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THE CHAPTERS LIVE

Saga

Crossover Prog


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muhamed.dz@bi
5 stars GREAT LIVE ALBUM, SAGA YOU ARE THE LEGENDS!!! For fans of the Canadian rock legends, Saga, the so called chapters have always been a special incentive, as well as an obscure mystery. After all, there is a long, interconnected story behind these songs that are linked in a mysterious way, revealed by the musicians bit by bit. Spread over the band's entire career, they have developed a kind of central theme, adding to the fascination that Saga continue to exude in 2005. Once, during their memorable misbehavior your in 1986, Saga performed all existing chapters in their correct sequence. At the time, Chapters number 1 - 8 were available, and another eight have been added since. Their new live double album, Chapters, features every single part, starting with 'Image' (Chapter 1) and ending with 'Worlds Apart' (Chapter 16), a monumental rock recording with a total playing time of over 80 minutes that really comes into its own live on stage.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#53983)
Posted Sunday, October 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
Muzikman
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars SAGA fans will be in their glory now, the definitive moment has arrived in a live set. "The Chapters Live" is available now on this two CD set. All sixteen chapters that came together over several years for the band, the words and music that comprised eight albums of music that started in 1978, is here, captured live, all of it for the first time. Think about it, what prog-rock album do you know of took 28 years to reach its fruition? This is it, your looking at it.

I could not be more impressed with this set. The 36-page booklet takes you through all the lyrics and the live music is fresh and vital. Simply put, it does not get much better than this, well.if it was in a DVD-A format with 5.1 surround sound, now that would be amazing. Just wait, I am sure it is coming right around the corner. Speaking of DVDs.the band just recorded their classic album Worlds Apart on 12/8 for DVD recently so watch for that, it is sure to be a keeper. In early 2006, a new studio album is due as well. So the SAGA continues, no pun intended.

I was very pleased with this set, the sound is good, the band is as tight as they have ever been, sounding inspired and crisp every step of the way. For a live recording, this is very good, I cannot complain about the overall sonics and presentation. I love this music and I always have. SAGA is unique, an entity that is beyond compare. Let's face it, nobody sounds like them, and they have managed to maintain their popularity even though the band broke up at one point during their career. There is no doubt with this release, a new studio album released this year titled Network, which by the way some folks say is their best in 20 years, they are making some waves. So this band's career is entering a new phase, a renaissance if you will, as fans old and new take hold and embrace their recorded output-in turn prog-rock continues to gain more respect and popularity.

"The Chapters Live" is an absolute must, I say no more. If you are into prog-rock and love this band as I do, this is a no brainer.

© Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck-http://www.muzikreviews.com

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Send comments to Muzikman (BETA) | Report this review (#59768)
Posted Thursday, December 08, 2005 | Review Permalink
lor68
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This time you can add another half star, cause usually my rate regarding the music of Saga is more precise, but in this case - as it's a live album (as well as the first time I review a live performance from the Canadian pop progressive band), I let you decide within a narrow margin and according to your own preference. Well talking about the double CD, in particular the first one covers all the successful albums of the eighties such as "Worlds Apart", "Images at Twilight" and "Silent Knight", divided into easily recognizable chapters (from 1 to eight)... the style is in the middle between the melodic pop progressive by Asia and the easy approach by Styx, passing through the settlement of a derivative style in the vein of the Neo-Prog movement from the UK, but in a more personal and intelligent manner (some way more modern and "technological" too - in comparison to a few English neo-prog bands such as IQ or Pendragon, even though these latter groups have been closer to Genesis with Gabriel - unlike Saga...). Disc 1 includes some important hit singles of the eighties - sometimes reminding me of Pallas - and despite of being performed in a remarkable way, such songs don't add anything new in comparison to the studio version. Instead disc 2 covers their recent years from "Full Circle" to "Marathon", passing through "House of Cards", another interesting chapter of their career, even though the lack of songs coming from their best album - in my opinion - entitled "Generation 13th", let me stay a bit indifferent...you know I prefer another kind of style, but I recognize Saga as an excellent band, especially talking about their music skill, as They are remarkable musicians; instead their compositions are not brilliant at all in some circumstances (unlike within "Generation 13th") and I'm sure that every Saga fan will give the present live a major score...make your own choice as usual!!

