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rogerthat View Drop Down
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    Posted: December 17 2015 at 10:10
There have been appreciation threads for Renaissance before, with most eventually dying a 'natural death'.  But how about one place to post all things related to Renaissance - could be news of upcoming releases, touring dates, or general chat/discussion about the band.  Consolidating it in other thread will be to the benefit of all interested members.  

So, in that spirit, new DVD expected, taken from their concert at The Union Chapel, London earlier this year.  

http://renaissancetouring.com/2015/11/renaissance-live-at-union-chapel-dvd/

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kenethlevine Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 07 2016 at 23:37
just noticed this, yes I'm game!
The preview of the live DVD sold me on buying it and helping them with their indie go go campaign.  I only wish it was the same set they are playing in the US, which included Song for all Seasons, I guess instead of Running Hard.  But at least they did Ashes are Burning.

To me the best part of the preview is Annie's smile at the end of "Ashes".  Pure joy for her and me!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Meltdowner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 08 2016 at 09:21
I heard this one yesterday Smile

Lovely duet. Too bad they didn't use real piano on this album Ermm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kenethlevine Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 08 2016 at 09:35
it sounds like piano to me?
the album is good, with a couple of great tracks.
There's also one with Ian Anderson on flute, and a vocal duet with David Keyes the bassist, that is kind of a new style for them, almost like a tango
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Meltdowner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 08 2016 at 09:40
^ It sounds like digital piano, it doesn't have that grand piano sound of the classic albums.
These tracks are nice too.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rivertree Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 08 2016 at 14:46
I've seen them on the stage in the 70's, alongside with CAMEL ...simply amazing Clap
Annie Haslam performing Mother Russia - fantastic!



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Meltdowner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 08 2016 at 15:01
^ Wow! I bet it was Big smile I regret I didn't see Camel two years ago, I hope they'll come back again.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 09 2016 at 04:12
Originally posted by Rivertree Rivertree wrote:

I've seen them on the stage in the 70's, alongside with CAMEL ...simply amazing Clap
Annie Haslam performing Mother Russia - fantastic!




Never knew about a double bill with Camel.  Have heard they performed once with Gentle Giant, which is a pretty weird combination.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 09 2016 at 06:46
Originally posted by kennethlevine kennethlevine wrote:

I think the band as a whole is underappreciated, including Tout but also Dunford and especially Jon Camp's bass, which often gave them the only rock element in their sound, especially when they used no electric guitar.  But most of all, I think Annie is under appreciated.  She should be right up there with the best female singers ever in any genre, but instead most people, including many who were around during the band's peak period, don't even know who she is. 

