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Renaissance - In The Land Of The Rising Sun CD (album) cover



Symphonic Prog

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3 stars A collection of newer and old (very old) stuff performed live in Japan. Annie still has her crystal clear voice and the orchestration also is good. The setlist however could have been choosen better.
Report this review (#20150)
Posted Wednesday, November 5, 2003 | Review Permalink
4 stars Well the representation of the best stuff by Renaissance, passing through a great performance regarding a famous live in Japan, it's the best way to revive the best moments within Annie's long career!!Her warm voice, as well as the contribution of Michael Dunford and Terry Sullivan together once again, help the band to make flourish the symphonic breaks through of the past, whose comparison with three songs extracted from the recent album "Tuscany" cannot be proposed anyway...They have been successfully welcome, even though their pretty melodic pop stuff -produced during her new efforts from the Studio with the collaboration of former keyboardist from Camel -Micky Simmonds- along with the already mentioned old other members - is closer to her solo works ("Ananda" for instance, included here with one song) and not well fitted into this live...disc two is really thrilling, as it contains the "jewels" from "Scheherazade", "Turn of the Cards" and "Ashes Are Burning", this latter represented by the exceptional final title track...essential stuff, as it witnesses their recent comeback to the stage!!
Report this review (#43498)
Posted Saturday, August 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars My word, this is a cracker and make no mistake. Yes, I know Carnegie Hall is the 'standard' for Renaissance live recordings, but this shows just how good they would still be if they could only put aside personal differences. It has a freshness and vitality belying the band's age, and demonstrates a willingness to progress, something that Carnegie Hall fails to do. Several songs here carry arrangements that are developed, more or less subtly, from over-familiar originals. Old favourite Trip To The Fair is a good example. A brilliant song at any time, here it is renewed with numerous little innovations and small detail changes, like some whispered background vocals, that typify the approach of this band and help to breathe new life into old workhorses.

Annie's voice remains the focal point of attention, and she doesn't let us down. There is a perceptible sense of nervousness about the first couple of tracks, but once settled she turns in a powerful performance. Her voice has gained a fetching delicacy and fullness, maturity creeping in to replace the angelic purity of her familiar girlish tones. She noticeably warbles a little more than before, and deals differently with higher registers, but she still has the power to thrill like few others. From gentle and tender ballads like Pearls Of Wisdom and I Think Of You, to belting out THAT high note and a string of high vocalese in the coda of Ashes Are Burning, she delivers a masterfull performance.

The rest of the band sound good too, from jazz-rocking with gusto to complex orchestrations and lush backdrops. Sometimes you miss Camp's distinctive melodic bass, and the male backing vocals have an unfamiliar timbre that doesn't always meld with Annie in the way they used to. Mickey Simmonds is the one-man orchestra, his keyboards producing a convincing alternative to the real thing, only occasionally do you miss the authentic sound of real cello or brass. Rave Tesar's piano style is quite different to Tout's - more clipped, and not quite so light-handed - but his contribution is strong and authoritative, lending a new slant on the older material.

The first disc is a series of shorter songs, old and new. Opening Out and Midas Man are early highlights, the latter being an attractive laid-back version quite different in ambience from 'standard' readings, but newer material should not be ignored. The beautiful Pearls Of Wisdom, a lively and dynamic Dear Landseer and the Indian tinged Ananda all stand out from inevitable perennial crowd pleasers. Disc two has more Prog meat, including Trip To The Fair and a suitably awesome and majestic Mother Russia that stands up well alongside older versions, though perhaps Tesar's opening piano work lacks expression. As always, Ashes Are Burning ends the show on a very high note: the first half belongs to Tesar's piano, but the long finale section is stunning, organ and Annie's high improvised vocalese combining in a truly rousing climax.

The album was recorded live before a polite Tokyo audience in early 2001 during a short Japanese tour to promote new studio album Tuscany. Recording quality is crisp and punchy though a couple of songs might have benefitted from a more powerful production [eg One Thousand Roses], the only niggle is each track fades during the audience applause instead of being continuous. Overall, it is a terrific album, an excellent addition to the Renaissance catalogue and an essential purchase for fans of the band's blend of classically inspired symphonic Prog, simpler ballads and catchy tunes delivered with an adult intelligence.

