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The Flower Kings

Symphonic Prog

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The Flower Kings Meet The Flower Kings - Live Recording 2003 album cover
4.43 | 211 ratings | 13 reviews | 50% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
progressive rock music

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Live, released in 2003

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD 1 (75:47)
1. The Truth Will Set You Free (31:20)
2. Garden of Dreams Pt. 1 (27:07)
3. Garden of Dreams Pt. 2 (17:20)

CD 2 (77:06)
1. Humanizzimo (23:10)
2. Circus Brimstone (11:18)
3. Silent Inferno (16:13)
4. Stardust We Are (26:25)

Total Time 152:53

Line-up / Musicians

- Roine Stolt / guitars, lead vocals, producing & mixing & mastering
- Hasse Fröberg / guitars, lead vocals
- Daniel Gildenlöw / guitars, backing vocals, keyboards, percussion
- Tomas Bodin / keyboards
- Jonas Reingold / bass, bass pedals
- Zoltan Csörsz / drums
- Hasse Bruniusson / percussion, voices

Releases information

Recorded Live at the Stadsteater, Upsalla, Sweden on 10th February, 2003

ArtWork: Jan Ternald

2CD Inside Out - IOMCD 142 (2003)

Also released on DVD, and in a limited box set containing 2 DVDs and 2 CDs (included in under DVD)

Thanks to Angelo for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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THE FLOWER KINGS Meet The Flower Kings - Live Recording 2003 ratings distribution

(211 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(50%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(39%)
Good, but non-essential (10%)
Collectors/fans only (1%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

THE FLOWER KINGS Meet The Flower Kings - Live Recording 2003 reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by ZowieZiggy
4 stars With the shortest track clocking at over eleven minutes, be ready for extremely long pieces of music from TFK. One of their all- time best is the opener of this double CD set (combined with two DVD's for the special edition). This review takes only the audio part into consideration.

"The Truth Will Set You Free" is one of my three favourite TFK song so far. I have discovered this live version first and I have been in love with it since the very first time I have been listening to it. And since then, I have given it an impressive number of spins. When TFK meets Yes has always been a pleasure for my ears. Extremely beautiful vocal harmonies, superb guitar work rom Roine, complex rhythms and great drumming. Those are the ingredients for this true prog epic. I am not a devoted TFK maniac but when I like them, I really do so, no compromise really.

The next song has been split into two parts and the whole has been shortened by almost fifteen minutes. I must say that this treatment plus the fact that some boring passages seem to have been cut off the original and are replaced by interesting improv, I can only be pleased witht this rendition of "Garden Of Dreams". It still clocks at over forty-four minutes but it is far much better in this version than in its original form.

TFK goes on with "Humanizzimo". A song featured on Roine's solo album "The Flower Kings" released in 1994. It is a 100% Flower Kings song. Another epic (over twenty-three minutes in this format). It was also love at first sight. Almost the same atmosphere as for "Truth". Catchy melodies, nice keys and guitar. Sometimes spacey, sometimes improv (but not too much).

"Circus Brimstone" was featured on the album "Stardust We Are". It is the "shortest" piece of music you'll find on this album. Clocking at a mere eleven minutes ! The long intro seems pure improvisation and is definitely KC oriented. Almost the whole track will remain in these territories. Of course, besides Yes, the other major source of inspiration for TFK is KC, so it is only normal to have a song which fully reminds us this band. The last four minutes though are pure symphony mixed with a very powerful finale. A good track again.

"Silent Inferno" comes from the "Unfold The Future" sessions (this tour is supporting this album so no wonder here). It was one of the best song of the studio album and is more than welcome on this live work. A bit more extended here (about two additional minutes), this version is very pleasant. Another truely TFK song dominated by the Yes influence (which is how I prefer them by far). The guitar work is extremely well performed and this number is a highlight of this live set. Just behind "The Truth...".

The long "Stardust..." could not really convinced me while I was reviewing the studio album. I have the same feeling about this live version. A bit too long to be interesting during its whole lenght, this is still a pleasant composition.

TFK have made an excellent choice of tracks for this recording. This double album is an excellent alternative to their studio work which is often a bit too "short" (in quality, not in lenght of course). It is my favourite TFK live album so far. Four stars.