Reproducing this comment from the John Tout thread because I don't want to derail it, lol.  Anyway, I think over emphasising Annie's five octave range in promotional material was a mistake.  I mean, it may have been nice initially to get word out about the band but to do it even today is really not necessary.  Because it gives the impression to listeners that she's all about range which isn't really the case.  If I take Captive Heart for instance, she ascends quite dramatically yet smoothly and elegantly on "You've stored throughout the years".  It is pretty hard to achieve that effect and that's technique, not range.  Annie was and is very much on the money when it comes to the finer aspects of singing yet it's always the range that becomes the talking point.  Plus her style is kind of restrained and minimalist so she doesn't use range in a way that would satisfy the desires of ermmm range masturbators. Tongue  They could have just let the voice speak for itself because frankly in going through the tour brochures of various years in the 70s, I have found them to be written in a rather self-congratulatory tone.  Of course, a brochure is going to say the band is awesome but there are ways to say it without sounding smug.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kenethlevine Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 10 2016 at 11:44
They were never that big in Montreal in the 1970s, and, when they did get airplay, I don't remember the focus being on Annie's voice.  The only songs I heard with any regularity were Mother Russia and, when Novella came out, "Midas Man".  And I remember the announcer gushing over the depth of sound on "Midas Man", not even the voice.  But I don't doubt the promotional material's emphasis on her voice.  And you are right, 5 octaves is just 5 octaves, it's her technique and control that are so awe-inspiring.  At the same time, there is just enough warmth to walk that fine line between operatic frigidity and sappy 1970s folk pop.  Maybe that was why they never achieved mass appeal.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 11 2016 at 09:27
They basically had a way of making it sound like what they were doing was dreadfully serious business.  Annie had in fact referred to Novella as their attempt to make new classical music in an interview, ha ha ha.  That's one heck of a stretch.  A little bit of lightness, which they had in the beginning, would have gone a  long way.  And then when they rediscovered it with SFAS they tilted so far to the other extreme that the old loyal fans were horrified. I cannot really fathom what made them take that approach because their live act does seem to have been livelier than the promise.  Idk, maybe that was the general way prog musicians talked at the time?  Fripp is perpetually hyper-intellectual for another. I am sure it is all well meaning but sometimes it gets in the way of getting people to like the music.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kenethlevine Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 11 2016 at 12:51
actually, I remember the Rolling Stone record guide in 1978 saying that the live album was notable for the relentless seriousness with which the band now takes itself.  So that's consistent with what you are saying.  I honestly don't remember reading any of that, having not bought the tour programmes if there were indeed any, and my only reading was reviews in a prog oriented french language magazine, in which I remember the opening lines for the Novella review as "Quelle belle disque"  (what a beautiful album).  So the mainstream probably resented the pretensions a lot more than the prog press.  You know, to young musically uneducated fans like me, this was modern classical music in that it blended classical and rock in a more serious way than ELP or ELO for instance.  Punk and new wave put an end to that seriousness once and for all, so even the bands that survived did so by producing accessible songs that didn't sound too highbrow, thinking Supertramp and Al Stewart for instance.  "Northern Lights" was one such song, but sadly didn't give the band any momentum
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 11 2016 at 18:22
I presume Rolling Stone was referring to LATC which seems to lack the usually relaxed ambience of their shows. Yeah, well, I can agree with the idea of Novella, esp Can You Hear Me as a serious blend of classical and rock/folk, but to call it classical outright was going a bit too far.  It isn't even as classical as Gryphon, well at least Red Queen to Gryphon Three.  There are plenty of such lofty statements from the band.  In a 1978 interview, Camp declared they wanted to be the best live band on the scene.  There was the Jilted John controversy too.  They didn't do a whole lot to endear themselves to the media and it's the media which tells the younger generation which 70s albums to listen to.  Renaissance albums weren't among them.  No prog barring Floyd/Tull because prog is such a bad word now.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kenethlevine Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 11 2016 at 18:42
Originally posted by rogerthat rogerthat wrote:

I presume Rolling Stone was referring to LATC which seems to lack the usually relaxed ambience of their shows. Yeah, well, I can agree with the idea of Novella, esp Can You Hear Me as a serious blend of classical and rock/folk, but to call it classical outright was going a bit too far.  It isn't even as classical as Gryphon, well at least Red Queen to Gryphon Three.  There are plenty of such lofty statements from the band.  In a 1978 interview, Camp declared they wanted to be the best live band on the scene.  There was the Jilted John controversy too.  They didn't do a whole lot to endear themselves to the media and it's the media which tells the younger generation which 70s albums to listen to.  Renaissance albums weren't among them.  No prog barring Floyd/Tull because prog is such a bad word now.

yup, Live at Carnegie Hall, which was the only live document for many years.
It never bothered me that they were serious and ambitious;  the flip side is that they might not have made it as far as they did without that ambition and drive.  Maybe we would have never heard of them if they hadn't an arguably inflated ego.  Shocked  They were swimming against the tide even when prog reigned supreme over the airwaves



Edited by kenethlevine - January 11 2016 at 18:43
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 11 2016 at 20:55
Doesn't bother me either.  Just saying that's not the kind of stuff the mainstream likes to hear.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fudgenuts64 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 12 2016 at 00:37
Novella for myself is definitely their most "serious" record. Not a single track could be considered "positive" and the entire mood throughout is just brooding. I love the record but I know a lot of fans feel the 20 minute Can You Hear Me/The Sisters is just dreck. It's a grower, and I'd argue the hardest record from the 72-79 era to really get into maybe not counting Azure d'Or - I know that one took awhile to click for me. As for the "Renaissance is making classical music" comment, it's a stretch. I'd give that award to The Enid surely.

