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SKY 5 LIVE

Sky

Eclectic Prog


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russellk
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars I'm reviewing the double-vinyl set originally released in 1983. Its track listing is similar to the double CD listed above.

This release was a serious mistake. What SKY needed to do was to produce a quality set of original music, to win back their many fans lost after 'Forthcoming'. So what did they do but issue a double live set! Expensive (certainly for me in 1983), unnecessary (some groups gain from being recorded live, but SKY is not one of them) and gratuitous, this was the band's death knell.

Yes, the music is played competently, and yes, the new selections add more competency to a distinguished repertoire, but 'Sky5 Live' is ultimately a failed exercise because one gets no sense of rapport between group and audience. On occasion the audience can be heard reacting, but for what reason? The distance by which they miss the dynamism and immediacy of a live show is breathtaking. I know they can do much better than this; I've seen it.

If it was going to come anywhere, the obligatory supergroup live album ought to have followed their first two releases. By the time this album arrived, most people had moved on.

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Send comments to russellk (BETA) | Report this review (#114601)
Posted Thursday, March 08, 2007 | Review Permalink
SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
2 stars Pie in the sky

Most band's I know of that called their albums by their order of appearance (1, 2, 3, etc.) didn't include live albums in this "system", but Sky did just that with Sky Five: Live. This was, however, not entirely without justification as this live release did contain lots of new material that appears only on this album and nowhere else (but also a few Sky classics). So despite being a live album, this was also, in one sense, properly speaking Sky 5. The contents are a mixed bag with some strong moments amidst longer sections of boredom.

Apparently there are several versions of this album, some lacking the 20 minute plus opening The Animals. It is however not a great loss! It is clear from the start that Sky took a more jazzy and improvisational approach on this album. It starts out well enough in a moderately structured and melodic vein, but rather soon it deteriorates; half way through it looses direction and becomes a rather tedious, slow, jazzy thing. This piece falls very far behind previous "side-long" compositions by the band such as Where Opposites Meet (from Sky 1) and Fifo (from Sky 2). This is followed by the equally dull The Swan which is a very understated, mellow, Classical piece. If you have managed to stay awake until the end of this track, you're in for something more interesting.

The best track on the whole album is KP1 (very unimaginatively titled after the initials of its creator, Kevin Peek). This is much closer to the style of the band's first three albums and features excellent electric/acoustic interplay. With such a track there is still hope for this album. Next up is Dance Of The Little Fairies, one of the previously familiar numbers, which is a good piece though I prefer other versions over this one. Love Duet is (together with the aforementioned KP1) the other really worthy new piece of music presented here. This one is less melodic but features the same lovely electric/acoustic interplay. Very pleasant, but not particularly memorable.

The Bathroom Song is utterly and completely pointless and consists of someone playing piano and mindlessly singing la la la la while the rest of the band (presumably) had gone to the toilet! It might have seemed like a good idea at the time, but there's really no excuse for including it on a live album. KP2 is a fun little, uptempo rocking number. I fail to detect any real connection to KP1. Antigua slows things down considerably and is a lovely, Classical-style guitar piece. They return to familiar ground with Sahara which was originally a great number from Sky 2 that reminds me a lot of Al Di Meola's style, though the original studio version is better. Sakura Variations sounds to me like mindless improvisation on acoustic guitar that really goes nowhere. Meheeco is another disappointment as it reminds little of its studio counterpart. Hotta, on the other hand, does remind of its studio counterpart, but it lacks the latter's excitement.

A couple of stronger moments, but overall a rather disappointing release. I much recommend to begin with the earlier and very much better live concert video Live In Concert: Bremen, Germany (1980) (actually recorded in 1979; sometimes goes under the alternative title of Live Across Europe). Sky Five Live is primarily recommended for fans (for whom I reckon it must be essential due to the several songs not available elsewhere).

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#1046234)
Posted Friday, September 27, 2013 | Review Permalink

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