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Symphonic Prog • Netherlands

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Focus biography
Of all the groups in the 1970s that combined elements of rock and classical music, FOCUS is, without a doubt, the most notable Dutch group widely known outside the Netherlands. This band has created excitement all over the world during the past few years with their unique sound and musical approach. The two main musicians in the band were flutist/keyboardist/singer Thjis Van LEER and guitarist Jan AKKERMAN. They played a stylishly inventive rock with flutes, keyboards & dazzling guitar, defining the Dutch prog sound. An inspiration to FINCH, TRACE & numerous others. In 1978, the group finally split up, without making too much noise.

Best albums are "Moving Waves" (1972), "3" (1973), "Live at the Rainbow" (1973), and "Hamburger Concerto" (1974). "Waves" and "3" represent the best of the band's earlier intensely progressive period with plenty of sidelong tracks and healthly extended solos. Most will agree that "Live at the Rainbow" and "Hamburger Concerto" (last good album) were their best, moving into a period of more pure classical and jazz influence.

"Focus 8" marks the return of Thjis Van LEER in the true nature of music: tuneful, memorable and a little bit rocky when they want to be. This album contains everything you might want from a FOCUS album ... plenty of flute and keyboards from Thijs, tasty guitar playing from Jan DUMÉE and even some yodeling vocals. Perhaps in summary, the band could have veered a little from the safety of the FOCUS blueprint but "Focus 9" may yet further develop their own voice. No doubt about it, we'll have to count on FOCUS in the new millennium to all of the true Progressive Rock lovers.