Edited by fudgenuts64 - January 12 2016 at 00:39
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 12 2016 at 09:17
Oddly enough, Novella happens to be my second favourite after SFAS and if I take Cards through Novella to represent the archetypal Renaissance mk ii - grand, symphonic and also generally melancholic - then Novella is the one where this style is fully realised imo.  Can You Hear Me is dragged down a bit by that three minute interlude which goes nowhere but otherwise it's an excellent composition.  I used to find Sisters almost too melancholic to listen to - Annie just flat out wails on that song - but I've come to really love it.  Really this may be the album of which I have the fewest complaints.  Just lacks a little momentum, barring Touching Once but there is a nice consistency in style from track to track while each one still brings out a different shade of emotion.  I think fans expected a fresh progression from Scheherazade and when it wasn't quite there on Novella, they got disappointed.  Actually Dunford brought back guitars on Novella but it blended so well with the symphonic arrangements that perhaps it wasn't noticed. It did take quite a while for me to like this album too; wondering if there's anybody who liked it right off the bat.

Yeah, how could I forget Enid!  THE definition of classical prog.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lewian Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 12 2016 at 09:20
Originally posted by kenethlevine kenethlevine wrote:

Originally posted by rogerthat rogerthat wrote:

I presume Rolling Stone was referring to LATC which seems to lack the usually relaxed ambience of their shows. Yeah, well, I can agree with the idea of Novella, esp Can You Hear Me as a serious blend of classical and rock/folk, but to call it classical outright was going a bit too far.  It isn't even as classical as Gryphon, well at least Red Queen to Gryphon Three.  There are plenty of such lofty statements from the band.  In a 1978 interview, Camp declared they wanted to be the best live band on the scene.  There was the Jilted John controversy too.  They didn't do a whole lot to endear themselves to the media and it's the media which tells the younger generation which 70s albums to listen to.  Renaissance albums weren't among them.  No prog barring Floyd/Tull because prog is such a bad word now.

yup, Live at Carnegie Hall, which was the only live document for many years.
It never bothered me that they were serious and ambitious;  the flip side is that they might not have made it as far as they did without that ambition and drive.  Maybe we would have never heard of them if they hadn't an arguably inflated ego.  Shocked  They were swimming against the tide even when prog reigned supreme over the airwaves


It annoys me that some journalists (and many other people) always seem to need signs that artists "don't take themselves seriously". I don't complain when such signs are there but this is not what makes music great. Live at Carnegie Hall is, as you rightly write, played seriously and with ambition, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. How seriously they took themselves as people is another matter that an interviewer may comment on, but nothing that affects the value of the music.
That said, there is some lightness and humour on Live at Carnegie Hall if you look in the right places. (Don't like Novella much, though.)


Edited by Lewian - January 12 2016 at 09:21
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 12 2016 at 09:26
I respect the earnestness and ambition on LATC but as I set out in a fair amount of detail in my own review, I don't consider it the best Renaissance live album.  Fair enough that at the time - 70s - it was the only live album they released.  But the band was fully capable of cutting loose a bit without diluting the emotions of the original tracks.  They couldn't quite achieve that on LATC being perhaps a bit tight due to the occasion.  I much prefer Albert Hall in spite of the rather excessive noodling on Ashes in that concert.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kenethlevine Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 12 2016 at 13:57
now that there are so many Renaissance live albums from almost all eras, Carnegie is not as important as it was to us long time fans.  And there is plenty of banter on those less formal live albums that suggests the band wasn't above lighter moments to go with their ambition.

Re Novella, I first heard most of the tracks at a disappointing 1977 concert that I have spoken of before (they arrived very late, played for an hour and a quarter (of which over half was Novella), and didn't even do Ashes, which I didn't even know at the time).  None of them really did it for me except maybe Midas Man.  But after ASFAS I dove back into the catalog and now enjoy Novella more than Scheherazade.  I would probably put it 4th behind ASFAS, TOTC and AAB.  


Edited by kenethlevine - January 12 2016 at 13:58
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