Report this review (#98404)
Posted Sunday, November 12, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is a live album recorded during their promotion of the Tuscany album. An album I do not like. But that aside, I am a fan of Renaissance. That is; their prog rock albums. I rate this band among my favorite five prog rock bands. Period.

This is a double album. Disc 1 includes the short, more pop orientated songs. The songs here is not bad at all. Disc 2 is the highlight of this live album and I play that one far more often than disc 1. The reason is, and you may have guessed it, that the songs here are the prog rock songs. A good version of their classic Trip To The Fair is along a good reason to buy this live album. It was my sole reason to buy it.

The sound here is excellent. The band does a brilliant job. Annie Haslam is as good as gold.... as usual. But I get the feeling that the band is more laidback on this live album than on the previous classics (Carnegie Hall) and other live albums. The band is not as alive as they were then. The lack of audience participation is also a bit of a downer. The band sounds tired. But besides of that, this is a good, cosy live album which will please all fellow fans of this band. I like it, but I do not rate as highly as their previous live albums.

3 stars

Report this review (#257412)
Posted Wednesday, December 23, 2009 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars "In The Land of the Rising Sun" is the promotional live album for the final Renaissance studio release "Tuscany". As the concert promotes this 2000 album there are a lot of songs here from that album which is not a good thing as "Tuscany" was nowhere near as good as the earlier Renaissance material. From "Tuscany" the set list includes 'Lady From Tuscany', 'Pearls Of Wisdom', 'One Thousand Roses', and 'Dear Landseer'. It is interesting to hear them live but the real piece de resistance comes when the band belt out the old progressive classics.

This 2001 concert begins with an old favourite, 'Carpet of the sun' that has some stirring musicianship, especially the drumming of Terence Sullivan, and a mesmirising melody. 'Lady from Tuscany' is one of the more recent tracks from the "Tuscany" album that I am unfamiliar with. The songs are less familiar after this till we get to the wonderful 'Northern lights' which is a great crowd pleaser and a live staple over the years. This version is as good as I have heard in previous concerts. 'Moonlight shadow' is always a highlight, the great Mike Oldfield tune always soars with amazing melodies and Annie does an excellent job. I missed Maggie Reilly's golden tones, as she augments this tune with her birdsong vocals, but it is still nice to hear this. A couple of sweet ballads follow where Annie gets intimate with the crowd.

Cd 2 begins with a classic from "Turn of the Cards", the enchanting 'Mother Russia' and this 10 ˝ minute version is stirring and lifts the spirit, though I missed the majestic orchestra. 'Trip to the fair' is always welcome and here is a 12 minute version with lengthy instrumental breaks with Dunford incredible on guitar. Two more ballads follow with 'One thousand roses', and the gorgeous acoustically driven romance of 'I think of you'. This tranquillity is followed by the best track on the album.

'Ashes Are Burning' has long been a favourite of mine but this mammoth 20 minute version is the tour de force of the band. It has been played in this epic format on the 1976 "Live at Carnegie Hall" album but it is wonderful to return to it when the band are live in 2001. Annie's voice is still enchanting and has lost none of the angelic beauty, with golden tones and hitting every note perfectly. It is a difficult song or the average singer but Annie's 5 octave range is incredible. The band have a field day on this with a very good bass solo from David Keyes, and extended piano runs of Simmonds and Tesar. Annie even ad libs a solo on vocals towards the end with extreme high end soprano range, something that is prevalent in Renaissance concerts. It is an astounding accomplishment and resulted in a rousing ovation from the adoring crowd. "You've been a wonderful audience", the band tell the crowd who are whooping with delight. It ends the concert with a virtuoso high point.

It would have been nice if the band had included the brilliant 'Black Flame' or some others from the earlier material, but this is still a great performance with enough high points to make it worth seeking out. "Live at Carnegie Hall" is better but this is still a great concert and the quality is excellent, with some songs rarely heard live by Renaissance. It is great to hear the band performing so well all those years later, and they continue to perform to present day, as Annie's voice still shines as one of the all time greatest female prog singers

Report this review (#615272)
Posted Saturday, January 21, 2012 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars "Clear your mind, maybe you will find that the past is still turning. Circles sway, echo yesterday, ashes burning, ashes burning"

In The Land Of The Rising Sun is a live album recorded in Japan in 2001. The band was touring in support of the then just released Tuscany album which saw the return of Annie Haslam for the first time since the early 80's. The line-up caught performing here consists of Haslam on lead vocals, Michael Dunford on acoustic guitar, Terence Sullivan on drums, David Keyes on bass, and no less than two keyboard players in Mickey Simmonds and Rave Tesar. They (re)create a full band sound.

