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Mostly Autumn

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Mostly Autumn Still Beautiful - Live 2011 album cover
3.97 | 13 ratings | 1 reviews | 50% 5 stars

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Live, released in 2011

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD 1 (52:16)
1. Hold the Sun (5:46)
2. Deep in Borrowdale (6:06)
3. Something Better (3:39)
4. Forever Young (4:58)
5. Ice (8:23)
6. The Dark Before the Dawn (4:41)
7. The Last Climb (7:39)
8. Questioning Eyes (11:04)

CD 2 (68:34)
1. Heroes Never Die (12:22)
2. Distant Train (4:55)
3. Answer the Question (4:39)
4. Caught in a Fold (3:39)
5. Nowhere to Hide (4:22)
6. Go Well Diamond Heart (6:22)
7. Passengers (5:53)
8. First Thought (4:41)
9. For All We Shared (5:02)
10. Evergreen (8:32)
11. And When the War Is Over... (8:07)

Total Time 120:50

Line-up / Musicians

- Bryan Josh / lead vocals, lead & backing guitars, acoustic guitars
- Olivia Sparnenn / lead vocals, tambourine
- Iain Jennings / keyboards, piano, Hammond organ
- Anne-Marie Helder / vocals, flute, keyboards, acoustic guitar
- Liam Davison / electric & acoustic guitars, vocals
- Andy Smith / bass
- Gavin Griffiths / drums

Releases information

2CD Mostly Autumn Records AUT 0339 (2011)

Thanks to NotAProghead for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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MOSTLY AUTUMN Still Beautiful - Live 2011 ratings distribution

(13 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(50%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(33%)
Good, but non-essential (8%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (8%)

MOSTLY AUTUMN Still Beautiful - Live 2011 reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
4 stars Powerful, emotional performances in a stunning concert.

Mostly Autumn's "Still Beautiful Live 2011" is a full concert featuring the latest lineup and I have to admit, being a Heather Findlay fan, I was not sure what to expect here. Now that she has moved onto a solo career, Olivia Sparnenn, once backing singer, has taken over as lead vocalist. She is excellent of course and has improved since her initial work with the band. She has a sweet timbre in her voice and can reach the high notes with ease. Her dreamy voice permeates the songs and adds that beauty that always has been a drawcard to the band for me. On the other side we have the ever reliable Bryan Josh who always reminds me of Dave Gilmour's vocals. He is brilliant on lead guitar, and plays some soaring lead breaks that sound as good live as they do on the studio releases. On keyboards is Iain Jennings who I always admired on Mostly Autumn's albums. He injects just the right amount of ambience without getting in the way of the heavier passages. Anne-Marie Helder is another keyboardist and acoustic guitarist, but she is especially wonderful on flute, in particular on 'Dark Before the Dawn' from "The Last Bright Light" classic album.

The songs on the setlist are a fair selection from the extensive catalogue but focusses on "Passengers" and the latest. It begins rather quietly and patiently with 'Hold The Sun' from the 2010 "Go Well Diamond Heart", and holds back on heavier material until the 'The Dark Before The Dawn', definitely one of the highlights. There are a lot of songs from the latest album such as 'Something Better", "Forever Young" and "Ice".

The earlier Mostly Autumn was always my preference and there are a few choices here such as the mesmirising 'The Last Climb' from "Spirit of Autumn Past". The lyrics are always poetically conveyed; "Heavenly times, the world at your fingertips, Light purple dawn on a shadowless sky, In a place where the heroes swing hammers and axes". The flute is gorgeous on this song, and the cadence and feel is reminiscent of the dreamy Pink Floyd sound, a definite influence for the band. Josh's lead break is also glorious, with massive string bends and a lengthy emotional Gilmour-ian solo. This track is a real crowd pleaser, as they roar loudly and I suspect a standing ovation was occurring from all the noise.

'Questioning Eyes' from "Breathing Space" is the 11 minute track that ends CD1 and it is a treasure featuring Olivia's beautiful voice, and a gentle piano balancing the majestic passages of music. This is also on the setlist of the High Voltage concert. The lengthy instrumental at the end is incredible, soaring lead over a steady rhythm that gets faster. Josh really unleashes some amazing lead guitar flourishes that lift the music into the stratosphere. An awesome end to the first part of the concert and the crowd roar appreciation.

