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Pendragon Concerto Maximo album cover
4.03 | 100 ratings | 4 reviews | 52% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Live, released in 2009

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD 1
1. Walls of Babylon
2. A Man of Nomadic Traits
3. Wishing Well
4. Eraserhead
5. Total Recall
6. Nostradamus
7. Learning Curve
8. Breaking the Spell
9. Sister Bluebird

CD 2
1. Shadow
2. The Freak Show
3. The Voyager
4. It's Only Me
5. Masters of Illusion
6. King of the Castle
7. And We'll Go Hunting Deer
8. Queen of Hearts

Line-up / Musicians

- Nick Barrett / vocals, guitars
- Peter Gee / bass, keys, bass pedals
- Clive Nolan / keyboards
- Scott Higham / drums, percussion

Releases information

Recorded at Teatr Slaski im. Stanislawa Wyspianskiego, Katowice, Poland, October 13th 2008 as a part of Pendragon 30th Anniversary Tour

2CD Metal Mind Productions mass cd 1262 dgd (2009, Poland, Limeted Edition of 1000 copies)

Thanks to wilcey for the addition
and to NotAProghead for the last updates
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PENDRAGON Concerto Maximo ratings distribution

(100 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(52%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(33%)
Good, but non-essential (12%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

PENDRAGON Concerto Maximo reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Pendragon is one of the major forces in progressive rock scene especially in the second generation of progrock after punk and new wave hit the music industry in late 70s until early 80s. The root of its music is on the symphonic prog but in a simplified form or typically called as neo-progressive music. The key characteristic of bands in this subgenre is the heavy use of keyboard combined with guitar solo in the vein of Steve Hackett (Genesis) or David Gilmour (Pink Floyd). I remember vividly how I listened to their debut album 'The Jewel' (1985) for the first time after I was so deep in love with Marillion's first two albums 'Script for A Jester's Tear' (1983) and 'Fugazi' (1984). Yeah, talking about neoprogressive music we cannot neglect the existence of Marillion, Pallas and IQ because these four bands were born almost at the same time in early 80s. While the other three bands focused on the song orientated music with catchy tagline melody, Pendragon focused heavily on guitar solo in its interlude combined with the keyboard solo. Guitar and keyboard are the key ingredients of Pendragon music while (in my opinion) most of Pendragon's musical composition are lacking in 'catchy' melody. That's why I have never been a great fan of Pendragon compared to the other three especially Marillion ? Fish era.

It seemed like 2008 was a an important year for Pendragon in their musical career as they celebrated their 30th Anniversary, on the 13th October they played the Slaski Theatre in Katowice, Poland. It was titled as 'Pure Tour' to promote their new album released in the same year. Unfortunately only three tracks from the new album were played in that gig due to time limit for the band to do the rehearsal.

For me personally I was quite impressed with the fact that the gig was well performed and excellently recorded into CD and DVD version. By the time I am writing this I have not seen the DVD yet. I am quite impressed with this live CD and some songs that I actually do not favor quite well, they sound good here. To be more specific, I'd rather like disc one compared to disc 2 because some songs on disc2 are quite poppy and bit boring to my ears.

Overall, this live CD is quite good for those who like neoprog with stunning guitar solo by Barrett and keyboard solo by Nolan. Keep on proggin' ?!

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Like the good wine....They get better with age

Normally Prog bands have a long live (If they don't split because of their own ego), but usually they reach the peak soon and live of past glories, presenting excellent concerts with several changes in the lineup because clue members leave in pursue of a solo career.

This is not the case of PENGRAGON, since their second album they had a stable lineup, in 1996 (Something unusual with Clive Nolan working in so many bands and personal projects) they reach their peak with "Masquerade Overture" and when I believed everything was downhill, they kept the quality for 18 years more. In 2006 they release the good but uneven "Believe" and the next year their iconic drummer "Fudge Smith" leaves.

Again I thought the story was over, but they surprised in 2008 with the outstanding "Pure" and in 2009 with their definitive live album "Concerto Maximo", recorded in Poland for their 30 Anniversary.

Won't talk about the DVD, because it deserves a separate review, I'm here to write about the double CD. So let's start with the quality saying it's flawless, the selection of tracks has been done with care, presenting a balanced set with no weeks moments and representing their long and fertile career.

But the most important issue on a live album is the performance, incredibly this guys sound better as the years go by, Nick's voice is as peculiar as always, (you like it or not), but his guitar is simply impeccable, he has gained strength and accuracy, the best example of this can be found at "Masters of Illusion".

Clive Nolan makes one of his usual displays of quality with incredible solos and team work, being his best moments in the frenetic solo of "A Man with Nomadic Train", in which he plays in the best style of Rick Wakeman but with a modern sound, and of course the delicate Mellotron "A la Genesis" in the sweet and delightful "The King of the Castle".

Peter Gee, is strong and accurate, his best moment is in the closer "Queen of Hearts", but more important than his personal achievements is the interplay with the surprising "Scott Higham", who doesn't sound like the new kid in a band that has played for 3 decades, the guy is precise and extremely loud, what enhances the listening experience, the rhythm section works as if they had been together for decades and not only for a couple of years.

Not much more to say aboutt he tracks, because all are well known and reviewed repeatedly on the studio albums, so will go directly with the rating that has to be not lower than 4 stars.

If PENDRAGON keeps in this level, I'm sure we will listen from them for a long time, and this are good news.

Review by Warthur
3 stars Concerto Maximo captures a Pendragon concert in Poland - where they've enjoyed strong support since the early 1990s, and so could be assured of a friendly crowd - which happened hot on the heels of the release of Pure. So fresh was the Pure material, in fact, that despite wanting to play Indigo the band decided to leave it off the set this time because they simply hadn't had time to rehearse a live performance of it.

Still, the new album is well-represented by Eraserhead, Freak Show, and It's Only Me: the real question here is how the Pure cuts end up slotting in alongside earlier material, given the shift in sound that album presented. As it happens, it works out fine. It helps that this is new drummer Scott Higham's first live album with the band, and his more forceful style already helps give a new twist to the old songs, and the band show good taste in where to tweak their older material to better fit the new style (the version of Walls of Babylon here teases out a disquiet not evident in the original, for instance) and where to keep things true to their former approach (The Voyager being a good example of the latter).

The end result is a set which skillfully interweaves old and new material to more clearly reveal the Pure material as an evolution of what came before, and to tease something new out of the well-worn songs. With each studio album from as far back as Kowtow represented, plus a deep cut in the form of Sister Bluebird from the Fallen Dreams and Angels EP, it packs in a wide variety of material, and with a running time of some two and a half hours you get a nice substantial concert for your money. Indeed, it feels a little long - had it been trimmed back a bit more you'd have an amazing two hours here, but I find myself flagging partway through.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Concert dvds are a mixed bag, I have several that have barely had a listen. A few years ago I purchased "Score" by Dream Theater and it got plenty of plays until I tired of the dying in hospital drug theme, which detracts a little from the emotional highs of their music. But now a concert to su ... (read more)

Report this review (#236236) | Posted by drg55 | Tuesday, September 1, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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