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Camel - The Opening Farewell - Live At The Catalyst (DVD) CD (album) cover

THE OPENING FAREWELL - LIVE AT THE CATALYST (DVD)

Camel

Symphonic Prog


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5 stars Thank you very much Mr. Latimer, Mrs. Hoover & co. I have been waiting for a proper Camel DVD for years, and, finally, here it is. The Opening Farewell - Live at the Catalyst has everything one Camel loyalist would expect - excellent picture and sound, great live performance and relevant choice of songs involving most of the Camel highlights. The previous Camel DVDs, unfortunatelly, did not reach the audio/video standards that Camel deserves - I was especially irritated by the fact that no DVD was done in 5.1. surround sound. Live at the Catalyst does not have 5.1. surround either, but the present 2.0. stereo compensates it very well. The picture, the band/the crowd communication, the enthusiasm on the stage - in one word - remarkable. A special acknowledgement belongs to Denis Clement - who also did the audio production and mixing work, and the keyboard player Tom Brislin, who has already proved himself as an excellent musician through Yes (Symphonic Live). This DVD is a sort of Camel's best. And it is certainly a must for all those in favour of Camel, Canterbury and highly inspired prog from the seventies.

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Send comments to Bilkaim (BETA) | Report this review (#382295)
Posted Tuesday, January 18, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars I'm still being under the influence of my freshest impressions, but I think it's a fantastic DVD. Maybe pretender for the first-place pretender in Camel's videography.

Won't go to track-by-track discussions, but I can assure you there is no weak note played in this concert. However, :I think some songs deserve the special mention: Lady Fantasy - from what I've heard, Camel rarely, if ever, started concert with this song, letting it be closer, rather than opener. I think the opening role suits this song optimally, it being both energetic and very beautiful. Hymn To Her - great version here, even the jazzy part, which, on the studio album wasn't to everybody's taste, is executed with mastery, elevating the song to the top Camel level. Stationary Traveller - every time I hear it, on every Camel DVD, it leaves me wordless; same happened here, it's unbelievably beautiful Same concerns to Ice, which I regard as Stationary Traveller's older brother. The show ends with For Today, which really gives it all the emotional climax.

There's a bit more to enjoy here other than music: most notably, Andy's and Colin's quirky jokes. It's a miracle that Andy, being, as many know, not in the best physical conditions, could maintain such a high spirit and grant us alot of his humour.

To put it short, this DVD deserves my highest recommendations; you're going to have a marvelous experience!

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Send comments to Thandrus (BETA) | Report this review (#389366)
Posted Saturday, January 29, 2011 | Review Permalink
SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
4 stars The actual farewell has been cut!

I am pleased that I finally have this DVD in my hand after a long wait. Recorded in 2003 and officially released in 2010, this DVD features the first night of the last (ever?) Camel tour. Or rather, it is a kind of "preview" concert before the proper tour commences. The location is a small club or studio which brings the band close to the small but greatly appreciative audience.

The front cover of the DVD is deceiving as it features a photograph of a set list sheet from a different night of the same tour. Neither Arubaluba, Fox Hill, Never Let Go nor Lawrence are actually featured on the DVD despite being listed on that sheet. What is actually here though is 15 out of the 17 songs that were played on the night of recording. For some unknown reason Arubaluba and Fox Hill as well as the encores Never Let Go and Gods Of Light were cut despite being played that night (as confirmed by David Minasian, the producer of this and other Camel DVDs, in the PA forums). The recording of Fox Hill from this night has been officially released on the Camel Footage 2 DVD, but it could easily have been included here too. Maybe it is unfair of me to focus on what is not here instead of what is actually here, but truth be told that it is some of the most interesting tracks that have been left out. Most of the surviving songs have already been featured on other official live recordings by the band. The opportunity to offer the fans and collectors some rare tracks is thus sadly somewhat lost here. Gods Of Light would have been particularly interesting to hear and see in 2003 as previous versions of this pre-Camel song are very old.