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Not bad......this being my first introduction to The Flower Kings. It is a strongly delivered live album ( CD version ), great cover and I was impressed also by the length of tracks especially as a live presentation.I do find they are highly gifted musicians especially Stolt, Gildenlow and Bodin, yet something inside me tells after repeated listens that their is an underlying hint of Yes and Genesis and even possibly Pink Floyd in parts. It is not necessarily a bad thing for bands to be heavily influenced by these great groups but in essence I do feel the musical composition therefore slips up as there is no doubt a '' Been there, worn the T- Shirt" type feel to the album.

It is very complex in parts which gives an even greater proggy feel to their music. Roine Stolts vocals are not totally strong but he does carry it off overall. ' Garden of Dreams part 1 ' for me is the high point on this album but ' part 2 'is also good as is the opener ' The Truth Will Set You Free'. I have not got the DVD version so I cannot speak for the visuals and other tracks. Again a good album but that is as far as it goes.

Review by darkshade
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The Flower Kings play some of their best epics that they had written up to this point (2003), and I must say, this record blew me away the first time I heard it, and still blows me away. I would argue that most of the material here is superior to their studio counterparts, as the energy level on some tracks is much higher, and there is a level of spontaneity, along with some jamming and improvisation. Not to mention the best TFK rhythm section of Jonas Reingold on bass and Zoltan Czorsz on drums playing the older material like Garden of Dreams, Humanizzimo, and Stardust We Are.

While it is necessary to hear the studio versions first so that you can tell what changes were made on these live versions (such as Garden of Dreams being edited down, but with added jams), if this is your first Flower Kings venture, you can't really go wrong. The band is known for the highest quality epics, some of their strongest material is held within these monster pieces of music. It's also nice to have Daniel Gildenlow as a member of the band here, as his voice adds nice color to the already colorful music. Having 3 lead vocalists in the band was a very great thing and it's unfortunate Daniel left.

Anyway, any TFK fan will look at this track list scream for joy. This should be an auto-buy for any TFK fan, or fans of symphonic prog of the highest order. The sound quality is perfect, and at times I feel like I'm listening to a studio album. Not every live album is worthy of 5 stars, most aren't; but this is an essential Flower Kings album, live or studio. You won't be disappointed.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
4 stars This is a CD rendition of their excellent first DVD, Meet The Flower Kings, released in 2003. I was always impressed by the images of the band playing their epics, some of them exceeding the 30 minute, and still they played with such ease and confidence you think they are actually mimicking to a CD. Not the case, of course, but very impressive. The DVD was always on my top ten videos of all time in my collection.

The CD on the other side, impressed me less,of course. It does have its merits and although Garden Of Dreams has some fourteen minutes less than the original studio version (and it still leaves 46 minutes of music!) , this live rendition of the suite is actually slightly stronger and better than the one we have on Flower Power. I never really liked the chaotic and - at least most of it - pointless avant guard noodling of Circus Brimstone. Like the video, I wish they had included a couple of "shorter" songs instead or chose another epic in its place. They had plenty of them! I loved their version of Humanizzimo: this track actually came from Roine Stolt solo album The Flower King (which, for several people - me included - is really TFK´s first CD).

I must say I enjoy this CD because for a live recording, they had the good idea of playing some of their strongest (and longest) compositions in full (The Truth Will Set You Free and Stardust We Are) and I doubt if they ever will do that in future concerts. And it´s a great pleasure to listen to those long epics all played together in the same album (save for Circus Brimstone, but nothing is perfect). The flower Kings is definitely the most important symphonic prog band to appear since the 70´s heyday. I love you, guys!

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars I will always connect THE FLOWER KINGS with SPOCK'S BEARD because when I discovered this style of music in the early 00's it was those two bands that kept popping up. The former reminds me more of YES while the latter more like the more melancholic GENESIS. I prefer the BEARD like I prefer GENESIS but that early period of THE FLOWER KINGS resonates with me from 1994 and Roine Stolt's "The Flower King" to "Back In The World Of Adventures" to "Stardust We Are" to "Flower Power" and "Unfold The Future". Those five I've kept around and this double live album is a nice edition to those considering it was recorded in February of 2003 in Upsalla Sweden. And it's all epics! Man is there anyone as prolific as Stolt when it comes to song writing? This is the classic lineup as well with Stolt, Gildenlow, Froberg, Bodin, Reingold, Csorsz and Bruniusson.

