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Gandalf - Live in Vienna (CD + DVD) CD (album) cover



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Symphonic Team
2 stars Teuflisch

My first contact with the music of Gandalf was through his collaboration with Steve Hackett on Gallery Of Dreams. This 1992 studio album did not impress me much though, and I forgot about Gandalf for a long time. Much later I found on Spotify the two live albums Gallery Of Dreams Live part 1 and part 2 (both of which also featured Steve Hackett on a handful of tracks). These live albums did impress me and opened my eyes to further investigation into Gandalf's discography. This eventually led me to the present live album which was recorded much later. The first thing I wish to say is that if you want to check out Gandalf, then the two Gallery Of Dreams Live albums is a much better place to start, and indeed probably the best place to start (particularly if you are a fan of Steve Hackett; though the Hackett appears here as well on one track).

Live In Vienna focuses a bit more on recent material though it goes back to material from Visions from 1981. The sitar-driven Keeper Of the Old Forest represents that album and appears both here and on Gallery Of Dreams Live. Alone At Elrond's House represents the belated follow-up Visions 2001. Cosmic Balance is a familiar piano-driven piece that goes back to To Another Horizon. Colours Of The Earth features a Jethro Tull/Focus-like flute-driven passage which is fun. Face The Mirror brings us to Gallery Of Dreams and Steve Hackett joins Gandalf on stage for this one.

So far so good, pleasant and enjoyable instrumental performances of good material. The problem lies in the vocal numbers which generally stink, especially those sung in German. It is these that bring this album down.

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Posted Wednesday, May 14, 2014 | Review Permalink

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