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Buy FOCUS Music

Moving WavesMoving Waves
Import · Remastered
Audio CD$9.59
$9.72 (used)
In Concert 1973In Concert 1973
On The Air
Audio CD$19.95
Hocus Pocus: Best ofHocus Pocus: Best of
Import · Remastered
Red Bullet 2001
Audio CD$9.74
$7.39 (used)
hocus pocus / hocus pocus ii 45 rpm singlehocus pocus / hocus pocus ii 45 rpm single
Vinyl$4.85 (used)
Mother FocusMother Focus
Import · Remastered
Red Bullet 2001
Audio CD$9.22
$7.98 (used)
Focus 3Focus 3
Import · Remastered
Red Bullet 2001
Audio CD$9.35
$9.43 (used)
In & Out of FocusIn & Out of Focus
Import · Remastered
Red Bullet 2001
Audio CD$9.47
$9.78 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Indigo for Quantum Focus Hemi-Sync CD MetaMusic USD $16.50 Buy It Now
Ariana Grande - Focus 4 Picture NEW Poster A3 A4 Or Laminated USD $7.63 Buy It Now
Ariana Grande - Focus 4 Picture NEW Poster A3 A4 Or Laminated USD $8.90 Buy It Now
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Ariana Grande - Focus 4 Picture NEW Poster A3 A4 Or Laminated USD $12.73 Buy It Now
Ariana Grande - Focus 4 Picture NEW Poster A3 A4 Or Laminated USD $10.18 Buy It Now
Focus 3 Double LP Vinyl Record Album Original Gatefold Sire Sterling Stamp USD $19.99 Buy It Now
FOCUS ON EGOLESS - Several EP - Vinyl (12") USD $15.68 Buy It Now
Music for the Mozart Effect: Focus and Clarity Volume 4 CD NEW USD $17.48 Buy It Now
CD. Focus On Brazilian Divas USD $7.57 Buy It Now
Shugo Tokumaru - In Focus? [Vinyl Used] USD $13.49 Buy It Now
Focus - SIGNED Flyer 2008 USD $13.69 [0 bids]
FOCUS Live At The Rainbow 1973 SIRE CLASSIC PROG ROCK LP USD $15.00 Buy It Now
Lost in Focus CD (2006) USD $3.91 Buy It Now
Lazy I Focus CD USD $4.97 Buy It Now
Focus Features 10th Anniversary - Various Artists (CD Used Very Good) USD $15.82 Buy It Now
Sealed Focus Ship Of Memories 8-Track Tape No Reserve USD $10.00 Buy It Now
Exclipsect Point of Focus CD USD $5.97 Buy It Now
Various Artists Out of Focus CD USD $4.76 Buy It Now
19m 9s
Apiary Lost In Focus USA CD new Hardcore USD $2.25 Buy It Now 20m 59s
FOCUS 'in the forest' Centerfold magazine POSTER 12x20 inches USD $19.04 Buy It Now 22m 3s
Focus II Moving Waves US LP Polydor 2931-002 1973 VG/VG+ USD $7.63 Buy It Now 23m 2s
Focus 3 A//1 B//3 A//1 B//1 UK 2 x LP Polydor 2659 016 1972 EX/NM/NM USD $31.83 Buy It Now 23m 2s
Focus Ship Of Memories A-1 B-1 German LP EMI 1C 054-25 610 1976 VG+/EX+ USD $19.09 Buy It Now 23m 2s
Focus II Moving Waves A//1 B//1 UK LP Blue Horizon 2931 002 1971 VG/EX+ USD $25.46 Buy It Now 23m 2s
Focus Mother Focus A//1 B//1 UK LP Polydor ACBR 266 1975 VG+/EX USD $7.63 Buy It Now 23m 2s
Focus At The Rainbow A-1 B-1 US LP Polydor 2442-118 1973 VG+/VG+ USD $7.63 Buy It Now 23m 2s
Focus II Moving Waves A//1 B//1 UK LP Blue Horizon 2931 002 1971 EX/EX USD $19.09 Buy It Now 23m 3s
BROADCAST & THE FOCUS GROUP - Investigate Witch Cults Of The Radio Age - LP USD $23.71 Buy It Now 27m 41s
Focus Hocus Pocus Best Of Focus 180g vinyl LP NEW sealed USD $56.77 Buy It Now 44m 8s
In Focus USD $3.99 Buy It Now 46m 57s
Maria, Angela Serie Focus CD USD $5.99 Buy It Now 1h 21m
Morenos Serie Focus CD USD $5.41 Buy It Now 1h 21m
FOCUS CD HAMBURGER CONCERTO (EMI CDM 7 48860 2) USD $63.69 [0 bids]
1h 48m
FOCUS CD FOCUS CON PROBY (CDM 7 48339 2) USD $82.80 [0 bids]
1h 54m
1h 55m
Various Artists : Focus on Hollywood Miami Vice Karate CD USD $3.19 Buy It Now 2h
Fisher, Anna Focus CD USD $4.99 Buy It Now 2h 7m
OUT OF FOCUS - Wake Up - NEW LTD GREEK REIS TOP KRAUT-ROCK 1st LP 1970 - SEALED USD $25.00 Buy It Now 2h 13m
