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Renaissance Academy Of Music 1974 album cover
3.89 | 17 ratings | 4 reviews | 24% 5 stars

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Live, released in 2015

Songs / Tracks Listing

Disc 1
1. Can You Understand (11:45)
2. Black Flame (7:30)
3. Carpet Of The Sun (4:47)
4. Cold Is Being (3:35)
5. Things I Don't Understand (10:29)
6. Running Hard (10:47)

Disc 2
1. Ashes Are Burning (21:00)
2. Mother Russia (10:33)
3. Prologue (7:48)

Line-up / Musicians

- Annie Haslam / lead vocals
- Jon Camp / bass, vocals
- Michael Dunford / acoustic guitar, vocals
- Terrence Sullivan / drums, percussion, backing vocals
- John Tout / keyboards

Special Guests:

- Andy Powell (Wishbone Ash) / guitar on `Ashes are Burning'
- Howard Stein - piano

Releases information

Release date: March 31, 2015
Label: Cleopatra Records
Formats: CD & Digital

Thanks to progshine for the addition
and to Aussie-Byrd-Brother for the last updates
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RENAISSANCE Academy Of Music 1974 ratings distribution

(17 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(24%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(65%)
Good, but non-essential (6%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

RENAISSANCE Academy Of Music 1974 reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Despite the sad loss of long-time members Michael Dunford and John Tout, there has been a lot of activity and releases keeping symphonic progressive legends Renaissance in the spotlight over the recent years. Live concert DVD's of the band performing some of their classic Seventies albums in their entirety, Annie Haslam's vivid and imaginative art works, a new studio album from a reworked version of the band with `Grandine il Vento' in 2013, and archived recordings from the group in their prime being dusted off for a fresh release like this album. `Academy of Music 1974' is a double CD that showcases the band performing alongside a 24 piece orchestra from the 17th of May of that year, and they deliver a set of favourite tracks from the first three albums that featured Annie as the leading lady of the group.

Thankfully the orchestra only enhances the performances during this concert, never leading the way, overwhelming the band or stealing the attention away from the main musicians. Although the compositions don't differ too much from the studio versions, there's an added urgency to the playing and a livelier energy that long-time fans of the band will appreciate. Annie's voice is vibrant yet more relaxed and perfectly controlled, there's an added warmth to the acoustic guitars, and Jon Camp's thrashing upfront bass mixed thick and upfront is especially satisfying. Superior versions of `Ashes are Burning' (showcasing some wilder guitar soloing in the extended instrumental middle from guest Andy Powell of Wishbone Ash), `Can You Understand?', `Carpet of the Sun' and the classic opener `Prologue' all feature.

But the band most seem to relish playing the new material from their just released `Turn of the Cards' album (they even mention between tracks that it "just came out a few days ago"). The orchestra rises to the occasion for grand interpretations of `Running Hard' and `Mother Russia', Annie's voice is full of wounded purity on the darkly regal majesty of `Black Flame', `Cold is Being' is even more of a chilly mournful dirge than the studio version, and there's a snapping driving heaviness to Terrence Sullivan's drumming on `Things I Don't Understand.'

Always an enjoyable aspect of Renaissance live shows is the cheerful, charming onstage banter between the group members. Considering their music was mostly always serious and dramatic, the band members are light-hearted, amusing and genuine in their interaction with the audience, and the occasionally rowdy crowd in between songs seem to be loving every minute of the show. And why wouldn't they? They're witnessing an amazingly talented band at the peak of their abilities delivering an impeccable performance!

This is a companion release to the `DeLane Lea Studios 1973' CD released earlier this year, and like that one, despite some audio imperfections popping up here and there throughout the recording, this set is certainly fancier than some mere `official bootleg'. After overdosing on the studio versions for so many years, it's a welcome and refreshing change to hear a different kind of life breathed into these classic works, and `Academy of Music 1974' is highly recommended for all fans of this defining and important symphonic prog band.

Four stars.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Buyer beware: as well as this show being released by itself in 2015 via Cleopatra's Purple Pyramid imprint, it is also now available in Esoteric's remaster of Turn of the Cards. Therefore, if you have the Esoteric set - or you intend to get it in the future - you'll get this with it (minus the garish artwork!), so there's no need to get it separately in that instance.

Renaissance hit New York's Academy of Music in 1974 to perform accompanied by a live orchestra, and Academy of Music 1974 - with its generic title and its bafflingly inappropriate cover art - presents that set. Of the 9 compositions here there's 1 from Prologue, 3 from Ashes Are Burning, and five from Turn of the Cards, with only I Think Of You from that album not represented.

It's no surprise that the tracklist includes nothing from the first two Renaissance albums (the self-titled one and Illusion); indeed, the DeLane Lea live album from 1973 shows they'd exiled all those songs from their setlist even before Turn of the Cards came out, and it's really best to think of the Haslam-fronted Renaissance as a brand new band with some aesthetic ideas in common with the band's original incarnation. But it's particularly impressive that Renaissance were able to fill out a satisfying concert setlist with just the material from three albums - really two, since Prologue is basically offered as an encore.

It just goes to show that they'd come into an all-killer no-filler phase of their career. The vast majority of the songs on here would become regular concert staple of theirs - which does have the side effect that if you have a healthy collection of Renaissance live albums, you've probably already heard live renditions of a lot of these - but that's just a mark of how good the songs really are. Black Flame and Cold Is Being would vanish from the band's live set in due course - they'd both be revived for live runthroughs of the entire Turn of the Cards album in 2011, of course, but this is more or less the only official source for live performances of those two songs. (Things I Don't Understand would also slip out of sight a bit, but would be revived later - it's on the Dreams & Omens live concert from 1978, for instance.)

Since the concert was recorded for radio, the sound quality is overall excellent, though there's a couple of moments of feedback which slightly hurt the flow but do at least provide evidence that this was indeed a live recording - and that the band and orchestra were doing a dynamite job of presenting this material in a live context. It's striking to think that a year or so before Camel conquered the world with The Snow Goose, Renaissance were already showing how a prog band and an orchestra could work together vastly more harmoniously than many clunkier attempts to fuse the two in the past.

Latest members reviews

3 stars This live album is rather good sounding. Mostly live-recordings salvaged from the beginning of the seventies have a terrible bootleg-quality. Mostly when it was recorded for radio, the quality is much better. I don't know the history of this live album, but it sounds good. Although there's a l ... (read more)

Report this review (#1910575) | Posted by Kingsnake | Saturday, March 31, 2018 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Despite it's horrid album cover painting, which I doubt the band had any control over, especially after the passing of guitarist/songwriter Michael Dunford, who had owned many of the group's copyrighted materials, Live At The Academy Of Music 1974 is both a concert and professional high point f ... (read more)

Report this review (#1407407) | Posted by SteveG | Friday, May 1, 2015 | Review Permanlink

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