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3RDegree - The Reunion Concerts CD (album) cover



Crossover Prog

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Queen By-Tor
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars ...and it feels so good.

It took a while for 3RDegree to find a world in which prog music had an audience, and after breaking up in the late 90s they finally decided to get back together to record their recent opus, Narrow-Caster and in tandem also released this concert collection. What a release this is! If ever you've taken the slightest bit if interest to te music of 3RDegree then this is definitely a release to obtain. a 2-CD set of both the reunion concerts (one acoustic and one electric) along with a DVD including material from both concerts, interviews, a photo gallery and band bios for each member. That's about 4 hours of stuff, and it's all top notch to boot.

The DVD really is a treat, not to mention that it gives a nice amount of insight into the band. It's also not just your typical concert dvd - in order to keep your eyes from going crossed after watching it for too long (as some 3-hour concerts will do to you) the setlist switches between the two venues and incorporates interview footage into the middle to give some more info about each tune, the writing process behind it and the personal thoughts of each member - and sometimes even just different stories from different members about what they've been doing since the band broke up or how they got back together. It all makes for a very intriguing viewing, especially when paired with the very excellent performances! The acoustic set takes place in one of the member's living rooms to a very small crowd with one grand piano and the rest of the band cramped on the stairs - yet still they're able to pull off some excellent performances. It would appear that the limitations to movement for the band really just makes them really focus on put having a good sound, and some of the more ''delicate'' songs like the instrumental Black Orchid or the sentimental I have a real punch to them which may have been missing during a 'larger' performance.

The electric part of the set is probably where the band shines the most though. It seems that even after all these years the boys still like to just rock out because it's the heavier songs where the band really shine. Apophenia is given an excellent rendition thanks to George's powerful voice and an added 'crunch' to Pat Kliesch's guitar. Free For All is another song which just sounds 'that much better' live, George Dobbs' synth tone sounding even more sharp and mean as the rest of the band tear into what they describe as ''progressive grunge - if there ever was such a thing''.

Other standout moments on the album are simply the ones that stray the furthest from the song's studio counterparts. On especially surprising and amazing moment is the moment where 13 is about to turn into Mistakes but instead takes a turn into Gentle Giant territory as the band switches seamlessly into Dancing Over Scarlet Mist from their debut album. Nice! Another song from the first album which ends up being a nice surprise is the normally frantic title cut, The World In Which We Lived converted into a peaceful and acoustically relaxing number - a very big change indeed.

And then there's the fact that the set has just so many unreleased songs on it. As can be expected from a band that revived many of their old tunes to make their newest album, there's a lot which simply have never made an album. Not the the tunes are bad in any means, but one can tell that they simply wouldn't 'fit' on any given album. Home In The Clouds is probably the most memorable of the bunch and is therefore luckily on the dvd in the acoustic set. Pleasant voicing from Dobbs makes this one simply excellent. Of course, most prog fans will be happy to know that they pay tribute to one of their biggest inspirations when, during the electric set the band delves into Peel The Paint, originally by Gentle Giant - and does so surprisingly well! An ambitious task, especially when the Giant are regarded as some of the most technically advanced prog that came out of the classic era, but 3RDegree covers the tune with ease.

This really is the epitome to the description, ''An Excellent addition to any prog music collection'' since you have a ton of music, some great visuals, and even cover material from classic prog musicians. A lot of DVDs have extra stuffing on them which can only be called 'fluff', but this one is simply full of valuable material. If you've ever liked an album by 3RDegree then this set is definitely recommended - 4 stars out of 5! 3RDegree are back, and with a vengeance, apparently.

Report this review (#197263)
Posted Sunday, January 4, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Self made video (but very professional) of the band's April 2007 back to back concerts-their first in just over 10 years. Interestingly edited in that it goes back and forth between 3 different elements: 1. confessional interviews with the band explaining why they got back together and lots of band history 2. the acoustic "living room" concert from a bandmember's home and 3. the single room schoolhouse electric concert at NJ Proghouse-a prog rock fixture in the Garden State. Lots of variety and never stays in the same place for long. Much information here and if you're a fan of the band you get like 6 songs not on any other video or studio album. Apparently the band wrote a bunch of songs for their eventually released 2008 album Narrow-Caster that didn't make that album but were played during these shows. Those songs are a bit less proggy and lighter fare but no less interesting. Shot in 1080i HD video and available on Blu-ray, it's a bit noisy in low light but sharp and well mixed most of the time. On hand is the YouTube clip with the most hits for the band-their rendition of Gentle Giant's "Peel The Paint" as well as a cross-section of material from their first 3 albums.

A lot of bonus footage is on hand showing the band rehearsing for the shows and goofing around with Steely Dan's "Hey Nineteen" and the like.

Also included on the Blu-ray (but not the DVD) is another short living room concert (from same living room) with a different band lineup featuring their YouTube performance of Genesis' "Me & Sarah Jane".

It's interesting how this DVD/Blu-ray predates their comeback studio album by over a year so it seems that they are celebrating the past while debuting new songs but they come off as not quite sure if this is a one-off thing or what. We know now in 2012 that their popularity has grown and have released yet another studio album (The Long Division) but in early 2007, the future was unclear.

I give it a 5 star rating because if you're into 3RDegree, this disk answers so many questions and looks and sounds top notch.

Report this review (#876729)
Posted Monday, December 17, 2012 | Review Permalink

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