Of course both discs are packed with over 75 minutes each, no surprise there but only seven songs. Some monsters like the two part "Garden Of Dreams" from "Flower Power" at a combined 44 1/2 minutes. Or the 26 1/2 minute closer on disc two "Stardust We Are" from the same album plus we get "Circus Brimstone" from that album also on disc two and that's my favourite of all the tunes here. Love the lyrics on "Humanizzime" from "The Flower King" also on disc two with the only track left from that disc being "Silent Inferno" from "Unfold The Future" which also is where the opener from disc one comes from in "The Truth Will Set You Free". A lot of music here but again I've come to expect this with THE FLOWER KINGS and if your like me and prefer their early stuff then check out this recording which also comes in a DVD which I don't have.

Review by Dapper~Blueberries
5 stars I have for a long while felt admiration for The Flower Kings and their music. They are one of if not the best Modern day progressive rock band in the modern day with their eccentric uses of rock music and symphonic, almost classical like music. Their albums have always been a source of drive for me this year, and so far I have heard 6 of their studio albums, and they were all spectacular, if not really interesting and idiosyncratic. They are so joyful in how they play, especially with their best elements, their suites. A lot of their albums have these 20+ minute epics that are as magical as the rest of the songs on the albums. They clearly show the magic the band breeds out with their songs, and their voluminous form of playing and experimentation. They clearly love making them with them happening so much. So this had me thinking on what could make them even better than their already epic nature on their studio releases. The obvious answer is them being played live in a concert, after all classical suites have been a good source for concert halls, and that is no different for other progressive rock bands, so I was very excited before hearing this live album, and my god is it good.

When I say good, I mean good. Every track here is played at a very perfect quality to where I'd say they are just as enjoyable as their studio counterparts. Even moreso, they feel like they are having a great time while playing, especially with songs like The Truth Will Set You Free, Humanizzimo, and Stardust We Are. Their playing sounds energetic, even on the slower parts, and Roine Stolt's vocals are so beautiful and filled with passion I cannot help but fall in love with them. Speaking of Roine Stolt, I love how they played on of his songs on one of his old albums, while I haven't checked out any of his works, this album gets me interested in checking them out. I should probably add that they are called epics for a reason, because my god are they epic. They just have such a giant and bombastic sound to them, almost like the band has become an orchestra, even though they are just 5 guys. The beginnings to these songs pump you up so good (Jesus that sounds wrong) and the ends give you such an amazing climatic finish, they are just too beautiful to be under appreciated. I especially like The Truth With Set You Free, this 31 minute suite is such a great way at starting this amazing live performance since it showcases perfectly how the band can come together and make something so fully formed and realized. It is honestly some of the best progressive, if not music in general I have ever heard.

Now there are some critiques. For one, the tracks are long. Personally I really love these long tracks but I can understand how they could be exhausting to some, especially when they happen one after another. The next big suite after another can get tiring, heck sometimes I feel a little worn out after hearing so many during my day. Another thing is that it's not really for everyone. This goes with most progressive rock or heck most alternative music in general but this feels a bit more skewed in favor of more experienced progressive fans who has heard stuff similar to this before but less ginormous in scale, and moreover, this is 2 hours long, which isn't a lot, god knows there are albums longer, but still it's fairly long for even a live album, which can become a bit of a detriment to anyone really, but these are very minor issues that don't out way this amazing album.

I'll just say, this is a masterpiece. The suites are so epic and beautiful, the band sounds so energetic and lively, and best of all it doesn't waste your time, but it has a bit of a weak replay value due to how long it is and since suites can get a little tiring, but this is still incredible and I highly recommend checking it out.