There are several songs taken from the Tuscany album the best of which is Lady From Tuscany. While that studio album was not very impressive, these new songs work rather well here in the context of the many older songs. On disc one there are several songs that certainly will be recognized by anyone familiar with the band, including Carpet Of The Sun, Midas Man, and Northern Lights. Also there is a cover of Mike Oldfield's Moonlight Shadow which easily could have been a Renaissance song and fits the band's style perfectly. However, though this version is good enough, it adds nothing of value to the original. On this disc we also get to hear two songs from Annie Haslam's solo album The Dawn Of Ananda. The first of these is Precious One which for me is the low point of the whole show. The second one, Ananda, has an Oriental feel and is not bad.

From a Prog perspective it is however disc two that hold the most value. Here we get excellent renditions of such classics as Mother Russia, Trip To The Fair, and the epic Ashes Are Burning. Overall, this is a nice live album proving that Renaissance had lost little or none of their power as a live band.

Report this review (#947227)
Posted Sunday, April 21, 2013 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Crossover Prog Team
4 stars This double CD captures Annie Haslam, Michael Dunford and Terence Sullivan joined by Rave Tesar, Mickey Simmonds and David Keyes. It was recorded on March 16th in Tokyo in front of a very appreciative audience (although as usual for Japanese crowds they are deathly quiet while the songs are being performed). The use of two keyboard players mean that the band can stretch their musical wings, although with the amazing vocals of Annie it is rare that the band get to prove what they are capable of.

Annie Haslam has one of the most wonderful voices within modern popular music, with probably only Maddy Prior able to still command such a powerful range and clear tone for over thirty years. The band seem content to work together to provide the perfect backdrop, which allows Annie to let her voice soar. They perform their one 'hit' "Northern Lights" as well as a cover of "Moonlight Shadow" but such is the quality of the music that even someone who doesn't know any of the songs will enjoy it immensely the very first time. When Annie decides to sing high she really does, so that the listener just can't believe what they are hearing.

The only way to describe some of this music is that if angels were on earth then they would sound like Annie. When the band get the chance to stretch as they do on the second CD they also prove that they have a great deal to offer and it is to their credit that they don't try to overpower Annie at any time. The production is top class and this is an album of great beauty and majesty that I heartily recommend.

Originally appeared in Feedback #71, Dec 02

Report this review (#978655)
Posted Saturday, June 15, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars The Tuscany reunion tour yielded this fine album that's probably a bit less precious to fans now in light of the band's 2011 reunion, subsequent live CD/DVD and the new Grandine Il Vento album.

Live in Japan 2001 does not feature the old ever familiar band members and it shows in their sometimes metered but still accomplished performances. What is immediately apparent is how much better sounding the four songs from the Tuscany album, Lady From Tuscany, Dear Landseer, Pearls Of Wisdom, and One Thousand Roses, sound live with two keyboardists filling out and adding the more immediate and dynamic sound to these live versions.

This would be the first time Renaissance utilized two keyboard players, the incredible Mickey Simmonds and the equally talented Rave Tesar, who stunningly bring this material to another level.

Other notable songs are the evergreen Northern Lights, and text book covers of Mother Russia and a very full and dense sounding Trip To The Fair. Annie is in good but measured voice throught.

The highlight of this live collection, all recorded in one night in Tokyo, is a brilliant extended encore of Ashes Are Burning. This song features Simmonds and Tesar in a wonderful dueling piano jam before touring bassist David Keyes performs a very Jon Camp sounding bass solo before Simmonds goes ballistic on synth leads that mimic distorted lead guitar. Annie concludes the piece with a 'primal' sounding wordless vocal that closes out the song.

In The Land Of the Raising Sun is far the more immediate sounding and orchestrated Carnegie Hall and King Biscuit concert albums. However, a good time is guaranteed if you're one of the few that's particularly partial to owning the myriad of live Renaissance recordings. 3 stars.

Report this review (#1476967)
Posted Sunday, October 18, 2015 | Review Permalink

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