With the exception of The Single Factor, Harbour Of Tears and Rajaz, every Camel studio album is represented in the set list. The show opens with a great version of the classic Lady Fantasy from the Mirage album. What follows is a series of good to fantastic renditions of some of the band's most frequently played tunes, quite a few of which were featured on the previous live releases Coming Of Age (DVD and double CD) and Never Let Go (double CD). Andy Latimer and Colin Bass takes turns behind the microphone and even if I think they are both good singers, age is leaving its marks on Latimer in particular. His vocals are adequate, but occasionally he seems a bit nonchalant and whimsical in his vocal performance and not caring as much as he perhaps ought to. His guitar playing, on the other hand, is beyond criticism as usual. There are some really excellent guitar moments here.

Keyboard duties are taken care of by Tom Brislin who has also played with Yes (as can be seen on the Symphonic Yes DVD). He does a very good job. The drummer is Denis Clement. The whole band seem to be enjoying themselves a lot while playing these songs, as does the audience hearing them. And no wonder, as this music is simply excellent. Anyone who likes Camel at all is fully guaranteed to enjoy this DVD! However, I personally think that the two aforementioned live releases Coming Of Age and Never Let Go (both of which I have rated with five stars each), are even better than this one. Having at least one of these live recordings is absolutely essential, but if you already have those two The Opening Farewell is "merely" another excellent addition to your Camel collection.

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#410336)
Posted Wednesday, March 02, 2011 | Review Permalink
friso
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Camel - The Opening Farewell - Live at the Catalyst DVD (2010)

The Camel that excites me!

Camel's Opening Farewell dvd shook me by surprise. The band plays it's first gig of the tour in a small hall with a small audiance that is nevertheless very enthousiastic and energetic. It's a bit unlogical to choose your first gig for a concert registration, but I must say the naive, intimate and enthousiastic mind-set of this first gig does have it's charmes. I must admit this isn't like the perfectly played gig, but the music never stumbles and the energy of the band compensates for that more then enough. Since there aren't to many reviews yet, I'll wright a detailed description of what this DVD has to offer.

- The Band -

My point of reference here is the '98 Coming of Age show, which is another dvd I can recommend to fans. Of course we have Andy Latimer on electric guitars, flutes and vocals. On bass and vocals Camel's second long-time member Colin Bass. Dennis Clement on drums and Tom Brislin on keyboards are new members for me. The appearance of Brislin and Clement has a very positive effect on the band. Former keyboard player Foss Patterson has been very accurate, but also a bit dull at times and the same counts for former drummers of the band.

Tom Brislin on keyboards was a great choise. He is young, energetic and the sounds of his keyboards are particularly strong! He knows how to get those thick seventies organ sounds back (whilst knowing an rock-organ shouldn't be treated like a fragile thing) and his synths and leads are very well chosen. Brislin get's the Camel sound updated with some modern styles whilst remaing faithfull to the band it's spirit. By playing heavy solo's he knows how to interact with Latimer and yes I like his guts. Yet, he remains subtle during songs like Spirit of the Water. His solo's on Lady Fantasy, Lunar Sea and Ice are real highlights!

Dennis Clement on drums proves to be the first good substitute for Andy Ward. Finally we get to listen to some heavy drums again with fast fills, many cymbals and an overall thick sound. He knows how to get the band playing as if lives depend on it! His contribution on second flute on Spirit of the Water deserves also to be mentioned. Great addition to the band!

Another decade has past and Andy looks older then before, he also mentions it himself. His guitars sound great throughout, but his accuracy seems to let us down during some moments in the gig. This is however very acceptable for a first gig of a tour and his renewed sound with a Marshall amplifier sound nice and warm. His vocals are still good.

Collin Bass is another long-time member of the band and he does a great job. His bass lines are always great, though he hasn't been treated very well in the mix. As a vocalist he is the right person to sing the higher vocals and the harder second voices.

- The Gig -

As beforementioned, this gig isn't the most accurate of the band, but it has been a very enjoyable one. The crowd is just great and cheers in a way it makes the band shy. The set- list of this gig has some very interesting features, as well as some predictable choises. I'm mainly happy with the band playing Lady Fantasy, Echoes (finally some well deserved respect for this highlight), Another Night, Slow Yourself Down and the emotional For Today. All songs sound better then on other live registrations of the band, mainly because of the contributions of the two new band-members. The heavier drums really make Camel more exciting! During the end of the show Mother Road is used to get some loose moments for the band-members with some extended solo's and interaction.