Review by Warthur
5 stars By the early 2000s The Flower Kings were developing a reputation as The Prog Band Who Doesn't Leave Anything On The Cutting Room Floor - regularly putting out sprawling double-CD albums which crammed as much music as possible onto both discs. Whilst these albums would usually offer you over 2 hours of good music, a little trimming could have dialed most of them back to 90 or so minutes of great music, and I personally thought Unfold The Future took the schtick too far, a slightly forced attempt to go back to that Stardust We Are/Flower Power model after two albums which managed to be pretty good and restrict themselves to a single disc each. (Indeed, I think their best studio album of their 1995-2002 run was The Rainmaker, one of those single-CD affairs.)

So it was some trepidation that I listened to Meet The Flower Kings - a live album with over 2 and a half hours of music, and focused solely on Flower Kings epics - the shortest song here being an over 10 minute rendition of Circus Brimstone from Stardust We Are. A good cross-section of the band's albums are represented - the full half-hour Truth Shall Set You Free is here from Unfold The Future, as is Silent Inferno, the title track from Stardust We Are rounds off the set, you get Humanizzimo from Roine Stolt's The Flower King solo album, and there's a rendition of Garden of Dreams from Flower Power which trims back its epic hour-long length into a comparatively tight 44 minutes.

It's that last point which gave me a sliver of hope - clearly, the Kings were actually willing to trim back the filler, and that's part of what makes this live album such a treat. The other is that the band are both talented enough to pull off these marathon tracks in a live context and manage to inject them with a verve which was sometimes missing from the studio versions. The Unfold the Future material particularly benefits here - they sound like they are actually enjoying themselves, there's a warmth here that was a little missing from that slightly sterile album, and in general it just seems to have a little extra spark to it that the Unfold the Future version was missing.

Sure, it's another 2CD feast, but when it's a live album with a carefully curated setlist that's much less of a burden than when it's a studio CD which is throwing in filler to pad out the length. Nicely, there is almost no overlap in terms of song selection with their previous 2CD live album, Alive On Planet Earth - the only song that appears on both is Stardust We Are, and on Alive On Planet Earth that's a 10 minute cut down version (essentially just part 3 of the whole package), not the full rendition we get here.

Once again I am left substantially more impressed with a live release from the Flower Kings than I was with some of their studio efforts. On the one hand, their talents as live musicians are a thing to applaud. On the other hand, that's more evidence that on their studio albums had a bad habit at this point of time of emphasising quantity over quality.

Latest members reviews

5 stars I honestly can't say much that already hasn't been said here. The number of five-star reviews and generally glowing outlook that many seem to have toward this album is, in my mind, totally justified. Simply put, this is an absolutely fantastic document. I own basically everything this band ha ... (read more)

Report this review (#1537631) | Posted by Mr. Gone | Wednesday, March 9, 2016 | Review Permanlink

5 stars My ALL-TIME Greatest #15 Now what do we have here? Oh yes, a double live in the old style! But this is just the outer physical form, don't be deluded, because when you get in you'll find yourself taken on a wondrous musical journey that will leave you a different person thereafter. That happ ... (read more)

Report this review (#1492499) | Posted by Quinino | Wednesday, November 25, 2015 | Review Permanlink

5 stars You ask me if this music is quality or quantity; I say both! The Flower Kings often plays long songs and here on this live record they play some of their best lengthy ones. I don't think this is a record for anyone and you won't appreciate it anytime, and especielly not the whole at one occati ... (read more)

Report this review (#1092282) | Posted by DrömmarenAdrian | Thursday, December 19, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars One of the best live albums that I know. The tracks selection es excellent, sound is awesome and the perfomance of every band member is fresh and with great lucidity, clarity. No need to detail every track; but I want emphasise the brightness of The truth will set you free, great song in which the ... (read more)

Report this review (#927273) | Posted by sinslice | Saturday, March 9, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This live album features some of The Flower King's best material live. Although some of the band members where sick from or recovering from the flu during the recording, the playing and singing is excellent. However, it is not a full live performance as they recorded the album in several takes over ... (read more)

Report this review (#440531) | Posted by Garden of Dreams | Friday, April 29, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The first time I heard The Flower Kings was when I brought the album Stardust We you can understand...son after that I brought all the albums and I followed them every since. I must say that I do not apreciate everything they make.....and all albums hasd some extremely good pieces and s ... (read more)

Report this review (#201783) | Posted by Daniel1974nl | Thursday, February 5, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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