OUT OF FOCUS - Same - NEW LTD GREEK REIS - GREAT KRAUTROCK 2nd LP 1971 - SEALED USD $25.00 Buy It Now 2h 17m
OUT OF FOCUS: Four Letter Monday Afternoon NEW 2LP REIS TOP KRAUTROCK/ PROG 1972 USD $32.00 Buy It Now 2h 21m
Fashion Focus USD $4.96 Buy It Now 2h 29m
SUB FOCUS, ROCK IT (EDIT), M/VG, 6 Track, Promotional CD Single, Plastic Sleeve USD $3.81 Buy It Now 2h 45m
SUB FOCUS, SPLASH FT COCO, M/EX, 4 Track, Promotional CD Single, White Sleeve, USD $3.81 Buy It Now 2h 45m
Nons3nse Focus Demo CD USD $5.49 Buy It Now 3h
Focus (2) - Moving Waves (Vinyl) USD $24.44 Buy It Now 3h 10m
Uriah Heep - Demons And Wizards CD 90's US press deep purple budgie queen focus USD $9.98 Buy It Now 3h 48m
Various Artists : Focus CD (2001) USD $4.26 Buy It Now 3h 55m
Vertical Focus Only One Lifetime CD USD $5.99 Buy It Now 3h 58m
Jacques Loussier - Focus On Jacques Loussier (Vinyl) USD $25.97 Buy It Now 3h 58m
Focus - Focus 3 NL 2LP 1972 FOC //4 USD $18.39 Buy It Now 4h 45m
Focus - At The Rainbow US LP 1973 FOC //5 USD $18.39 Buy It Now 4h 45m
Focus Live at The Rainbow LP EX+-NM Vinyl USD $10.19 Buy It Now 4h 54m
Mantovani - Focus On Mantovani (Vinyl) USD $15.27 Buy It Now 5h 4m
Focus Vinyl LP Sire Records 1972, SAS-7401, Moving Waves ~ VG+ USD $12.99 Buy It Now 5h 14m
NEW - Focus USD $23.98 Buy It Now 5h 37m
Unknown Artist degree of focus CD USD $4.98 Buy It Now 5h 40m
5h 48m
Bennett, James Focus CD USD $4.99 Buy It Now 5h 50m
Focus - Hamburger Concerto & Ship Of Memories CD Lot USD $19.99 Buy It Now 5h 59m
Oddities in Focus Feel the Tension CD USD $5.49 Buy It Now 6h 6m
Various Artists - Dutch Treats (Dutch Prog Rock Comp, Focus etc) (CD 1996) USD $5.08 Buy It Now 6h 7m
At the Rainbow - Focus LP USD $33.32 Buy It Now 6h 10m
D-Lucca Focus CD USD $3.94 Buy It Now 6h 21m
Focus - Golden Oldies [New Vinyl] UK - Import USD $19.43 Buy It Now 6h 27m
FOCUS - BEST OF FOCUS, VOL. 2 USED - VERY GOOD CD USD $15.16 Buy It Now 6h 42m
FOCUS - BEST OF FOCUS, VOL. 2 NEW CD USD $16.73 Buy It Now 6h 46m
Unknown Artist Symphony Shine Time: Focus on the Brass, CD USD $6.91 Buy It Now 6h 47m
FUSIOON LP/1974 Spain/Prog Rock/Soft Machine/Gentle Giant/The Nice/Focus/Goblin USD $35.98 Buy It Now 6h 51m
Unknown Artist Focus CD USD $4.03 Buy It Now 6h 56m
Rudolph Llanes : Into Focus CD (2004) USD $6.99 Buy It Now 7h 15m
Arthur Blythe-Focus CD NEW USD $16.18 Buy It Now 7h 30m
PERFECT ZEBRAS Running With Zebras 7" VINYL UK Focus 1982 B/W Man Or Machine USD $6.36 Buy It Now 7h 39m
FUSIOON LP/1972 Spain/Prog Rock/Soft Machine/Gentle Giant/The Nice/Focus/Goblin USD $35.98 Buy It Now 7h 41m
EXCLIPSECT new cd POINT OF FOCUS - 13 TRACKS USD $3.99 Buy It Now 7h 48m
OUTAFOCUS Various CD UK Focus 1997 15 Track Featuring Cardigans, Mansun,Sneaker USD $4.00 Buy It Now 7h 50m
FOCUS Moving Waves CASSETTE UK Polydor 1972 6 Track (3100182) USD $6.36 Buy It Now 7h 57m
JANE MCDONALD Jane Mc Donald CD UK Focus 1998 14 Track Star Of Bbc Tv's The USD $4.00 Buy It Now 8h 4m
MICE PARADE Focus On The Roller Coaster CD UK Fat Cat 2003 3 Track Promo USD $4.00 Buy It Now 8h 21m
CLASSIC OF LEGENDS OF ROCK S/T FLYER UK 1-Sided Flyer For Uk Tour By Focus USD $4.00 Buy It Now 8h 25m
JANE MCDONALD Cruise Into Christmas CASSETTE UK Focus 1998 3 Track B/W White USD $6.36 Buy It Now 8h 25m
Focus on the Family : Renewing the Heart for Such a Time as This CD (1999) USD $3.86 Buy It Now 8h 28m
Chris Christian - Focus (CD, 1989, Home Sweet Home Records, USA) USD $7.99 Buy It Now 8h 32m
FOCUS In And Out Of Focus Mini LP CD JAPAN VICP-63663 / Jan Akkerman USD $9.99 [3 bids]
8h 32m
FOCUS - FOCUS 8 NEW CD USD $16.73 Buy It Now 8h 34m

