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PETER BARDENS' MIRAGE

Jazz Rock/Fusion • United Kingdom


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Peter Bardens' Mirage biography
MIRAGE (not to be confused with a French band MIRAGE) was put together in 1994 by CAMEL members Andy Ward and Peter Bardens, and by CARAVAN's Dave Sinclair, Pye Hastings and brother Jimmy Hastings; session guitarist Steve Adams and bassist Rick Biddulph, a former roadie for HATFIELD AND THE NORTH, completed the line-up. No studio album were ever released by the band but a short tour of the UK and Holland resulted in a first live CD, recorded at the Manchester Apollo Theatre in 1994. Later, Bardens and Adams reformed the band with drummer Dave Cohen and bassist/vocalist Desha Dunnahoe and renamed the band PETE BARDEN'S MIRAGE. Under their new name, they recorded a second live album in 1996, this time at the Star Club in Oberhausen, Germany. Another tour was planned but for reasons unknown, Bardens left the band, the tour was cancelled and the remaining three musicians continued for a while under the name of HUSH.

Their first album,"Mirage Live 14.12.94", is a two-disc CD containing rearranged CAMEL and CARAVAN tunes as well as some compositions from invidual musicians (mostly Barden's). The second album, "Mirage - Live Germany 1996" (also going under the name "Speed of Light - Live") was released under band name PETE BARDEN'S MIRAGE; half of it is made up of CAMEL cover songs while the others are still very CAMEL-like in style. Both the '94 and the '96 albums celebrate the Canterbury days of the great CAMEL and boast an excellent technical performance as well as good sound quality. With the passing of Peter Bardens in 2002, a tribute album was in order; so the album "Mirage - Live Germany 1996" (without the CARAVAN tracks) was remixed, remastered and reissued as disc 1 of a double set titled "Afterlive"; its second disc is made up of bonus tracks.

None of these albums offer groundbreaking material but will certainly be of interest to some CARAVAN and especially CAMEL fans.

: : : Lise (HIBOU), CANADA : : :

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2.79 | 7 ratings
Mirage Live 14.12.94
1995
3.61 | 3 ratings
Live Germany 1996 (aka Speed Of Light - Live)
1996

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PETER BARDENS' MIRAGE Reviews


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 Live Germany 1996 (aka Speed Of Light - Live) by BARDENS' MIRAGE, PETER album cover Live, 1996
3.61 | 3 ratings

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Live Germany 1996 (aka Speed Of Light - Live)
Peter Bardens' Mirage Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

4 stars Gold

As the title implies, this albums was recorded live in Germany in 1996 and features, in addition to Peter (or 'Pete', as he calls himself on the sleeve) Bardens himself on keyboards and vocals, Steve Adams on guitars and vocals, Desha Donnahue on bass, flute and vocals, and Dave Cohen on drums and percussions.

The set list consists of about 50% Camel songs and 50% Bardens' solo material. Such brilliant Camel classics as Never Let Go (from the self-titled 1973 debut), Rhayader / Rhayader Goes To Town (from 1975's The Snow Goose), Spirit Of The Water, and Lunar Sea (both from 1976's Moonmadness) are performed. Interestingly there is no track included from Mirage, the Camel album from which Bardens took the name for his solo band. Rain Dances (1977) is represented by two tracks in Skylines and Tell Me, but Breathless--the final album Bardens did with Camel before he left the band--is also overlooked. The majority of these songs were also featured on the previous release (Pete Bardens') Mirage Live 14.12.94., but the live versions present on this 1996 recording are much superior. The band he's got this time is a much tighter unit and both the band and the audience seem to enjoy themselves immensely on stage which translates very well to this recording. Lunar sea, Never Let Go, and Skylines work particularly well. Tell Me and Spirit Of The Water are good too, but work somewhat less well here. These two songs have female lead vocals, which is interesting for a change, but perhaps not the best choice.

From Bardens' solo albums two songs are played that originally appeared on 1987's Seen One Earth (Seascape and Home Thoughts), three from 1988's Speed Of Light (the title track, After Thought, and Gold), and two from 1991's Water Coulours (Timepiece and Journey). Most of these tunes are instrumentals but Gold and the title track from Speed Of Light are vocal numbers. The piano driven Home Thoughts and After Thought are played together and create an excellent interlude between the rockier tracks. Journey is another good instrumental piece. Timepiece is the jazziest number, it starts out well but overstays its welcome a little bit. Bardens' two most recent solo albums at the time of this live performance, 1993's Further Than You Know and 1995's Big Sky, are not represented in the set list. His two pre-Camel solo albums are also overlooked (so there is no Homage To The God Of Light here). Overall, there is thus a heavy concentration on material from 1973 to 1977 and from 1987 to 1991; which I would say are the two most creative periods in Bardens' long career.

