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CELESTIAL FIRE - LIVE IN THE UK

Dave Bainbridge

Crossover Prog


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Dave Bainbridge Celestial Fire - Live in the UK album cover
5.00 | 3 ratings | 1 reviews | 100% 5 stars

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DVD/Video, released in 2017

Songs / Tracks Listing

DVD
1. Celestial Fire
2. Today
3. Kells Opening Theme
4. Revelation
5. The Storm
6. Until The Tide Turns
7. Love Remains
8. Over The Waters
9. Chi-Rho
10. Roundabout
11. Songs Of Ascent - Part 2
12 .Beyond These Shores
13. Brendan's Voyage
14 .Brendan's Return
15. In The Moment
Encore:
16. Soon

Total Time 148:10

2CD
The same tracks as on DVD

Line-up / Musicians

- Dave Bainbridge / guitars, keyboards, bouzouki, percussion, vocals
- Sally Minnear / lead vocals, vocal looping, acoustic guitar, percussion
- Dave Brons / guitars, mandolin, vocals
- Simon Fitzpatrick / basses, Chapman stick, Moog bass
- Frank Van Essen / drums, percussion, violin, vocals

Releases information

Recorded on their first concert tour, this is the first release by Dave Bainbridge's new band Celestial Fire.
Featuring a mix of IONA music (some rarely played live, such as 'Brendan's Voyage/Return'), music from Dave's solo albums and even a Yes cover.

DVD+2CD Open Sky Records (April 24, 2017)

DVD Options:
DVD9
NTSC 16:9 (720x480) VBR
English (Dolby AC3, 2 ch)

DVD and 2 CDs both feature the entire concert performance, filmed with multiple cameras by INNSIGHT TV, with the audio mixed by Dave Bainbridge. The DVD also includes rehearsal footage and many previously unseen rehearsal and tour photos of the band.

Thanks to tszirmay for the addition
and to NotAProghead for the last updates
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DAVE BAINBRIDGE Celestial Fire - Live in the UK ratings distribution


5.00
(3 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(100%)
100%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(0%)
0%
Good, but non-essential (0%)
0%
Collectors/fans only (0%)
0%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

DAVE BAINBRIDGE Celestial Fire - Live in the UK reviews


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This review will be a long one but rest assured, it will be a good one.

Being a long-time fan of Celtic prog stalwarts Iona and deeply impressed by guitarist Dave Bainbridge's releases as well, I was looking forward to this new start for the mercurial multi-instrumentalist, as Iona has sadly put their career on hold, after the rather disappointing "Another Realm" album. Both 2004's stunning "Veil of Gossamer" and 2014's delirious "Celestial Fire" got perfect marks for me, exhilarating works that conjure profound images of time and space, with numerous examples of technical prowess and emotional expression. Throughout the latter, Dave's exemplary guitar work shines like no other, adding luxuriant keyboards to the mix but more importantly a colossal amount of energy and passion, features that went often missing on most of that "Another Realm" album. It was only fitting then that Iona members went their separate ways, presumably for the time being, recharging their batteries and concentrating on solo projects.

