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The Flower Kings - Live in New York - Official Bootleg CD (album) cover


The Flower Kings

Symphonic Prog

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3 stars The first of the 'Official bootlegs" from Flower Kings. Packaged in a simple cardboard sleeve with virtually no information on it, the cd indded gives an impression of not being a release proper. The recording is a probably a result of the band's open policy on audience recordings of their concerts - the release is a mix of both soundboard and audience recording from a concert held in at the Bottom Line Club in New York in 2002. In spite of this, the sound quality is very good indeed. Regarding the contents: There is a distinct live 'feel' to this record (much more than in their later 'professionall' live recording 'Meet the Flower Kings' from 2003), and the performance is superb. The performance has a rather loose atmosphere with occasional glitches and bums, but this only adds to the charm of the performance. The recording demonstrates the skills of the band, they are simply awesome musicians throughout. All songs are hghlights; the 47 minute version of 'Garden of Dreams' being simply excellent! Recommended for all Flower Kings fans and symphonic prog-heads out there!
Report this review (#17211)
Posted Tuesday, January 4, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Having missed the opportunity to see The FLOWER KINGS play live due to my weekday schedule this year, I felt something was missing. I have something that has filled the void . for now. This audience recording of a New York City date at the Bottom Line Club April 14th 2002 is a superb representation of their live performances. The greatest FK fan of all, and U.S. fan club coordinator, Brian Dorbuck, with Martin Nielssen, taped the show, then Roine STOLT (guitar, vocals) the group's leader, took the tape and tweaked it a little and now we have an official bootleg live recording to enjoy! He was concerned about the quality of copies that have been circulating amongst fans so this is as good as it gets for a bootleg folks.

Live In New York kicks off the set with the incredible opus "Garden Of Dreams," which runs for nearly 48 minutes! "I Am The Sun" is a great track as well, with many different elements jumping in and out of each of song, which is the typical array of influences found in any song that they do. Anyone that is familiar with the group knows that any of their songs played live could sound much different on any given night because they improvise so much. "In The Eyes Of The World" is a wonderful showcase for lead vocalist Hasse Fröberg's talents. Each track proves to be a place for development in each performance and the vocals play a major role in supporting all of that inventiveness. I imagine it must take a tremendous amount of talent and timing to keep up with the spontaneous nature of everyone in this talented band. Fröberg plays guitar, like STOLT, so it is even more of a challenge to keep pace with all the quick changes and maintain the effortless synchronicity that is apparent in all of their live and studio performances.

This CD is as good as any live recording I have ever heard. Bravo! To the band and their open-ended recording policy for their fans at their shows; otherwise, this album never would have happened. This all came about when fans were asking the group how they could help them recover all the financial losses over the years, well here is how . buy this CD and all proceeds will go right back to the group to assist in recovering those loses. It is a noble cause for a great group of guys that play for their love of music and give respect to all of their listeners.

They are superstars in more than just music, being true to life humanitarians is what each member strives to be. Now you have your chance to help some folks that are always willing to lend a hand and be there when called upon. Even though they have a worldwide following, their popularity has yet afforded them the life of luxury that surely some of their contemporaries enjoy. It is time to give back to a band that has provided such wonderful entertainment for so many years to us all. Buy this CD; you will be glad you did in more ways than I can possibly count.

As a band The FLOWER KINGS are nothing short of phenomenal. There is a reason why this is so. Each group member is a talented individual capable of creating fantastical progressive rock of their own, when they join forces it is a magical slice of musical heaven. On the recent exclusive fan club CD, they stretch out their wings and give everyone a taste of their eclectic talent base. Not only is it special because you cannot buy it in stores, you have to be a fan club member (or a special writer that provides outstanding coverage); it gives you an inside look at individuals that have their own taste and styles. So how is it that they can play together so well? They are not an anomaly, as there are many groups like this, the one exception being that they stay together even though they actively record their own solo projects. I thank the heaven above for that.

If you are a fan interested in receiving the fan club magazine, which chronicles all of the band's travels and plans for recording, it is more than worth it to join and you can do so on the band's website. To receive this Fan Club CD is just the icing on the cake to every other benefit of being a member. This is great stuff and a must for any fan of the band or progressive rock music.

Many thanks go out to Brian Dorbuck and Roine STOLT for providing copies of these fine CDs for my enjoyment and review.

Rating: 5/5 (both CDs) ... Live In New York - Official Bootleg & Fan Club CD 2002

Report this review (#17212)
Posted Monday, January 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars I am not sure that I understand TFK's strategy here. If a band releases an "official" bootleg, the idea is to bootleg the bootleggers. Meaning, marketing an offical product that will stop the sales of the parallel circuit. To do so, I guess that you need to inundate the market and have a very attractive pricing to be be able to sell a lot.

In this case, the original production reached 1,500 copies and there is apparently no plans for reprinting. This will allow the black market and its stupid prices. Second alarming point : the pricing. Almost 25 US $ ! Is must be a joke !