This live album from Pete Bardens' Mirage is an excellent addition to any Camel fan's collection

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 Mirage Live 14.12.94 by BARDENS' MIRAGE, PETER album cover Live, 1995
2.79 | 7 ratings

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Mirage Live 14.12.94
Peter Bardens' Mirage Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars Caramel

In the mid 1990's Peter Bardens put together a band called Mirage, named after the 1974 Camel album. In addition to Bardens himself, this band was made up by previous members of Camel and Caravan including Andy Ward, David Sinclair, Pye Hastings, and Jimmy Hastings. This constellation obviously brought back memories from the 1977-1978 period of Rain Dances and Breathless, when Camel was joined by members of Caravan and Andy Latimer jokingly said that they were thinking of renaming the band "Caramel".

Peter Bardens' Mirage went on the road to perform a mixture of Camel and Caravan material plus songs from Peter Bardens recent solo albums. All of the Camel albums to which Bardens contributed are represented in the set list from Never Let Go from the self-titled 1973 debut to The Sleeper from 1978's Breathless album. 1974's Mirage is represented by Free Fall; 1975's The Snow Goose by The Great Marsh/Rhayader/Rhayader Goes To Town; 1976's Moonmadness by Song Within A Song and Lunas Sea; and 1977's Rain Dances by Tell Me and Skylines. Several Caravan classics are also performed including 9 Feet Underground and For Richard. From Bardens' solo albums there is one track each from 1987's Seen One Earth and 1988's Speed Of Light, and two from 1991's Water Colours. The song Gunblasters would later appear on Bardens' 1995 album Big Sky. The song Lizard On A Rock was previously unfamiliar to me and I still don't know were it is from. It is actually one of the better songs in this set!

The Camel songs are performed slower than the original versions. This works to interesting effect on Song Within A Song which here is given a much jazzier feel, but it is less successful on some of the other Camel numbers. Some of these performances feel a little bit lazy and lacking in energy. Compared to the versions of these songs played live by the "real" Camel (the Andy Latimer-led incarnation of the band) these versions by Peter Bardens' Mirage are clearly inferior. Of the two songs performed from Rain Dances, Tell Me works somewhat better than Skylines. The Camel number that works best here is Lunar Sea. The Caravan songs are similarly not up to par with other versions that I've heard (live or studio). You get the feeling that the band was somewhat underrehearsed at the time of this recording.

The only numbers that one could argue are improved in this format are the solo Bardens tunes. Out of these the two instrumentals originally from Water Colours, Timepiece and Journey, are clearly the better ones. Overall this live album is worth hearing for fans of both Camel and Caravan; good, but not really essential.

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 Mirage Live 14.12.94 by BARDENS' MIRAGE, PETER album cover Live, 1995
2.79 | 7 ratings

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Mirage Live 14.12.94
Peter Bardens' Mirage Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

3 stars Playing "The Snow Goose" without Latimer or "Nine Feet Underground" without Richard Sinclair is like playing "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" without Roger Waters or "Penny Lane" without John Lennon. Who cares?

It's a double live and features Bardens, Ward, Jimmy and Pye Hastings and Dave Sinclair, so for us poor Camel/Caravan addicts an album like this is a pure pleasure. Yes, the sounds are different, too clean maybe, specially on "The Great Marsh", but "Song Within A Song" has that piano part that was not in the original version and neither on the one on "A Live Album". Pye Hastings is not the more appropriate singer for this song, but we can survive.

"Speed Of Light" sounds better here than on the studio album. It's not too difficult to imagine as that album is everything but a masterpiece. This live version is less "artificial". Of course it's played by instrumentist instead of by sequencers and the added parts are quite good.

"Tell Me" is quite similar to the original, while "Skylines" is a bit too slow.

Where the band's reputation is to be proof, is on the epic "9 Feet Underground". Too bad, it's only the second half of the song. I suspect that it has been cut for disk space reasons and I hope that sooner or later the original recording will be found and reprinted. It's a pity because this second half is not bad. Of course it has been rearranged, it's more jazzy specially when Jimmy Hastings plays on the sax the solo that was originally played by his brother. The rest is similar enough to the original to be highly enjoyable (you can't change a masterpiece too much. In cases like this I expect to hear exactly the same notes in any solo).

The medley wich follows is nice but as in every medley there's a bit of regret for the parts not played. Specially for what comes from "If I could do...". Let's say that being Pye who sings, the vocal parts better executed are of course those of Caravan. Only Bardens is effectively excellent with both the "bands".

Another test: "Never Let Go"....as I have written, the guitar intro shouldn't have been changed. The two or three notes replaced are very disturbing when you know every "breathe" of that song. The arrangement is closer to A Live Album than to the studio version and I think that the singer here is Bardens, but it lacks the great solo sax of Mel Collins. Also Bardens is using a "whistled" sound for his keyboard solo, that in the original version was sounding like a flute (I thought it was Latimer's flute for years until I saw a live video!!!). Good but not the best version.

It's good to hear something from Breathless. In general I dislike (or I think so) the period between Rain Dances and The Single Factor, but it's a fact that excluding this last one this is the most representative and characteristic sound of Camel, what they'll be remembered for.

