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ALIVE 1990

Curved Air

Eclectic Prog

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Curved Air Alive 1990  album cover
3.52 | 13 ratings | 4 reviews | 8% 5 stars

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Live, released in 2000

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Twenty Years On - Intro (4:11)
2. It Happened Today (5:31)
3. Stretch (4:20)
4. Hide And Seek (7:02)
5. Marie Antoinette (7:05)
6. Melinda (More Or Less) (4:14)
7. Situations (5:43)
8. Young Mother (7:09)
9. You Know (3:34)
10. propositions (5:15)
11. Vivaldi (10:00)
12. Everdance (4:16)
13. Back Street Luv (4:26)

Total Time: 72:58

Line-up / Musicians

- Sonja Kristina / vocals, acoustic guitar
- Francis Monkman / guitars, keyboards, sequencers
- Florian Pilkington-Miksa / drums, percussion
- Darryl Way / violin, keyboards

Special Guest:
- Rob Martin / bass on "Vivaldi"

Releases information

Mystic Records #MYS CD 141
Re published by Membran Music Ltd (Noble Price series) with the title "Live 1990" and total different artwork in 2005 (223174-205)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to mandrakeroot for the last updates
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CURVED AIR Alive 1990 ratings distribution

(13 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(8%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(54%)
Good, but non-essential (31%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

CURVED AIR Alive 1990 reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by erik neuteboom
4 stars What's the connection between the next musicians: Eddie Jobson, Stewart Copeland, Ian Mosley and John Etheridge? Well , the all were members from the legendary Curved Air! Here's the classic line up featuring Sonja Kristina, Francis Monkman, Florian Pilkington- Miksa, Darryl Way and special guest Rob Martin (bass on "Vivaldi"), sixteen years after they had played together for the last time. The music from Curved Air is eccentric progrock, not really in the vein of ELP, Yes, King Crimson, Gentle Giant or Pink Floyd. Apart from the first track "Twenty years on" (biting wah-wah guitar) the sound quality is good. During the other 12 songs Curved Air showcases their unique sound and great skills: powerful vocals and great electric violin play in "It happened today", a swinging rhythm and rock & roll with again wah-wah drenched guitar and powerful vocals in "Stretch", rock & roll meets classic in "Hide and seek", a beautiful folky climate in "Melinda" (Jobson-like violin and acoustic guitar), more Jobson-like violin and exciting keyboards in "Young mother", great interplay between electric violin and electric guitar and a long violin improvisation (including a Four Seasons interpretation) in a 10 minutes version of "Vivaldi" and a catchy rhythm featuring haunting vocals and sparklin keyboards in "Everdance". This reunion gig prooves what a great (often overlooked) progrock band Curved Air was. THIS CD IS A GOOD START TO DISCOVER THEM!
Review by kev rowland
3 stars As may be guessed from the title, this was a reunion album from 1990. It was sixteen years since they had played together, but this CD captures Sonja Kristina, Darryl Way, Francis Monkman and Florian Pilkington-Miksa in full flight. Original bassist Rob Martin even makes a guest appearance on "Vivaldi". This is definitely a case of give the crowd what they want, with the songs coming from the first three Curved Air albums. They close with "Back Street Luv", and it is almost a shame that this is the song that most people know them for, as I have always felt that "Melinda (More Or Less)" is the highlight, although the ten-minute long "Vivaldi" is also a classic. If you are a fan then this is an album that you cannot live without. They had a sound all of their own, and while it does sound dated, it is still an album that I enjoyed hearing.

Feedback #60, Oct 2000

Review by Slartibartfast
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam
4 stars It happened when?

There are a couple of mysteries about this album. Hmm, Curved Air, band of mysteries. The first one comes with the CD booklet. My version shows a ceiling fan and a patch in the lower right corner with a fighter plane that says "Live 1990" at the top and "the HIDE & SEEK tour '99" at the bottom. Well, the liner notes really clear things up seeing as how there are no liner notes. Not even any credits for the band. So I pop it in and to my horror, it's a really crappy bootleg. The first track is called Twenty Years On. It's the only track that isn't from the past. Might actually be cool except for the crappy sound quality. Then, it breaks into It Happened Today, and I am about to shut it off and go listen to something else when it finally slides quickly into a respectable sound quality for a live recording. Mystery number two is did they not get the tape running soon enough and then have to patch the beginning with something taken from a bootleg?

Well, whenever or wherever or whatever it happened, it happened to go quite well. The quality of the recording and the performance for the rest of the show is quite good. These songs don't sound as old as their age.

As best as I've been able to find out, it's a reunion of most of the first lineup of the band. To be certain the presence of a few key members is obvious. Sonja Kristina is in excellent form. I'm surprised that someone who sings with such a strong vocal style still sings so well after a few years, if not better than she did in the past. Darryl Way's violin playing has only gotten finer over the years and together they both breathe new life into these songs. I haven't seen Francis Monkman doing anything post Sky, he certainly takes advantage of the new keyboard technology, which again helps give these old tunes a new feel.

I feel the need to say something nice about the other musicians as well. Curved Air's first drummer , Florian Pilkington-Miksa is back. I'm not aware of him doing any projects post CA. Certainly have no complaints about his performance here. Who's playing bass is anybody's guess. I see a credit for Rob Martin playing bass on Vivaldi on this site and that's it.

I haven't heard the live at the BBC Curved Air concert(s) CD, but I do have the Live from 1975 (performed in December 1974, I know this thanks to good liner notes, are you actually trying to sell the damn thing?, I think we all know the answer...). This one's much better despite its flaws, and not a bad assortment of selections from their first three studio albums, to boot.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
3 stars Twenty years on...

This live album was recorded in 1990 when Curved Air briefly reunited. The line-up included original members Francis Monkman, Darryl Way, Florian Pilkington-Miksa and Sonja Kristina, and the set list draws (with only one exception) exclusively from the band's three first studio albums. No less than six songs from the 1970 debut album Air-Conditioning are performed, four songs from 1971's Second Album, and two from 1972's Phantasmagoria. Hence, there is a heavy focus on the earliest days of the band's career. This decision was natural given the people involved since from 1973's Air Cut onwards there were major personnel changes in the band.

The sole exception mentioned above is the opening track Twenty Years On which I can only assume was written around the time of this live recording and is to my knowledge not available in a studio version. Sadly, the sound quality on this one track is far below the rest of the tracks! So, when you hear this live album for the first time don't be fooled into thinking that it all sounds as rough as this first track. The other tracks mostly have an acceptable sound, although there are some problems in a few places most notably at the very beginning of the second track. The show itself is of very high quality and had the recording been perfect no doubt I would give this live album a higher rating. As it stands, Alive 1990 is an enjoyable but somewhat rough live document by a great band.

The more recent Live Atmosphere offers many of the same songs in better versions, but Alive 1990 is a good addition in its own right despite some minor technical flaws

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