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FOCUS discography

Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help to complete the discography and add albums

FOCUS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.46 | 256 ratings
Focus Plays Focus [Aka: In And Out Of Focus]
4.07 | 610 ratings
Focus II [Aka: Moving Waves]
3.78 | 423 ratings
4.25 | 894 ratings
Hamburger Concerto
2.63 | 175 ratings
Mother Focus
3.14 | 132 ratings
Ship Of Memories
2.47 | 77 ratings
Focus Con Proby
3.53 | 60 ratings
Jan Akkerman & Thijs Van Leer: Focus
3.71 | 117 ratings
Focus 8
3.10 | 82 ratings
Focus 9 / New Skin
3.48 | 105 ratings
3.50 | 44 ratings
Golden Oldies
3.76 | 25 ratings
Focus and Friends: Focus 8.5 / Beyond The Horizon

FOCUS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.44 | 118 ratings
Live At The Rainbow
3.32 | 20 ratings
Live at the BBC
3.94 | 16 ratings
Live in America
3.07 | 6 ratings
Live Legends - The Greatest Hits of Focus
2.71 | 15 ratings
Focus The Greatest Hits
4.60 | 5 ratings
Live In Europe
4.09 | 3 ratings
In Concert 1973
4.71 | 7 ratings
Live In England

FOCUS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.07 | 21 ratings
Masters From The Vault
3.98 | 25 ratings
Live In America
4.04 | 14 ratings
The Ultimate Anthology
4.80 | 5 ratings
Live in England

FOCUS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 4 ratings
Masters of Rock 1971 - 1973
4.34 | 4 ratings
The Story of Focus
4.15 | 4 ratings
Focus - Special Polydor
4.94 | 12 ratings
Dutch Masters 1969 - 1973
4.00 | 2 ratings
Focus on Focus 1970 - 1978
4.33 | 3 ratings
House of the King
2.57 | 5 ratings
Greatest Hits of Focus
3.54 | 58 ratings
Hocus Pocus: The Best Of Focus

FOCUS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.39 | 8 ratings
Hocus Pocus / Janis
2.60 | 6 ratings
3.07 | 5 ratings
Harem Scarem
3.14 | 5 ratings
House Of The King / O Avondrood

FOCUS Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Focus Con Proby by FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 1978
2.47 | 77 ratings

Focus Con Proby
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

2 stars When I first saw the cover of this album back in the seventies I had the feeling that Focus would fall in the same trap as several other acts fo that era: a commercial take of an ex great prog band. I did not listen to it at the time. I had enough disillusion with a number of bands at the period (Triumvirat and Camel just to name two) to add another one. Focus with a british one hit wonder singer? Without Jan Akkermann? That could not be good! So it was over 30 years before I had the patience and curiosity to try it.

Looking back, I found that Focus Con Proby was not nearly as bad as I thought. But I guess I´d be disappointed anyway: it sounds way too different from the Focus I knew and loved. Their sound changed from symphonic prog to a much more jazz rock/fusion direction, thanks largely to Akkermann´s replacement, the belgium guitarist Philp Catherine. Although some songs are really good, the instrumentals (always Focus strong point) are also the average jazz-rock you would expect from almost everyone in the area (Soft Machine with Allan Holdsworth, Jean Luc Ponty and so on). Only Sneezing Bull is somewhat different, probably because of Van Leer´s flute playing.

As for P.J. Proby himself, he has a nice voice and does a good job overall, depending on the quality of the songs he sang: the opener Wingless is very good, while Eddy is a boring, throwaway pop tune. Tokyo Rose is a strange mix: sounds like classic Focus tune with added lyrics. Interesting experiment, I guess, but it did not work. Brother is nice and I remember Focus playing it in my hometown during their brazilian tour in 2002. How long is a mediocre tune. And so it goes.

Conclusion: not a total disaster, but too different and inconsistent to be considered a valid statement from this great band. As anyone else at the time Focus tried to do something to get them out of the rut they´re in but was not successful. If you´re into jazz rock/fusion maybe you´ll enjoy the instrumentals. But the uneven quality of the vocal tracks spoil the overall feeling of the album. This one is definitely for collectors and fans only. And not one for the newbies.

 3 by FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.78 | 423 ratings

Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Most people are introduced to Focus through the Hocus Pocus single, which thanks to its yodelling makes people think of them as, if not an outright novelty group, at least a somewhat comedic lot. The more serious side of Focus, however, gets perhaps its best workout on Focus 3, a double album of instrumental prog with jazzy inflections. Album closer House of the King, borrowed from the debut album to avoid side 4 becoming weirdly short, nicely illustrates how far the band have come from their early days; the piece sounds like an unabashed attempt to riff on the style of early Jethro Tull, whilst the rest of the double album showcases a much more original sound.
 Focus Plays Focus [Aka: In And Out Of Focus] by FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.46 | 256 ratings

Focus Plays Focus [Aka: In And Out Of Focus]
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by poito

