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Arena Radiance album cover
2.70 | 30 ratings | 4 reviews | 10% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, released in 2003

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. (Don't Forget to) Breathe (3:54)
2. A State of Grace (3:31)
3. An Angel Falls (1:13)
4. Spectre at the Feast (5:51)
5. Skin Game (4:07)
6. Bitter Harvest (2:42)
7. The City of Lanterns (1:46)
8. Mea Culpa (3:42)
9. Ascension (4:15)
10. Crying for Help IV (3:41)
11. The Butterfly Man (7:49)
12. Jericho (7:54)
13. Crying for Help VII (3:44)

Total Time: 54:14

Line-up / Musicians

- Clive Nolan / keyboards, backing vocals
- Mick Pointer / drums
- Rob Sowden / vocals
- John Mitchell / guitars, backing vocals
- Ian Salmon / bass

Releases information

The Cage #CAGECD04

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to tony r for the last updates
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ARENA Radiance ratings distribution

(30 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(10%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(23%)
Good, but non-essential (37%)
Collectors/fans only (23%)
Poor. Only for completionists (7%)

ARENA Radiance reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars I have never been into acoustic sets. So, it is with a bit of scepticism that I discovered "Radiance" a live acoustic set recorded at the mythical hall "De Boerderij" in Zoetermeer (The Netherlands). Arena is virtually at home there. It is not bad an album but the grandeur and might of the band is leaving the place to a more intimate and softer approach.

Both opening numbers "Breathe" and "A State Of Grace" come out from "The visitor" and are a good intro to this album.

Seven songs from their last studio album are featured : "An Angels Falls", "Spectre At The Feast" which is one of the best interpretation. "Skin Game", "Bitter Harvest", "The City Of Lanterns", "Mea Culpa" and "Ascension". They will be played in a row, to form a unity. Since there are some cuts in the recording, I guess that the full album was played that night (it makes sense actually) but was maybe a bit too much to put onto a record.

Some very old numbers to finish the set : "Crying IV and VII", "Jericho" as well as a more recent one from "Immortal ?" which features great piano from Clive : "The Butterfly Man". This is another highlight.

At the end of the song, the band will revert to "Crying For Help" asking the audience to "save" them as usual. The band will even stop playing with an hilarant passage; very funny. These really make these live performances very human. They are making fun one of each other, being really to difficult for Rob to concentrate.

During the intro of the first "Crying", we can feel that the trio has really having fun to do this exercise. The first part of "Jericho" is again very pleasant, while the end is as good as an acoustic version can get but a bit weaker than the original. Still another nice Arena acoustic moment with a good audience reaction.

The last encore will be introduced by ... the audience while the band will take it over with the traditional audience participation.

Two stars for this one as only die-hard fans can be interested in this effort (but I guess that it was intended for them, right ?). There are IMO no better version of an Arena song than the electric one. Arena fans will not need to wait for long to get the full electric live album that supported "Contagion". Soon, they'll get "Live & Life", but this is another story.

Review by VianaProghead
3 stars Review Nš 399

"Radiance" is an EP of Arena and was released in 2003. It's usual that Arena release special fan club albums. There have been released three so far, "Welcome Back! To The Stage" released in 1997, "The Visitor (Revisited)" released in 1999 and "Unlocking The Cage ? 1995-2000" released in 2001, containing demos, live recordings and acoustic versions of the songs. The latest releases are called "Radiance" and contains about fifty minutes of acoustic live material from several albums. It was recorded at the mythical hall De Boerderij, in Zoetermeer, in Netherlands, on 7th November 2002.

The artwork of the EP is very nice with a painting of the "Contagion" virus spreading over a dying earth. It was made by the same artist that designed the "Contagion" artwork. The sparse four pages of the booklet includes full credits and some few liner notes by Clive Nolan in which he tells us how special this acoustic live performance meant to him.

The line up on the EP is Rob Sowden (vocals), John Mitchell (backing vocals and acoustic guitars) and Clive Nolan (backing vocals and keyboards).