Dave has put together a new touring band named Celestial Fire and presented live them in the UK, going through some of his solo material, a few classic Yes covers as well as some rarely played Iona classics. Replacing Iona vocalist Joanna Hogg was not going to be easy but Sally Minnear (yes, you read right, Gentle Giant keyboard maestro is her dad) does a lovely job indeed, albeit in a different tone than the legendary Northern Irish vocalist. Fellow Iona colleague Frank van Essen supplies his usual dual punch of drums and violin (how often do you see that?) and two newcomers are added on bass and Chapman Stick in Simon Fitzpatrick (Carl Palmer's Legacy) as well as secondary guitarist Dave Brons. There are 2 CDs worth of music as well as a concert DVD and bonus material, which is the coolest idea ever for a reviewer as one can see who plays what and how well and intense they express themselves. A radiant package to say the least, recorded at Fibbers, York on October 1st 2015. Celestial Fire begins the concert on explosive and optimistic notes, waiting little time in sizzling the crowd with heavenly music and emotional release. The title track weaves into Roger Dean-inspired images of divine glows of infinite space, dense instrumental technique from all players and a bombastic approach that speaks volumes of their craft. Again, we have Yes music played by non-Yes musicians and doing it sublimely. Simon Fitzpatrick's bruising bass drone hits the speakers with a vengeance, always a great platform to permit melodies to thrive and expand. Van Essen is a polyrhythmic octopus, driving, pushing and propelling the arrangement with undeniable gusto, so it comes as no surprise that the blistering Bainbridge guitar feels free to roam, soar and scour unabated. Guitarist Brons shuffles some delectable slide guitar that is straight out of the Steve Howe book, showing some slippery licks and smiling widely in the process. The lovely Sally Minnear uses her angelic voice with feminine delicacy, a true treat to behold. Well-oiled machine right from the get-go. Impressive!

In all, Dave proposes 3 pieces from the "Celestial Fire" album, namely the title track described above, "Love Remains" and "In the Moment". 2 are from "Veil of Gossamer", the breathtaking "Until the Tide Turns" featuring a spectacular vocal display as well as "Over the Waters". The Iona material is taken from the classic "the Kells" album, 3 pieces including the title track, "Revelation" and "Chi-Rho". "Beyond these Shores" provides the title track as well as "Today" and the 2 part "Brendan" suite ("Voyage" and "Return"). Lastly for the Iona set, a single track from the stupendous "Open Sky" album in the form of "Song of Ascent #2". The classic and the immediately recognizable arpeggio on "Roundabout" and "Soon" section of "Gates of Delirium" are the Yes covers. Done to perfection.

The folk insinuations of "Today", featuring a tortuous Minnear vocal and surprisingly including a short bass solo, some tectonic skins bashing from Van Essen and a genuine zeal from all involved. Throw in Dave's celebrated bouzouki and the deal is done. The glorious Celtic chant of "Kells Opening Theme" sounds like a classic piece that transcends time, musical swirling mists permeating the dew-drenched valleys that evoke the deepest sentiments. Its companion piece "Revelation" offers a towering vocal performance, charging guitars, Chapman Stick and nifty drumming. Dave's staggering guitar style is spotlighted on the reel-like instrumental blowout "The Storm", which is as Irish as it gets, with blistering finger work and seemingly effortless technique, the man is a first rate guitar slinger, a sultry synthesis of Howe, Hackett, Latimer and Holdsworth. He "needs a little rest after that one?", no kidding!

One of the outright glowing jewels from his first solo album Veil of Gossamer is the spectral "Until the Tide Has Turned", a gently romantic ballad expertly delivered by Minnear's impassioned vocals and carved underneath by Fitzpatrick's gorgeous bass loops, while Dave concentrates on the elegant piano. This is so poignant and crushingly beautiful. Gulp! When Dave stands up and shoots off a sizzling, arching guitar solo, I mean I am slayed. Plunging into razor-sharp semi-jazz fusion on "Love Remains", the piano work is dazzling, hints of Chick Corea while Brons streaks the sky with lightning blasts, the buildup is extraordinary in terms of mastery and feeling. Sally grasps the microphone and does quite a melodic interpretation, heartfelt and profound, before the boys slam headfirst into a bombastic symphonic explosion, led by a mad synthesizer folly and a moody mid-section that floats serenely. Then things get ecstatic: bubbly bass backflips, schizophrenic drum rolls, infused by a blooming vortex of Mach 5 notes from the guitars and synths that wink at classic The Flower Kings. Fast and furious, at breakneck speed and yet under complete control, the extended axe solo is beyond explanation. A flurry of ivory delight puts this love story to bed. Thus ends the first set.