CD 2 begins with a dedication from Josh to a friend who "means the world to me and is on the verge of taking off, if you know what I mean". Thus begins 'Heroes Never Die', the legendary mini epic from "For All We Shared". The lead break at the intro over ambient key pads is transfixing. Josh and Olivia share the vocals and are as good as I have heard them on other live versions of the track. It really takes off at the end with a blistering lead break, one of the most emotional and heaviest I have heard from the group. This is a sensational performance deserved of an ovation.

'Distant Train', an entrancing instrumental from "Passengers" follows, and brings things down to a more tranquil atmosphere after the previous lead break. The flute again is angelic beauty, such a lovely nuance, and then the music builds reminding me of Pink Floyd's 'Empty Spaces'. This is stunning music that showcases the virtuoso musicians at their best.

'Answer The Question' also from "Passengers" follows with a heavier distorted guitar riff, and faster pace. Josh sounds great on vocals in the verses, a bit like Gilmour. The harmonies by the ladies of the band are a nice balance. 'Caught In A Fold' also from "Passengers" is next, a rockier song with Olivia showing she can sing rock as well as ballads. The flute is gorgeous on this with all the guitar riffs driving it along.

'Nowhere To Hide' from "For All We Shared" is a good choice for some early material. The harmonies are terrific from Josh, Helder and Olivia. Again Helder is masterful on flute, augmenting all the heaviness and giving the music a Renaissance flavour.

'Go Well Diamond Heart' from the latest album is an inevitable live track, and the music is atmospheric with reverb guitar twangs and gentle vocals. When the keyboards come in it sounds like The X Files, then Olivia chimes in with her golden tones. It builds with a strong keyboard phrase that is melodic and majestic. A stellar uplifting track that is one of the highlights of the concert.

'Passengers' the title track of the excellent 2003 release is one of my favourites and it was great to hear it live. It has a lulling piano and Olivia's gentle measured delivery with the unforgettable chorus, and it is followed by 'First Thought', also from that album. There are some nice lead breaks and uplifting melodies on these songs.

'For All We Shared', the title track of the debut release, and reimagined on "Go Well Diamond Heart" is another gem in the band's treasure chest. It was nice to hear Olivia sing this live as I was so used to Findlay. The music on this, the lead guitar in particular, is sensational; a genuine classic from the band.

'Evergreen' from "Spirit of Autumn Past" is a quintessential track and Olivia gives it just the right emotional resonance. Everyone in the crowd would sing along as it is perhaps the most well known MA song. Olivia injects her own interpretation of the heartfelt lyrics, and I like how she almost whispers some phrases. This song means a lot to the band as it was a huge hit for them and Findlay must have sung it on every concert. Josh does mention it was written with a special friend and we might assume he refers to Findlay. The lead solo is as powerful as always, a genuine measure of beauty, and this is really a very good rendition of an old favourite. The crowd express appreciation and roar with delight at the end, perhaps standing for this too.

'And When The War Is Over...' from "Go Well Diamond Heart" ends the show on a great atmosphere of layered keys and guitars. Olivia is dreamy on vocals, and she is soon joined by a reflective Josh in the chorus and some verses. A melancholy atmosphere is generated with the sad content, and this song says a lot about the current state of the world where "there is no one left to shoot", and "now the pain is over we can dance the night away." The lead break soars with string bends and emotive licks, lifting the emotion of the songs. This is a great way to end the concert, lifting up the crowd with emotional positive lyrics and musicianship.

Overall, this live CD is excellent and features some of their most beloved songs as well as some of the best lead guitar and flute work from the respective musicians. There is an enormous of material from 2003 "Passengers" which is interesting as very little appears from the albums following apart from the latest of course. However the setlist is one of the best, though it would have been nice to hear "Never The Rainbow" or other earlier material. The sound quality is superb, some of the songs are better than the studio versions, and the band are still able to bring forth very powerful emotional songs, even without Findlay. They have proved that they are able to continue for many years to come producing some of the greatest folk prog music on the planet.

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