2 stars This is the inaugural album by this legendary band, in which we may already feel the multiple compositional souls. Tracks are highly diverse in style and mood. Here you'll find the few sung themes in the Focus career, which are very immature in my view, tasteless, lingering between ambient, pop and prog. In other themes we can also appreciate the seed of what later would be the stylistic trademarks of the band, such as in Anonymous, and the opening and closing eponymous tracks. The legendary instrumental mastery of leaders van Leer and Ackerman is still on the way, but not yet. This album has mostly an historical significance, for fans and collectors; it does not have much musical interest. It does not even anticipate how big these guys would become or what they would be doing a few months later.
 Hamburger Concerto by FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.25 | 894 ratings

Hamburger Concerto
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by poito

5 stars For those familiar with Focus early production during Thijs van Leer and Ackerman era, this is probably the climax of their musical production. Entirely instrumental as the other albums, it has something that makes this album unique. Although it uses the typical elements of the band, it sounds different to all its predecessors, smoother, more intimate, full of musical subtleties. The band adventures in musical avenues never tried, it is a true compositional work from start to end. The music is cheerful, inspired, evoking, hard to classify, with tunes and motifs that we hadn't heard before, and probably we won't, ever. One of a kind. The smooth air may distract the first time, it has to be played several times to realize that you are enjoying an all-time masterpiece. All tracks are impressive, but you may start by Birth and continue with the Hamburger Concerto. For reviewing, I have listened four times in a row, and I think I'll keep it running the rest of the day. Why wouldn't they keep in the same track, dammit! This is no doubt one of the gems of any genre in the history of music, and one of the reasons why we shouldn't be so generous giving 5s.
 Focus II [Aka: Moving Waves] by FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.07 | 610 ratings

Focus II [Aka: Moving Waves]
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by poito

4 stars 4.5 There are hundreds perfect songs in the history of modern Rock music, but if I had to highlight a bunch, I would choose these five: Good Vibrations by The Beach Boys, La Grange by ZZ Top, Hotel California by The Eagles, My Sharona by The Knack, and Hocus Pocus by Focus, included in this album. These are immortal titles that will be played once and again as long as the mankind has ears, and beyond. The popularity of Hocus Pocus is such that made Focus to break in the international scene. It also helped pushing up the ratings of this album in PA. It is an excellent one, but not as much accomplished as the Following #3, for instance. Besides the mentioned one, there is another track, this one yes, deserving the Olympo of Prog, called Eruption, a 23 min making the B-side of the album that contains all the elements of the band, amazing musicianship, great melodies, impressive guitar and Hammond riffs, and surprising innovative tunes that pushed ahead the music of their times. There are a few softers not much of my taste in the A- side by which I didn't give 5 stars.
 3 by FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.78 | 423 ratings

Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by poito

5 stars Focus is probably the legendary band more difficult to describe. Instrumental, that one was easy, but their music had many souls. They had a rocker side and a softer melodic ambient weird whatever side. Ackerman and Thijs van Leer are amazing musicians and the rest of the band, Ruiter at the bass and van der Linden at the drums were also incredible, and deploy here some of their more enjoyable pieces. This album contains two of the major hits of the band, and stretching through their schizoid soul, the softy one incarnated by the classic hit Silvia, which begins with some of the best known intro guitar notes in the history of music. The hard prog-rock side comes from the 26 min long Anonymous II, a piece for live concerts including drum and bass solos where the instruments excel. A bunch of Other tracks are also memorable, as Love Remembered, a soft strange blending with flute and Spanish guitar with Mediterranean/Arabian flavors. Carnival Fugue is a smooth delicatessen that begins with 15 seconds to remind, a few piano notes in the front and beautiful guitar motifs interposed as a counterpoint in the background, it then continues mixing baroque and an exquisite instrumental for dancing. Focus III is one of a saga, prelude of their later music for grannies in75's Mother Focus, but still with several interesting melodies and variable tempos. Answers and questions contains a major solo guitar, not to miss, Ackerman is here at his best. This album is a masterpiece of prog, for the musicianship, variety, composition and the memorable tracks.
 Mother Focus by FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 1975
2.63 | 175 ratings