I don't remember to have heard the funky-rock "Timepiece" before. It sounds more Caravan than Camel. It's quite good and I can't actually compare it with any studio version.

Now the epic...."For Richard", from my favourite Caravan album. Some guitar is added to the intro. The production for the vocals is better than the "stereo" recording of "If I coud do..." . It's quite a pity as Pye's voice was more dreamy on that album. However also this version makes me dream. Just the uptime section is a bit too fast, but on a live exhibition it can happen.

I don't know where "Journey and "Gunblaster" are from, but I think I've already listened to the first somewhere else.

"Freefall" is a great pleasant surprise, also because the guitar sounds the same notes as Latimer, but the voice....on this song it's crap. I don't know who's the singer here, but this is not the right tonality for him.

"Lunar Sea" is one of the best Camel's songs ever and it's played well, also because it has been played in almost all the Camel's tours so at least Bardens has played it tons of times. The guitar is remarkable. Here it could be Latimer.

Well, you have a compilation of two bands at the price of one plus some Bardens' solo and maybe something else. They are not the best versions ever but if you love the two "twin bands", this is an excellent addition. For all the other people, check out the originals first. I stay on 3 stars. Fans of Caravan and Camel need only the track list, the rating is not influent.

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 Mirage Live 14.12.94 by BARDENS' MIRAGE, PETER album cover Live, 1995
2.79 | 7 ratings

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Mirage Live 14.12.94
Peter Bardens' Mirage Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Pawned Heart

2 stars While I'm only giving this album 2 stars, this is a great buy for any serious Caravan and/or Camel fan. Although Richard Sinclair and Andrew Latimer are notably absent, Pye Hastings, Dave Sinclair, Andy Ward, and Peter Bardens (along with some others), put together a nice show.

The set list is made up primarily of popular live tunes from the two bands, but there's a few Bardens solo songs present. Highlights include the usual suspects: Rhayader, 9 ft Underground, Never Let Go, For Richard, and Lunar Sea.

Most of the performance is of course exemplary, but for me it just seems to be missing that "vibe" which made Camel's "A Live Record" and Caravan's "Live at Fairfield Halls" so good. Nonetheless, the record is definitely worth hearing, but only for fans. If you really want to get a good live impression of both bands, take a listen to the aforementioned live records, which are both 4 or 5 star albums in my book.

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 Mirage Live 14.12.94 by BARDENS' MIRAGE, PETER album cover Live, 1995
2.79 | 7 ratings

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Mirage Live 14.12.94
Peter Bardens' Mirage Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Henrock

4 stars Just to see the members of the so call "camel & caravan", is easy to conclude that there's no andrew latmer, or richard sinclair, but even so, the sound is a fine sample of camel and caravan music live... There's a fine selection of music of both bands, and the musician play then with a verry good felling that bring us to a camel or a caravan gig... I recomend this album as a sample of a few good guys that make amazing songs of both bands...

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 Live Germany 1996 (aka Speed Of Light - Live) by BARDENS' MIRAGE, PETER album cover Live, 1996
3.61 | 3 ratings

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Live Germany 1996 (aka Speed Of Light - Live)
Peter Bardens' Mirage Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by luishqi

3 stars Live performance rich in true effort to take original songs to a different level. Lacks the depth Camel fans grew to be used to, however, Bardens presence revives the flavor Camel had when he paired up with Latimer.

The sensations provided by Bardens guidance are unmistakeable, further enhanced by the good level of musical coordination obtained with Dave Cohen (falling a bit short on Camel's benchmark percussions), Desha Dunnahoe (beautiful female voice that gives Camel music a sweet and profound new face) and Stevie Adams.

Bardens would die not much later, in 2002. His enthusiastic performance here, provides absolutely no hint of that, and therefore constitutes one of the last chances you can have to hear him full-fledged and forward.

A nice twist to the traditional live sound of Camel, brought to us by one of its most influential and prominent members, Pete Bardens.

if you like the flavor of live performances (this one in Germany), you will enjoy this album.

LUIS H.Q.

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 Mirage Live 14.12.94 by BARDENS' MIRAGE, PETER album cover Live, 1995
2.79 | 7 ratings

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Mirage Live 14.12.94
Peter Bardens' Mirage Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Easy Livin
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

2 stars A horse designed by a committee?

The line up and track listing say it all. Here we have many of the (some time) members of Camel and Caravan together, performing the classics of both bands. Camel are represented by Peter Bardens and Andy Ward, while Caravan field the Hastings brothers plus Dave Sinclair. Steve Adams, who had previously worked with Bardens, and Rick Biddulph who'd worked with Sinclair round out the line up.

This double CD captures one of the first live performances by the band. The songs are effectively split three ways between Caravan, Camel, and Barden's solo work. They fit well together, although the absence of Andy Latimer's distinctive guitar work is noticeable on the Camel songs.

Whether Mirage actually add anything to the songs is questionable. The performance is as you would expect exemplary, but I can't help feeling that I'd just as soon listen to Camel play Camel, and Caravan play Caravan.

Worth hearing as an interesting historical document, but ultimately superfluous.

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