The second set flings "Over the Waters" into high gear, like a speedy low flying drone, screaming over hills and valleys before veering into the tumultuous North Sea, waves crashing and whitecaps cresting majestically. This is quite the guitar fest, a long and extended solo that is highly melodic and yet audacious. Sally wails in whispered serenity, and then both join as one sound that soars above the aquatic expanse, evoking a plethora of images and impressions. The playing by all instrumentalists is sheer nirvana.

Always a perennial Iona concert favorite, "Chi-Rho" keeps the bustling electricity flowing, albeit in a more traditional folk setting, ringing and chiming guitars, mandolins and the voice front and center. Blustery then sedate, the piece travels up and down the spine, sizzling guitars pirouetting in the haze. This is the proverbial breezy moment, a gentle reminder of tradition and accessibility, Sally singing convincingly.

The classic Yes hit "Roundabout" is given a more homey coating, it is after all a live experience, so the overt symphonics are downplayed here in order to focus on the thrill of the moment, a bass solo spotlight of the finest order. Fitzpatrick shows off tremendous dexterity, which is what the piece is famous for, brawny muscle and subtle technique all rolled into one, molesting his 6 string bass monster like a true maestro, expertly navigating the low end parts as well as the famous tingling arpeggios . Audience participation adds to the thrill but this is quite a jazzy interpretation and a fun tribute. 'Open Sky' remains my favorite Iona album and "Song of Ascent Part 2" is the loftiest point to be discovered there, a nearly 10 minute festival of spiritual journey and unlimited freedom. The godly piano guides the way, shimmering and dreamy voice phrasings adding to the ultimate liberation. Van Essen's delicate percussion decorates the throb, as the drums kick in full force and the electric guitar signals the upward elevation towards the stars. Evocative, you think? When Van Essen's glorious violin duets with Dave's piano, thus exulting in the utmost sensations, the spiritual high so many seek but do not always find, finally arrives. This is progressive rock at its sharpest, a moment in time that is awe inspiring, Sally humming gently, what a thrill?. "Beyond These Shores" is a song of crushing beauty, a whopping melody and profound emotional exuberance. Intense atmospheric keyboards meander into the violin's shimmering path, blooming into a sublime vocal foray, tempting the soul with a panacea of sounds that highlight the serenity of discovery, "wherever I may go?".

A two-part suite that has been rarely played in concert, the fairy tale embossed "Brendan's Voyage" and "Brendan's Return" is quite the exploration, combining historical anecdote with mystical surrealism. Once again, the overall impression of escape into the past and revisit hallowed ground, makes this perhaps the most overt prog section of the set list, focused on slick electric guitar curls up and down the spine, Minnear's soaring scat singing and that darn piano and accompanying synths. Bainbridge shows off his considerable talents on the lead guitar, peeling off glittering notes with effortless zeal, switching speeds and carrying on with unfettered passion.

The powerful epic leviathan "In the Moment" is just as glorious as on the Celestial Fire album, as it encompasses within one track, all the attributes that makes Bainbridge's music so utterly appealing and eternal, constantly reigniting the original thrill, as if it never even faded away in the first place, like some universal flame burning deep inside. Evocative, genuinely spiritual, empowering, positive and comforting, this is the power of music, able to instill various sensations on numerous levels while still proposing a honed dedication to artistic feeling. Sally sings "wisdom can be found?". Indeed!

Arguably one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever created in any genre, "Soon" has always been a spectacular marvel, a melody of cosmic preciousness and a simple musical arrangement based around extraordinary guitar manipulations (effect pedal, slide and synthesized sheen) and thus a fitting encore finale. A stellar performance by a genius artist. Having served as a replacement keyboardist for John Hawken on the recent "Hero & Heroine" revisited tour, I can only shudder at the realization that Bainbridge is tugging at my heartstrings, in that mythical Strawbs album will accompany me to my Iona graveyard and resting place. So it has been written.

A masterful package that deserves a huge audience. Right on top of my 2017 list as we speak as this is my kind of gorgeous melodic prog and an invitation to further dream.

5 heavenly sparks

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