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START THE FIRE LIVE

RPWL

Neo-Prog


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Rivertree
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Psych/Space Team & Band Submissions
4 stars RPWL starts the fire ...

This is a concert of the 'Start the fire'-Tour which was recorded as a part of the legendary 'Rockpalast' series. I had the chance to see them in Hannover (missing Ray Wilson). The winner of the evening was Karlheinz Wallner - not only because of his excellent guitar work. After the show he threw his flatpick into the crowd and it went straight on to my head (and was mine). Also very surprising: Yogi Lang offered us the possibility to discuss what 'Progressive Rock' is.

The first CD contains 5 tracks from their last studio release and starts with 'Sleep'. This song is accompanied by an electronic tabla and a very strong guitar playing - definitely a highlight! Ray Wilson enters the stage with 'Roses' and 'Not about us' follows from the last Genesis output 'Calling on stations' - both songs are fine but also the nearest to mainstream rock/pop.

'The Gentle Art of Swimming' is my personal highlight - psychedelic and a little bit floydy. I don't know why but a strange fact is: Markus Jehle only plays the keys live. He's not a member of the studio lineup and he does his job very very well!

CD 2 is a homage to a welknown psychedelic rock band and begins with the title track of their last studio output 'World through my eyes'. 'Opel' from Syd Barrett opens the Pink Floyd tribute followed by a terrific 'Cymbaline' and 'Welcome to the machine'. 'Hole In The Sky' - another psychedelic song with some samples - closes the set.

RPWL sometimes is called a Cover Band. But even the former group 'Violet District' didn't work in this way. They have found their unique style - a neoprog/psychedelic sound with some transitions to mainstream rock and a special affinity to Pink Floyd.

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Send comments to Rivertree (BETA) | Report this review (#97530)
Posted Tuesday, November 07, 2006 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars The band is not very active since 2005. This is their last effort to date (I'm not taking into account their EP called "9").

This live album contains five tracks from their last album which is normal since it was its supporting tour. But this live set is more a tribute than anything else. The presence of Ray Wilson on two tracks only adds more credit to this. He was already a guest on "Start The fire" (their last album) for the number "Roses". In this concert, he will also be on vocals for "Not About Us" which is another song from "Calling All Stations" (the last "Genesis" studio album to date). In terms of "Genesis" you can easily recognize some "I Know What I Like" notes in the second half of "Day On My Pillow" (around 4'30") .

The band has been covering "Opel" already in their album "Stock". Brilliantly, I have to say. This nice and gentle acoustic song from Syd Barrett has been completely revisited and has been transformed in a great rock psychedelia. This live version is just a great tribute to Syd.

There will also be two true "Floyd" songs of which "Cymbaline". This is not the best known song from the band. It was by far the best song from the very average "More" album (a soundtrack). While played live (mostly during the Atom Heart Mother" tour in 70/71 (but there are already traces of it in 69 but on unofficial releases only) "Floyd" was extending rather drastically. It is on this base that "RPWL" covers it. A great psychedelic moment, and I wonder if it is not simply the best version of "Cymbaline" I have heard (and I have heard a lot). IMO, it is the best number by far on this album.

"Welcome To The Machine" is a good choice as well in the sense that this song has almost never been played live (I only have one version from 87). So, even on unofficial recordings it is a hard to find item. This "RPWL" version is harder than the original. It has to be regarded as a document.

One of the best song from their own repertoire is "Wasted Land", one of the few stand out tracks from "The World Through My Eyes". Great rendition full of conviction and totally in the good "PT" style. I can't say the same about the mellowish "Crazy Lane" from their debut. Nice melody but childish and previsible. Easy listening music.

We'll get a bit from their second album with the title track "Trying To Kiss The Sun", a good pop-rock song like "PT" has wrote a lot. Another highlight is the long "The World Through My Eyes". A very good psychedelic song during which the band can demonstrate his skills. I like very much the work of the rhythmic section and the guitar solo is of course fantastic.

The other highlight in terms of own repertoire is the great "Hole In The Sky". Played in one piece, it is a great combiation of "PT" with a superb and Gilmour-esque guitar part. Great stuff, indeed.

