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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I've got this DVD early last year and just found out that it has not been reviewed here. It's probably people don't pay attention to Pendragon as many consider that if we talk about neo prog it must be about Marillion, IQ, Pallas, etc and rarely mention about Pendragon. It's actually worth observing because this four-piece band has been consistent with their music style since its inception. This live set was filmed during the band's The Masquarade Overture Tour. Specific to this DVD it was filmed at Krakow, Poland on 24th November 1996. As you may guess, this was a performance to promote their latest album at the time: The Masquarade Overture.

The show started with a shot of a nice stage design with back drops containing materials from album cover designs. The welcoming music sounds awful to my ears called "March Of The Torreodores" - what's this? This is not suitable to welcome a prog show. How can someone compares this to, say, uplifting Firebird Suite of Yes or Rosini's William Tel Overture? I almost drop my listening at first spind of the DVD. But, I already paid US$ 18 (quite cheap, actually), so I forced myself to enjoy it. Nick Barrett, Clive Nolan, Peter Gee and Fudge Smith then enter the stage. Barrett dressed in a yellow and blue checkered coat, again, for it does not prog at all. Ugghhh . Nolan dressed like Rick Wakeman? Sort of. Peter Gee dressed with a vest and did not really prog, appearance wise - especially looking at the way he played his bass guitar. Awful. Sorry.

The show started with Nostradamus in an upbeat tempo that stimulated audience participation. Barrett seemed like more than a singer, more than a songwriter and I think he was the center of the show. He is also a fantastic guitar player with Floydian style. One of my favorite was when the band played Guardian Of My Soul (12:58). It's a great song that starts energetically followed with a silent break and then continued with slow guitar fills. The song moves from slow to a rocking style with great guitar and keyboard works. There is short drum solo in the middle followed with stunning guitar solo. There are many tempo changes with combination of low to high register notes on vocal. Back In The Spotlight (6:17) starts off in upbeat tempo with guitar solo and keyboard as rhythm. The vibe is heating up and the vocal is becoming aggressive. The crowd is excited. Under The Last Man On Earth (14:35) the crowd sing along with the band. Yes, the band has successfully made the audience getting hot with the show. Just before The Last Waltz (Queen Of Hearts Part Three) (5:12) the crowd sing in a capella with Fudge Smith plays his bass drum as beat keeper. It's a good live vibe, really.

On stage, it seems really clear that Nick Barrett is the center of attention as he delivers his roles excellently. Second is Clive Nolan with his long hair and head banging acts at some rocking segments. Unfortunately, his keyboard sound is mixed at relatively low level so that the keyboard sound is not truly obvious - even on solo part. It's probably he plays his keyboard very carefully. Fudge Smith delivers better drumming here compared to his performance with Steve Hackett in Time Lapse live video.

There is a huge selection of bonus material for fans. It includes the commercial video for "Saved By You. Also a short biography on the band and its members; complete with a discography with scans from all the albums. Also some website information and a Pendragon logo also there's an interview. The interview was not clear to my ears as the recording technology used was really bad so I can't hear half the questions asked. This DVD gives an overview of Pendragon and the kind of music they play.

Overall, this DVD will favor most of neo progressive fans. It's enjoyable live performance especially on guitar work. On the stage performance I observe that there is a little mismatch between audio and visual takes that are obvious especially during Nick's vocal part or Fudge Smith drumming. It's a production issue, I think. Keep on proggin' ..!

Progressively yours,


Report this review (#39395)
Posted Wednesday, July 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Pendragon is a neo progressive band nowadays and I am very impressed with this band. Their sound is influenced by Marillion, Camel, Pink Floyd, and Genesis. One of their masterpiece is this DVD. You can find some tracks from their major albums ("The World", "The Window Of Life", and "The Masquerade Overture"). Nick Barrett used the "Masquerade" costume and all his solos are magnificent. Peter Gee played a terrific bass especially in "Paintbox". Fudge Smith became an energetic drummer. Clive Nolan created a new dimension on his play (you can compare with his performance in Arena). Unfortunately, the visualization is not good enough. The sound and the lip movement didn't go together. But this DVD still produce some of my favorite song (That's the most important thing! "Paintbox" and "The Shadow" are the best!). That makes it valuable. Final word, I just can say that you have to try and collect it or if you don't have the DVD, you can buy on the VHS version. And finally, you also can buy "Live In Krakow 1996" album if you don't have the VHS in your home. May be it can "kick" your disappointment.