Mother Focus
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by poito

2 stars This is one of the first albums in my collection; I bought it as a tape back in 76 or 77, before the CDs were released. At that time I hadn't listened much of the band, just about what was being broadcasted in radios, Hocus Pocus, and Silvia. I first thought someone had made a mistake and swapped labels with another band. But they were the real Focus! But completelly freed of their rocker side. How to describe this. It is as if the grandmothers of the band members had asked to write some music (may be that's where the album title comes from). Others would say this is ambient music for supermarkets or elevators. But if you are familiar with their former production, you know they always had a schizoid musical soul. Anyway, this is probably the best supermarket music ever. Don't need to check it all, you may be disappointed, but it contains a jewel: if you want to wake up in the morning in a good mood, just listen to the theme All Together? Oh That! It is pure joy, you'll feel good at least till you get to your workplace.
 3 by FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.78 | 423 ratings

Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by Progfan97402

4 stars Back in 1993 I started buying Focus albums. Moving Waves was the first Focus album I ever heard, I won't forget hearing "Hocus Pocus" in 1989 as a teenager (right smack in the era of New Kids on the Block) and being blown away by this song (to be honest, I remembered hearing this song as a small kid, so it wasn't new to me, just that in 1989 it really caught my attention). I often wondered why I never heard any other Focus songs on the radio. When I finally heard Moving Waves, that album blew me away, not just "Hocus Pocus", but the side-length "Eruption". OK, so I now understand, it's mostly instrumental, which radio stations tended to stay away, and the best cut, other than "Hocus Pocus" was too long and maybe not the most radio friendly. I then bought Focus 3, the US pressing on Sire with the die-cut cover (but without the rainbow "Focus 3" effect, it's just simply a rainbow "Focus 3" logo) and I didn't quite liked it as much. This album really proved to me why you never heard any other Focus songs on the albums, but through the years, I can see why I was a bit hard on the album. Perhaps a bit excessive at times, but then it dawned on me, Cream likely did similar things live, but they'd do it in a blues-based manner, which Focus would never do. "Round Goes the Gossip" is the only song with singing, in fact the little bit of Latin is the only singing (other than the phrase "Round Goes the Gossip" being repeated over and over). "Love Remembered", Jan Akkerman's piece is a pretty sappy piece, with acoustic guitar and Thijs van Leer's flute, with something like a Theremin or an Ondes Martenot. "Sylvia" was a minor hit in the States, but apparently a major one in Europe, I have absolutely no recollections of this song on the radio, so obviously it didn't have an impact on FM radio the way of "Hocus Pocus" here in the States. Regardless this song is much more typical Focus than "Hocus Pocus", so while you might want to play "Hocus Pocus" to jog people's memories, "Sylvia" is a song to direct the uninitiated (that is if their reaction was "I remembered Hocus Pocus"). "Carnival Fugue" (I now also own a French pressing on the Az label that amusingly titled it "Carnival Fudge" on the label, but still titled "Carnival Fugue on the cover). starts off with classical piano and jazzy guitar, before going into a rhythm that reminds me of the Beatles' "Do You Wanna Know a Secret". "Focus III" also demonstrates all the best quality of Focus, I really love Jan Akkerman's lead guitar playing and the organ playing. I remembered hearing Petula Clark's "Don't Sleep in the Subway", and I noticed that Focus borrowed from this song! "Answers? Questions! Questions? Answers!" gets more lengthy, with lots of guitar and organ jams, plus a slow organ-dominated piece. But it was the next song that really stuck a craw with me, and that's "Anonymous II". At times I can easily dismiss it as nothing but a wankfest, demonstrated the '70s at its most excess, other times I considered it a great and ingenious jam where each member gets their chance to solo. I really like the Bert Ruiter bass solo that starts off slowly before eventually the rest of the band starts back in and then the whole band jams. It's the Pierre van der Linden drum solo that can seem a bit excessive, but then I'm sure he's getting ideas from Ginger Baker's Cream drum solo on "Toad". Then it dawned on me: I am certain Cream did similar stuff live. Of course, with them the music would be much more blues-based, Ginger Baker would do a drum solo like on "Toad", playing drums like he rides a bicycle (Baker's drumming was influenced by his biking), and I seriously doubt Jack Bruce would dive into a bass solo (he probably knew better), the closest I can think of is Blind Faith's "Do What You Like" (which was basically Cream minus Jack Bruce, and instead Steve Winwood, and Ric Grech, formerly of Family). Of course, "Anonymous II" was a sequel to the original off In & Out of Focus (Focus Plays Focus), drawn out nearly three times longer. "Elsbeth of Nottingham" is clearly Jan Akkerman's piece, totally medieval influenced, with lute and recorders. Although "House of the King" has been featured on some pressings of In & Out of Focus (and only released as a single in Holland), it makes a reappearance here on album because some countries didn't have that song on In & Out of Focus. When I first bought Focus 3, I often wondered why "House of the King" seemed so out of place on the album. It's an earlier recording, with Hans Cleuver and Martijn Dresden instead of Bert Ruiter and Pierre van der Linden. Regardless, this is truly a classic, in the Jethro Tull vein, and one of the finest songs of Focus, too bad that didn't get picked up for American FM radio airplay.