There is also a studio song on this live album. "New Stars Are Born" is a long and tranquil pysche song. Typical "RPWL" song (except the lenght, well over twelve minutes). Fully derivative but good : starting mellow, exploring space-rock territories, as well as great psychedelia. It was featured as a bonus track on the "Special Edition" of their last studio album and frankly could have replaced several weaker songs. This version is the full blown one. A very pleasant way to close this live (!) album. When "Floyd" meets "PT".

Three stars, thanks to the great covers as well as "Wasted Land" and "Hole".

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#148656)
Posted Saturday, November 03, 2007 | Review Permalink
tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover Team
4 stars I get really picky with live albums especially when I have the ingrained feel of the studio album firmly implanted in my memory banks and the concert setting is not as proficient. Certainly masterpieces like Porcupine Tree's Coma Divine, Grobschnitt's Solar Musick, Hawkwind's Space Ritual and Wishbone Ash's Live Dates are not always a common occurrence (even in our techno-not-so- perfect world). In RPWL's case, this massive live memento provides the platform to showcase a darker, more elusive mood, knowing that they could have easily opted for a more sterile (read= more accessible) sound. There is an underlying grit as they polish off extended versions of their repertoire (early Floydian stylistics with latter Eloy-like flourishes) and it works! It remains my favorite RPWL album and by far. The recently penned "Sleep" is harder-edged than the glossy studio version, same as with the follow up "Start the Fire" which launches forward with a hoarser vocal from Yogi Lang and hence, rocks more convincingly , kissed off by a rousing organ solo ramming through the theme . "Who Do You Think We Are" is their rather clever wordplay on being a PF cover band, complete with an outright Waters melody/chorus that would make the wall crumble in shame, growling bass forward and massed vocals combining to give Kalle Wallner's guitar to roam a tad in the finest "bones by the fire" tradition. "Day on My Pillow" is remolded into an undemanding procession that shows off the truer ambitions of modern psychedelia, paying homage to the past yet keeping it simple with a puerile melody that one can hum to, if needed. Some organ, guitar twanging in the background, peeling off a countrified solo that is quite amazing, really! A "looking better in your wardrobe" nod to Genesis does this piece proud. "Roses" is a masterful progressive pop song that features Ray Wilson (who sang the studio version as well!) and in the livelier setting, this one really blows like a gale storm in the South Atlantic, with the entire band kicking it up a notch while Wilson smokes the microphone with a howling vocal delivery that trembles with authenticity. Can't help humming along to this one, guv! Wallner unleashes his fingers with impassioned restraint, preferring the solemn rhythm and then exploding in ecstasy. A highlight reel track, to be sure. To add even more oomphian bravado, Wilson stays on to sing "Not about Us" , one of the better tracks off the much-maligned Calling All Stations album, a confident take on a sublime melody with valuable and meaningful lyrics , certainly far from a standard twice-licked pop candy. "The Gentle Art of Swimming" is a track off the "Opel" album and suggests a deeper dirge that gives Wallner, drummer Mueller and keyboardist Jehle some breathing room to roam into swirling sonic realms, whistling synths leading the cavalry charge and combine with the guitar attack to seek out new dimensions. There is a Manfred Mann-like synth torture that is quite breathtaking and when Lang bellows again, this one really gets quite exciting. The copious applause only seals the deal. "Wasted Land" resorts to more hymn-like choruses, something like a proggier U2, what with that chugging guitar and relentless pounding plowing mercilessly ahead. Love that rolling bass and another colossal synthian delight! Ach, du! "Crazy Lane" as the title implies is straight out of the Floyd kitchen, more of a tribute meddling song that anything else and it does even proclaim otherwise. Honest and fragile, when do you get lyrics like "Don't give up because love will find a way" in your daily prog ration? "Trying to Kiss the Sun" ends up side one, not one of my fave tracks anyway. The second CD shows the band in complete control with the great "World Through My Eyes", a glassy, wuthering epic that resonates deeply within the moodier realms of psychedelia that conjures up images and sounds of deep galactic travels, the synthesizer adventure is inspired pushed along by rousing organ in true psych tradition. The guitar spotlight is spellbinding, slowly twirling in apparent frenzy, Wallner intensifying his sustained fury with a deft "maitrise". This is pure genius that I can only applaud even though I am not IN the audience. Then we plunge into the overt Floydian section, first an early Syd Barrett classic "Opel", complete with that brooding madcap laugh and bruising playing by all, the early Gilmour-era and masterfully expressed and outright jewel "Cymbaline", a clamorous 15 minute travelogue and finally, my all-time second fave PF song a seven minute version of "Welcome to the Machine" (First being "the Great Gig", for those who are curious!). Nearly 23 minutes of pure bliss that would make Waters drool and contact his barristers! What a momentous ride, worth the price of the album alone! Sit back and let it glide??.. On the first , when bassist Chris Postl winks at the organ, the mood dives into the Hendrixian assaults of Herr Wallner, careening, wrenching, thrashing and howling like some untamed Comanche mustang, this you got to hear folks, Phew!!!!!! Incredible and intense. This is what Space/Psych is all about, kids, just a modern exam played by modern students of an old, underappreciated Floyd classic. The final six string sortie is psyche blowing. Machine is very married and virtuous towards the original, a tad harsher perhaps which gives it a doom-laden feel as opposed to the studio original's glossy sheen. "I Don't Know" is a catchy shorter piece a brief reprieve before the final hurrah, the epic and signature farewell " Hole in the Sky", their finest piece off their debut disc containing a majestic main theme, a graceful vocal and a scintillating guitar-infested chorus and a standout track on its own. A bonus unreleased full version studio track is the cherry on the cake, "New Stars are Born" is a 12 minute romp that has all the usual suspects firmly in place, slowly blooming into another psychedelic journey into the deeper regions of the universe. As masterful as the previously named live juggernauts, perhaps not, but close. 4 lit matches