This record is the result of a mixing from the soundboard as well as from an audience recording for additional ambience.

Almost seventy percent of this CD, is dedicated to a shortened (still forty-seven minutes long, don't worry) version of "Garden Of Dreams). This "song" was already available on "Meet The Flower Kings" in a similar format. Nothing new then.

One of my TFK favourite song, "In The Eyes Of The World" is reduced almost by half; to a mere 6'30". Only one part out of two for "I Am The Sun" (but the original track was split into two parts, so...). Same treatment for the originally very good "Circus Brimstone". From a twelve minutes song, it will be reduced to less than 3'30".

I know that I have complained quite a lot about TFK exaggerately long (double) albums all along their career. But what's the of shortening good songs to such an extension ? The only good idea was to do so with "Garden..." which is still a bit too long here (by ten or fifteen minutes), especially during the second half.

Needless to say that the "bass and drum solos" are totally useless.

My advice is that you should get away of this CD (anyway, it should out of print by now). For the equivalent budget in ? (25) , you can get the limited edition of their very good "Meet The Flower Kings" which includes two CD's, two DVD's and a nice booklet (20 pages).

Still three stars because of the music present on this live album.

Report this review (#131560)
Posted Friday, August 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Watching The Flower Kings live might be boring due to limited body movement or stage acts of the band members. But I don't know why I always enjoy them play live - be it as audio or through video. The chief reason is basically try to kill my curiosity if they play the long tracks. In fact, this official bootleg album starts with a very long track "Garden of Dreams" which takes 47 minutes to complete. This is really a challenging job for the band although they got used to it.

It's so interesting that the opening piece of this album is a snapshot of "Humanizzimo" from Roine Stolt solo album "The Flower King" whereby the keyboard punch is so peculiar, which is very easy for me to identify. Plus some guitar fills and drumming the music finally enters into the real intro of "Garden of Dreams" (taken from "Flower Power" album). I am amazed with the band especially on their brilliant talents to bring this complex and long track beautifully and almost perfect to the studio version. But I think this live version is much more enjoyable for me because there are segments with slightly different arrangements - especially during which Tomas Bodin delivers his solo continued with Roine Stolt's guitar solo. Another interesting point is also the sounds of guitars are different from those of studio version. The whole 47 minutes is delivered excellently by the band and I really appreciate their virtuosity in managing this song beautifully.

"In The Eyes of The World" which has powerful intro blending unique keyboard sounds and dazzling drum work performed in fast tempo excellently. Roine Stolt provides great guitar solo on top of Bodin's keyboard work while drums provide the dynamic beats. As far as melody concern, this song is quite strong and this live version is much interesting than the original version. The "Bass and Drum Solos" really enjoyable because the types of solos they play are really cool and entertaining, purely dominated by jazz styles. It's actually not just bass and drum solo because Tomas Bodin also provides his keyboard effects as well and also acoustic guitar by Roine Stolt.

The other remaining two tracks "Circus Brimstone" (which has been my personal favorite so far) and also "I Am The Sun" are also beautifully performed by the band.

Overall, I do enjoy this official bootleg record and it's an excellent addition to any prog music collection. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#156986)
Posted Saturday, December 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars I hate to do this to one of my favorite bands, but this ain't the best of these guys.

Featuring the line-up of Roine Stolt, Tomas Bodin, Hasse Froberg, Jonas Reingold and Zoltan Czorsz, this certainly has a very live, jam-band type of feel to it, complete with minor sound adjustments being called out at the beginning of the first song. The music and the sound quality are pretty good throughout, with the very big (for me) exception being that the bass is almost indiscernible. That's a mortal sin when you have one of the very finest bass guitar virtuosos in all of rock!

The original 60-minute studio version of "Garden of Dreams" from their Flower Power album was pure ecstasy. This live version is 47 minutes of various sections of the suite, played in different order, and filled with a lot of jamming. I like it - not as much as the original (with Jaime Salazar on drums and Michael Stolt on bass, by the way), but there's enough new music on this piece that it makes the purchase of the cd worthwhile.

"In The Eyes of the World" is reproduced almost exactly as per the studio version, with very nice harmonies. Tracks 3 and 4 ("drum and bass solos") are, unfortunately, a waste of ten minutes of disc space, as one of the best rhythm sections in all of rock fails miserably here to move me. What a letdown. (Dang! I just wish they would have engineered that rich Rickenbacker bass more clearly!)

Another great job with "I Am The Sun", again pretty faithful to the studio version. And this closing track ends with Roine introducing the members of the band in his best Swedish-inflected English, which is kind of neat to hear.

This is certainly not an ideal sampling of The Flower Kings' best work; but for the TFK completist, this is a nice addition of some alternative takes to round out your collection. You get over 65 minutes of music even if you skip tracks 3 and 4. Eh...

Report this review (#2441166)
Posted Tuesday, August 25, 2020 | Review Permalink

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