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Solaris - Nostradamus - Live in Mexico (DVD+CD) CD (album) cover



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erik neuteboom
3 stars In 1994 Hungarian progrock band Solaris surprised the progrock world with a performance on USA Progfest 1994 and in 1999 they surprised again with a new album entitled Nostradamus. Unfortunately in between guitarplayer Cziglan Istvan ("Czigi") unexpectly died in 1998.

After the release of Nostradamus, Solaris went to Mexico, first in 2001 because of the annual Baja Prog festival and in 2004 because of a concert in the city Monterrey. Recently the band has released two DVD's with footage from their time in Mexico. The extra's contain lots of private images (around the 5 minutes) like a trip to the famous piramides near Mexico City (impressive with a very relaxed band), Baja Prog 2001 (a mix of touristic and concert footage, including a drum solo) and a visit to Monterrey (images from the city, the theater and a waterfall). But the focus is on the concert, Solaris plays their new album Nostradamus but unfortunately not all tracks, only 45 minutes out of 60, I miss the exciting composition War Games and some others. But the band plays very well, most of the footage is from a camera that shoots the entire band on stage (with on the background a screen with lots of images, often fireworks and architecture) but the camera crew also uses close up shots so it's not too static. I enjoyed the inspired performance, the sound and the howling guitar runs, flashy Minimoog flights (The Lion's Empire) and awesome interplay between guitar, keyboards and flute (like in the fluent The Duel). The long titletrack has rock-opera elements like a lot of vocal harmonies. In Wings Of Phoenix the guitar is bluesy and the flute sounds warm, this is the distinctive Solaris blend of classical, folk and symphonic. The extra's also feature an acoustic gig by the fluteplayer his side-project Musical Witchcraft (this is a beautiful blend of folk and classical) and the videoclip Ship Of Darkness with lots of underwater images. It's only 45 minutes of concert footage, quite short but I am sure the die-hard Solaris fans will love it, as I did! For me 3,5 stars.

Report this review (#172045)
Posted Friday, May 23, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars Solaris - Nostradamus - Live in Mexico (2007)

Solaris is a major Hungarian progressive band that had released a masterpiece in the eighties and continued to release new material on well recorded live bootleges. The main focus of Solaris is symphonic prog/neo prog, but there are some great Hungarian influences in the music. The keys and guitars are played very professional and additional instruments and choirs have made their recent Nostradamus album very worthwhile.

On this live dvd Solaris plays most of the material from the Nostradamus album. Though the music is complex, with some non-rock instruments included and a classical Hungarian opera singer, the liver versions of the songs are extremely well played and the band stands comfortable on stage. There are some light effect in the background to compensate for the lack of a rock'n performance of the band.

This was a bit of a disappointment. The material of the Nostradamus album is played very professional, but the concert is only 45 minutes or so. I call that halve a concert, and it makes 25 euro way to expensive.

The extra's aren't very interesting. Some short documentary about a ship on the bottom of the see with the album version of Nostradamus as a sound track and a documentary about the band (so it seems) that has no subtitles, which makes it very boring since I can't understand Hungarian very well.

Conclusion. Why didn't they add another 45 minutes of material? Even if it was played and recorded somewhere else, it would have been much better. A leap into the history of the bands repertoire could have made this four star material, now I'm having trouble giving it three stars. Buy this if you are a fan, otherwise buy two other great dvd's for your money.

Report this review (#272459)
Posted Wednesday, March 17, 2010 | Review Permalink

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