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Send comments to tszirmay (BETA) | Report this review (#226934)
Posted Thursday, July 16, 2009 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars RPWL are a band I really thought i'd dig big time but after being disappointed with a couple of their studio albums I have to admit they just don't do it for me.This particular recording is a double live album from their "World Through My Eyes" tour. In fact the title of this live album "Start The Fire" is a title of one of the tracks off of "World Through My Eyes". Ray Wilson who sang for GENESIS on the "Calling All Stations" album guests on a couple of tracks including a song from that crappy GENESIS record. Unfortunately Weston is not a singer i've ever been fond of but oh well.They do use songs from all three of their studio albums which is good for the fans.

Things start off great with "Sleep" and the spacey intro followed by some excellent guitar. It does settle right down before kicking back in. Excellent start. "Start The Fire" starts off powerfully with guitar playing over top of the strong drum / bass rhythm. It settles when the vocals arrive. Good tune as contrasts continue."Who Do You Think We Are" is mellow to start but it gets fuller. "Day On My Pillow" is a laid back tune before we get two straight tracks with Ray Weston singing. Then we get "The Genle Art Of Swimming" which is better as we get some good bass and I like the guitar playing over top as vocals come in in a reserved manner. I like the power after 3 minutes with the sampled mellotron. One of the better tracks for sure."Trying To Kiss The Sun" is a great way to end disc one.

Disc Two begins with the title track of their most recent album "World Through My Eyes".Then we get some covers which will appeal to FLOYD fans in particular. "Opel" is a solo Syd Barrett tune that is very well done. Quite uplifting for me actually. "Cymbaline" is from FLOYD's "More" album but is stretched to over 15 minutes, the longest song of this recording. I love how laid back and spacey this is. Some good organ runs when it picks up. "Welcome To The Machine" is another FLOYD tribute of course. Man they do this track justice I must admit.Very well done and quite powerful. "I Don't Know" is like a step back into reality from the PINK FLOYD excursions. It's a little out of place here. "Hole In The Sky" fits well as this is quite spacey and psychedelic.

3.5 stars. My best experience with this band yet. I wish Ray Wilson wasn't involved but hey that's just my tastes or lack of it. A good double album regardless.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#402563)
Posted Thursday, February 17, 2011 | Review Permalink

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