The Visitor (Dammn, now everybody has known my real name!!! You have read the review created by The Visitor and now you finally know my "real" name!!!)

Report this review (#78199)
Posted Monday, May 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
4 stars Oh, my! When I heard about this DVD I knew I had to have it. It was 2003 and I had just discovered this fantastic band. This show was recorded in Krakow, Poland, during the Masquerade Overture Tour. So, they play almost the whole album during the concert, which is not a bad idea, since Masquerade is one of the masterpieces of prog, and easily Pendragon's finest hour.

I was not disapointed. Those guys play intrincated, complex songs, with such an easiness it seems they just put a CD on the background and mimic their instruments. Every band member is definetly a virtuoso in his instrument and they all shine in this DVD. The song selection is one of the best, including almost the entire Masquerade Overture, plus such gems as The Last Man On Earth and Breaking the Spell. Ok, there are some songs you'd like to include here, but there is always a budget limit, time limitations and they could not satisfy everyone (Sister Bluebird, for instance, should be in the set list in my opinion). Still is a hell of a concert, including even a nod to their first album (Leviathan). I wish I was there.

Some critics don't really like Nick Barrett's voice and I must say that is maybe the weakest link in here. But even not in its prime (as you can hear in Last Man On Earth) I think nowadays that his vocals are a good part of Pendragon's sound. So I can live with that. It is still one of my favorite DVDs, a joy to see after so many years.

If you're into neo prog, this is a must have. And if you like good music in general, you should give it a try. Highly recommended!

Report this review (#101810)
Posted Wednesday, December 6, 2006 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars Boys on film

For understandable reasons, Pendragon do not tend to tour much in their home country of the UK. Over the years, anyone from these parts who has wished to see them has been pretty much compelled to travel to London for one of their occasional gigs. As with many other British neo-prog bands their greater success in continental Europe has however made touring there a viable proposition. It is ironic therefore that my first visual experience of this find band live is through seeing this recording of a concert recorded in Poland in 1996.

The gig was part of the "Masquerade overtour", to promote the then current album of similar name. Not surprisingly, tracks from that album ("The Masquerade overture") feature heavily and dominate the performance. Since this was in my book probably Pendragon's best album, it follows that the DVD is also highly enjoyable.

Things get even better though, as the audio and visual qualities here are excellent, putting the efforts of many others to shame. The 5.1 surround sound is clean and well balanced, while the directing of the filming shows an awareness of the band's music which means that the shot moves to the appropriate soloist or performer at exactly the right moment.

The stage set is colourful and artistic reflecting the wonderful sleeve images of their albums, but the band do not resort to face-paint or pyrotechnics, preferring to let the music speak for itself. There is a palpable enthusiasm throughout the band, who are clearly proud of the new material they are presenting. The highlight for me is the wonderful "The shadow", a true epic of prog which blends symphonic, neo-prog and other styles with some fine melodies to create a masterpiece of the genre.

While Nick Barrett is highly visible centre stage on guitar and vocals (he insists in the interview it is not his band), Clive Nolan slips in some great keyboard solos along with his usual waves of layered sounds. Peter Gee (bass) and Fudge Smith (drums) complete the line up.

The DVD has a number of extras including a rare Nick Barrett pop video where he looks like a Duran Duran member (I was going to say reject, but that would be unfair!). There is also a lengthy interview with Barrett filmed in the back of a pub. Barrett manages make his answers rather more interesting than the rather uninspired questions of the Polish interviewer.

In all, a superb DVD both in terms of content and quality of production. It only serves to emphasise though what it pity it is that this great band do not enjoy greater incentives to tour more widely.

Report this review (#158400)
Posted Saturday, January 12, 2008 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
4 stars The best of classic Pendragon performed live

This DVD features a live concert performed in Poland on the tour in support of the acclaimed Masquerade Overture album. As many consider that album to be Pendragon's best ever, this DVD can be seen as capturing the band at the very peak of their long career. Most of the Masquerade Overture album is performed here as well as some of the best songs from The Window Of Life and The World albums. The set list can thus be said to constitute the best of this classic Pendragon period. Indeed, I personally think that this live recording outshines the studio albums from which these songs were originally taken. Obviously - as this is after all a live recording - the sound cannot be compared to that of the studio albums, but this is fully compensated for by the strong set of songs and the passionate performances. The Polish audience is very appreciative indeed and there is a very nice atmosphere created by the interaction between the band and the audience.

Live At Last is a good introduction to the music of Pendragon. Highly recommended!

Report this review (#396381)
Posted Monday, February 7, 2011 | Review Permalink

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