- The Registration -

This dvd has good, but not perfect quality. The material is well shot with not too perfect camaras, but at least the footages focusses on the members that should be high-lighted. Furthermore, the registration respects the low-profile attitude of the gig and shows it like it was a great evening for fans and band without making it to much of an autoritarian artistic product.

- Conclusion -

A great energetic live concert of one of the best symphonic prog bands that proves that Camel can still be a major band on stage. New members Brislin and Clement (those great drums..!) are perhaps the 'winners' of this gig, but Latimer and Bass are also give a great show. I can warmly recommed this DVD to fans of the band and those who are interested in the symphonic genre. Furthermore I would like to add this is the most exciting Cameld DVD I've seen so far. Four stars.

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Send comments to friso (BETA) | Report this review (#474057)
Posted Saturday, July 02, 2011 | Review Permalink
lor68
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars A must-have, regarding the recent events which have characterized the life of Andie Latimer, whose title- "The Opening Farewell"- is emblematic: a collection of famous immortal tracks like the sensible "Ice" or the intelligent "Spirit of Water" (regardless the fantastic "Lunar Sea" from "Moodmadness" and "Mother Road" from "Dust and Dreams") and a few less famous tunes, such as "Slow Yourself Down", "Another Night" or "For today"...a famous gig held at the Catalyst in Santa Cruz- California it was- and actually the opener of a successful (as I hoped in it) Tour 2010, in which Camel performed also "A Fox Hill", here not present unfortunately...but coming back to the set list, you will remain enthusiast in front of "Lady Fantasy" and of course will feel nostalgia for some sensible songs like "Unevensong", "Hymm to her" or "Echoes", just to mention the classics and finally still loving the flute and the guitar excursions too, regarding "Rhayader"/Rhayader Goes To Town" (from "The Snow Goose" naturally), after all: here Tom Brislin (already present in the "Yessymphonic Tour) is excellent at the keyboards, but also the other musicians support Andie in a magnificent way!! If this was the "Farewell Tour", for me it's very sad!! Camel is among the bands which gave an important contribution to my artistic path...this live is an important document, coupled with the fantastic gig of "Coming of Age" and aligned with the artistic contribution of the early eighties at the time of "Live Pressure" (dated 1984, if I'm not wrong...), talking about the recording quality and the choice of the songs (even though I don't like "Stationary Traveller" very much, but nevermind...). In spite of my considerations above, I forgive them for "erasing" a lot of gems from "Harbour of Tears" to "Dust and Dreams", but actually it's a minor defect, cause the present live is well worth checking out and I hope that all the new fans will buy it!

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Send comments to lor68 (BETA) | Report this review (#554403)
Posted Saturday, October 22, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Strangely, with Latimer as the sole remaining member of original Camel, this performance is riding high on largely Bardens-era compositions. Well, perhaps not so strange after all as the band's first incarnation remains the most preferred by many, Yours Truly included.

The song selection is pretty good, perhaps designed to afford Latimer to play as much as possible. He has always been an excellent guitar player, only getting better and better over the years. Here, he plays with his trademark precision and attention to detail and perhaps a bit more harder edged way than usual. This is a bit of a surprise as by this time he has embraced Gilmour-like, soft elegance as heard on the last few studio releases.

Convincing performance by all, although the usually emotionless Colin Bass always represents a degree of irritation. But he can play his notes and that's what really matters. The performance is riding along well, until we get to "Echoes", a tune from the excellent, yet grossly underrated album "Breathless". Sadly, on this rendition the band fails to recreate the dynamics of the original tune and half-way through even makes a mess of it. This is a blot on the landscape that as a long time Camel fan I can not disregard.

"Ice" is a reasonably nice instrumental piece with all the notes in the right place, alas - as always - I find it too drawn out and boring. In comparison, "Stationary Traveler" is a sensational piece that never seems to be long enough.

Special mention is due to Tom Brislin on keyboards. He is perhaps the best keyboard player employed since Bardens departure and able to fill those rather big shoes with relative ease. The rich tones he creates especially in a live environment is truly a pleasant surprise.

Had it not been for "Ice" and the botched "Echoes", I'd rate this work as a 5, but as is, 4.5 will have to do. Still, highly recommended.

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Send comments to Anon-E-Mouse (BETA) | Report this review (#1179216)
Posted Sunday, May 25, 2014 | Review Permalink

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