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Send comments to lor68 (BETA) | Report this review (#133333)
Posted Thursday, August 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars My only reference to Saga was an old cassette of Heads or Tales that I got in the 80's (I probably still have it somewhere). I always liked it but not enough to buy more of their albums or follow their career. And I didn't know they were still going strong and had been at it up until my reacquaintance with prog early in this decade. I did some research on their later work but a lot of reviewers panned it or gave it less than glowing recommendations so I used by prog budget on other bands. Then in 2005 they released The Chapters and I was intrigued with the story behind it all and thought this would let me get back in touch with what they were all about.

The songs on the album are put in order as 16 chapters. The original chapters were spread over several albums in the band's career, starting with their 1978 debut and up through 2003's Marathon. They were done in random order over 8 records and not all of their studio albums included a chapter. But it turns out that once they are put in order, there is a coherent story. It has to do with aliens trying to save us from ourselves with Albert Einstein's help. I certainly can't do it justice in this short review. But those who follow along with lyrics will certainly love to sink their teeth into this one. All lyrics are included along with some nice signature Saga artwork in a very well done booklet.

As for the music, it probably represents the best of what the fans of Saga enjoy. Good, hard-rocking prog with plenty of keys and hard edged guitar with many solos thrown in. Michael Sadler is a true professional singer and his vocals are spot on here. The production is fine for a live album and the appearance of it being all done in one show is preserved, even though the booklet makes no mention of where and when the recording(s) took place. Although it is a double album, the running time barely exceeds what a single CD can hold, clocking in at just over 80 minutes. So you may have to pay a double album price for basically a single. No song breaks the 7-minute barrier, which is not surprising given Saga isn't big on epics. This would certainly be a good jumping off point for those thinking of looking into the band. I probably won't be adding to my Saga collection since it just is not proggy enough and I like my music more adventurous. But this album has some good melodies, tight playing from guys who have been around the block and is a nice change of pace. And it certainly passes muster for "the songs getting stuck in your head" quotient. As for the rating, I have waffled between 3 and 4 stars. 3.5 would be perfect but I will round it up. The idea to come up with this concept of the chapters before they cut their first album and then the ability to see it to its conclusion with this recording is a very noteworthy achievement. So four stars it is.

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Send comments to johnobvious (BETA) | Report this review (#199929)
Posted Tuesday, January 20, 2009 | Review Permalink
SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
3 stars All the chapters of 'the saga'

I'm not sure whether this should be considered the best of Saga, but it surely is very representative of the band's long career and thus a great place to start investigating the band. I don't know how they came up with the idea, but their first four albums all had tracks subtitled 'Chapter #'; the first eight songs here (the whole first disc) are taken from these albums that originally were released between 1978 and 1981. These 'chapters' appeared in non-numerical order scattered on these early albums and it is unclear to me what these songs are supposed to have in common or why they are supposed to hang together in the order indicated by the chapter numbers - as far as I can tell they are not really musically connected. However, these songs are by and large the very best songs from those first four albums and they do work very well in this running order. I certainly enjoy this live album more than any of those early studio albums that were rather weak in my opinion.

Interestingly, Saga once again picked up this tradition in 1999 (almost 20 years later) on the appropriately titled Full Circle album and they continued on the albums House Of Cards and Marathon adding up to a further eight chapters of 'the saga'. The second disc of this live set consists of these more recent songs, once again rearranged according to the chapter numbers in the song titles. So here we have the entire 'saga'. As I said, it is hard to tell why these songs are supposed to fit together in this way, or if they planned to do something like this live album all along. But it sure is a nice cross section of the band's early and more recent output.

I am not really a Saga fan and my favourite album by them - the excellent Generation 13 - does not have any tracks on it that form part of The Chapters song cycle, but still I think that this live album is a nice way to discover Saga. The Chapters Live is certainly not even close to the high quality of Generation 13, but the music featured here is definitely more representative of the band's career and their typical sound. This typical sound actually did not change very much over the years and even though these songs span the years 1978 to 2003, they sound pretty much like they were all written at the same time! Saga really has a distinctive sound that can become a bit tedious after too much exposure at one time, but they certainly have their moments.

By no means excellent, but surely a nice addition to any Prog collection and in many ways preferable to the studio albums from which the first eight songs here were taken.

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#240605)
Posted Sunday, September 20, 2009 | Review Permalink

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