but for the listener music is just as much what you get out of it, what feelings you attach to it, as it is about what the musicians themselves were trying to say. That was my "Dark Summer's Day").

So, all things taken into account - a great album. I regularly throw it into whatever CD player I happen to be nearest to. Take out that one truly horrid track and I might even be inspired to give five stars even with the sonic limitations. But the two together are a bit too much to overcome. Recommended nonetheless.

Report this review (#932834)
Posted Tuesday, March 19, 2013 | Review Permalink

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