"Radiance" has thirteen tracks. The first track "(Don't Forget To) Breathe" was originally released on their third studio album "The Visitor". The second track "A State Of Grace" was also originally released on "The Visitor". The third track "An Angel Falls" was originally released on their fifth studio album "Contagion". The fourth track "Spectre At The Feast" was also originally released on "Contagion". The fifth track "Skin Game" was also originally released on "Contagion". The sixth track "Bitter Harvest" was also originally released on "Contagion". The seventh track "The City Of Lanterns" was also originally released on "Contagion". The eighth track "Mea Culpa" was also originally released on "Contagion". The ninth track "Ascension" was also originally released on "Contagion". The tenth track "Crying For Help IV" was originally released on their debut studio album "Sons From The Lion's Cage". The eleventh track "The Butterfly Man" was originally released on their fourth studio album "Immortal?". The twelfth track "Jericho" was also originally released on "Sons From The Lion's Cage". The thirteenth and last track "Crying For Help VII" was originally released on their second studio album "Pride".

So, the acoustic live set of "Radiance" has two beginning tracks that belong to "The Visitor", seven tracks in the middle that belong to "Contagion" and the four last tracks that belong to their first two studio albums, "Sons From The Lion's Cage" and "Pride", and one track from "Immortal?". So, naturally the highlights of the set are the 7 songs that belong to their latest studio album "Contagion", at the time. However, "Contagion" hadn't been released yet. This 23 minute sneak preview of the album works exceptionally well in an acoustic format, especially considering the heavy sound of the studio versions of some of these songs. In these songs it became particularly obvious how much the "Contagion" material leans on Rob Sowden's vocal performance. The same goes to "TheButterfly Man" from the "Immortal?" album. In general, I think the live set works very well. Probably we can say that the seven songs from "Contagion" works better maybe because its original versions are also performed by Rob Sowden. The same goes to "The Butterfly Man". However, "The Butterfly Man" ends in a bit of chaos, but this is more of a hilarious moment than a spoiler. About the other songs, the songs that don't belong to "Contagion", I think all works well enough. Of course some songs lose some strength without bass and drums but they still sound nice to me. All in all, these songs are great from themselves, no matter the way in which they're performed. For instance, the set closes with the audience starting the "Heeeeeeeelp me!" of "Crying for Help VII", which is quickly picked up by the threesome and performed wonderfully.

Conclusion: In the first place, I must confess that I always was a great fan of acoustic live sets. I always have the feeling that on the acoustic live performances the music is more simple and pure than on normal electric live shows. We may say that on an acoustic live show the artists have no tricks in their sleeves. Making a comparatively allusion with the circus performers, we may say that on a live acoustic set an artist works without his safety net. Coming back to this EP, we can say that "Radiance" shows a very good live performance and where Arena is at times brilliant. I like particularly of the vocal performance of Rob Sowden. As all we know it isn't easy to sing only with some acoustic instrumental support. And even more difficult is when the band is doing some fun moments which creates to Rob a very difficult moment to concentrate. This is probably the reason why we can felt that Rob Sowden's performance does fail several times during the pre-Sowden songs. He has some problems performing the up-tempo on some of the songs. Thus, due to some concentration failures and because Rob seems a bit tired on some parts and does get out of tune sometimes, that makes that some songs doesn't sound as harmonious as they should sound. In my opinion, this acoustic format works well, especially considering the very heavy sound of the studio versions of some of these songs.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Latest members reviews

3 stars This album is a sort of continuation of their previous accoustic set on The Visitor revisited, I got both albums simultaniously, so the connection is easily made, This set is based mostly on the Contagion album, with some songs from the other albums that preceded that. Again the songs are goo ... (read more)

Report this review (#95403) | Posted by tuxon | Sunday, October 22, 2006 | Review Permanlink

2 stars This is a relatively ok album, but I'd say its for die-hard Arena fans only. Only piano, guitar and lyrics on this one, a purely acoustic album. Mitchell's guitar is pretty clean and sounds good and Nolan's keys are as always impeccable; but I think our main man Rob sounds a bit tired on parts ... (read more)

Report this review (#24152) | Posted by laucha_zombie | Thursday, January 13, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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