So I'm still a bit torn over this album, it's agreed perhaps a bit of baggage could have easily been removed, but make no doubt the amount of great brilliant material included.

 In Concert 1973 by FOCUS album cover Live, 2016
4.09 | 3 ratings

In Concert 1973
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Finally we have a good sounding live recording of the classic Focus line-up; Van Leer, Akkerman, de Ruiter, Van der Linden. Focus in Concert 1973 sounds better then At the Rainbow and has a more interesting tracklist as well. Showing both their heavy rock side (Anonymous, Hocus Pocus, Sylvia) and their ability to play fine melodic tunes like Focus I, II and III. The recording sound is a bit rough, yet full of detail and spaciousness. A real live recording. Sometimes cleaning up takes away the liveliness. Perhaps Akkerman isn't the king of tone, but boy does he play like a fanatic and it does cut through the mix nicely. This is same year he was named best guitar player in the world.

The first three sides (track 1-7) are from the Partis Theater, London, January 1973. The opening track, Anonymous II is perhaps the most interesting track. In 23 minutes the band shows us what it's all about: combining classical music and jazz in a hard rock atmosphere of excitement and fierce playing. On this first side of the record you can hear all members of the band excelling on their instrument, showing why this was definitely one the best bands ever to come out of the Netherlands. The dynamics of this recording are great and the band jams more subtle and soulful then it would do in later years. On the second side the band plays some of its more melodic songs with Akkerman interpreting his timings freely, thus creating an interesting listening experience for those who have listened to the albums often. Answers? Questions! drags on a bit with its moody improvisations, but the atmosphere has a nice sophistication to it. Side three is a bit more exciting with a great version of Hocus Pocus. Such energy! Thijs van Leer's showmanship really shows here.

The fourth side (track 8-10) has live television studio recordings, Londen, December 1972. The quality of these recordings is significantly less good. The band does play very well on Eruption and Hocus Pocus. Perhaps interesting as an archival release, I myself wil mainly listen to the first three sides of this 2LP edition.

Conclusion. This is the best Focus live record of the classic line-up I know of and I can warmly recommend it to fans of the band and fans of great lively concert recordings. Much better then Live at the Rainbow. Four and a halve stars. Don't miss it!

 Live At The Rainbow by FOCUS album cover Live, 1973
3.44 | 118 ratings

Live At The Rainbow
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by Master of Sensation

2 stars I agree with some of the other reviewers on this site when it comes to this album. While it is true that the band technically performs very well, this recording somewhat lacks the energy required to keep one interested in a live album which is essential since otherwise we are listening to the same tunes we have already heard on studio albums. Perhaps it was different if one actually saw them live but from the evidence of this record Focus are not one of the bands im kicking myself for never having seen live.

As I said energy is somewhat lacking and aside from Hocus Pocus this seems to be the intent as Focus usually were a more laidback band, expressing and developing themes in a very classical manner. While this occassionally worked for them on studio albums it doesnt make for a scintillating live experience. Not much new and exciting is added to the pieces here, although Eruption is more bareable now as we only have 8 minutes rather than the interminable 20 odd minutes on Moving Waves. The two focus pieces are competently played but are carbon copies of the studio recordings. Im falling asleep by the end of side 1. Hocus Pocus wakes me up but this extended live version shows what little material for development there is in this song and actually makes me dislike it by the time it ends. And then if that's not bad enough it resurfaces again after a good rendition of Sylvia. Perhaps im being too harsh on this album but Focus were never the most exciting band and this does nothing to change my opinions. However this is good as background music or for relaxing to.

Also the recording quality here is not too great, but this could be down to the fact ive only heard this via secondhand vinyl. However another reviewer remarked that the sound was 'muted' and this is exactly how I would describe it so I guess getting a new copy wouldn't help.

For established fans only.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Ivan_Melgar_M for the last updates

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