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    Posted: September 23 2006 at 21:25
Note:  This isn't mine...  found it on the TFK yahoo group
 
"Welcome to Paradox Hotel. We're going to try to make this visit as
pleasant as possible. We're going to try make each one of you feel
right at home. Alright!

One, two, three…"

Finally, I understand Roine Stolt's vision. The drums have been
streamlined in such a way that rather than congest the air with a
corsage of jumbled jazziness, they instead approach us with a tactic
that's both clean and cultured. The music is now more intuitive to your
ears than ever.

Speaking of Stolt, how old is he anyway? He's been in the game for
quite awhile, yet he looks like a kid on stage. At first, I was
wondering, who is this young guy and why is he hanging around The
Flower Kings? As a result, I was actively on the lookout for him. It
made me chuckle when I became aware of my oversight. I guess you could
say that all this gigging has kept him very young. Otherwise, he's
using some miracle cream from an infomercial I'm yet to see. In either
case, I wonder what it's like being the coolest cat habitating within
the progressive realm.

As to the music itself, I was awestruck in my first reaction. They
sound tremendous in concert and one song in particular, the title track
to Paradox Hotel, really wowed me. While not one of my favorites on the
album, the song sounds absolutely fantastic here. Whatever rehearsal
was done in preparation has gotten this tune superbly tweaked. It
arrives in the most sophisticated manner as well.

After a countdown, followed by a ping pong match, this very title track
is used to kick off the event. As it turns out, it's just the start to
a series of hair-raising wonders…

We visit several of their standard landmarks, too. Though it's only a
few years old, "The Truth Will Set You Free" is timeless. "Stardust We
Are" also endures another majestic appearance. While it's almost become
tradition for these two to surface at every engagement, like Dick Clark
(and Roine Stolt), neither seems to show their age.

As to the latter, it's still the faithful crowd-pleaser it's been since
the very beginning. When all is said and done, the highlights include
both the old and the new.

Okay, so that was meant to be the wrap-up, but it's too good to end
right here... To heck with the synopsis, let's just delve into the
details:

Disc One

After "Paradox Hotel," we receive a wealth of righteously sacrosanct
songs. A psychedelic transition occurs between "Hit Me With A Hit" and
"Last Minute On Earth." The latter happens to be one I like more than
general consensus typically states. I appreciate it for its mean riffs
and countless unique traits.

I heard "Last Minute On Earth" for the first time in a live setting
long before ever hearing it off a recording. I must also add that this
concert I reference occurred on September 14, 2001 … Think of the
coincidence… bingo, you got it. For that reason, it carries added
significance. Regardless, I always felt it was sharpest when seen in
the flesh and in this instance the experience is no different.

Next, "In The Eyes Of The World" has never, and I mean, never sounded
this good. For the record, The Flower Kings might actually sound better
live than in the studio, which is a statistical rarity, making them
literally one in a million.

"Jealousy" was an interesting choice to follow. At first it slowed down
as if it were weighed down with water. Once the sail soaked up the
wind, it drifted. Then as soon as the schooner tacked, they were
underway.

"What If God Is Alone" was another entity with a holy posture. In this
session, it sounded similar to U2's "Where the Streets Have No Name."
Hasse Fröberg embodied Don Henley, that guy from The Eagles, and I'm
not talking about an American football team.

Subsequently, "Pioneers Of Aviation" soared through the skies. With its
instrumental innovations, it braced onlookers for assimilation into the
new age. Once it took off, the populace was beset with bliss.

To finish off the side, "Love Supreme" and "The Truth Will Set You
Free" stake their claim. Here they a pair of exceptionally well-enacted
epics. In the former, the verse "work of the master's hand" is
masterfully sung. In the latter, they reveal why this very song is
considered their greatest masterpiece.

Disc Two

"Touch My Heaven" is bestowed with an explanation from Bodin. For those
who have never heard him utter a single word, he has a very elegant way
of speaking. He lets it be known that the inspiration of the song is
about getting up once you've been knocked down. Interestingly enough,
the performance parallels its esteemed introduction.

Around this time, a heckler barks out some series of curse words. In
response, Stolt says you're *bleeping* great, too. While a future edit
is promised by Stolt, it remains intact in all its repugnant glory.

Reingold brings out double-headed beast for "Mommy Leave The Light On."
There is no reason to be intimidated by this ditty. It's just a
precursor to another extraordinary piece. That would be "End On A High
Note" where Marcus Liliequist finds his stride.

This particular song comes off unusually sharp. The guitar-playing by
Stolt and Fröberg are also crisp. There is this magic moment in the
middle where the group switches gears and transports its riders to a
fantastically ethereal place. The only other time I can remember
feeling this elated was at a point in a Tangent concert, as well as a
stint with Dark Star Orchestra. However, this was the only time
something emanating from the TV set was capable of such an achievement.

I can undoubtedly say that "Life Will Kill You" is at its finest live.
The chanting at its core and the strong vocals towards the end
contribute to a superlative stature. Thus, it now exists in a better
place.

Fröberg voice impressively climbs the scales in "I Am The Sun." I saw
him do this once before at the previously mentioned gig. That time he
did it with "Stardust We Are."

Anticipating the end, a guy donning a Depeche Mode shirt exits early.
Bodin then bellows, "You are an extraordinary audience." Stolt
notarizes the bond with, "We say that every night, but tonight we mean
it."*

This appears as if they scaled the apex. Stolt storms to the mike and
says, "We have to play the last song." When the gathering groans, he
responds, "I'm a good boy." In hindsight, he was obviously joking. The
crowd is truly saddened but if you listen closely he mumbles, "We're
going to fool you anyway." Not many seem to catch this quip as there
are scores of unruly protests. Funny enough, Stolt suggests giving them
double by dividing it in half.

They obviously pulled a fast one as more came to the surface. "Blade Of
Cain" is chosen for the next partition in the chain. I must attest this
song is a beauty. It is unusual for me to describe a song in this
manner. It only goes to show how it instills an honorable ambience
within me. It carries a very admirable demeanor, too.

At some point in the encore, Stolt loses his coat and Liliequist
misplaces his hat. This is far from what can be considered a wardrobe
malfunction. It seems they're merely sticking with more comfortable
attire.

With "A King's Prayer," what gets delivered is the two for one special.
It comes encased in succulent layers from The Beatles. Subsequently,
they say goodbye for the second time over venerated verses from the
revered "Hey Jude."

Another encore is foreshadowed by time-elapsed footage. This particular
film exhibits the entire affair from the setup to breakdown of the
stage. It's also intriguing to point out that it's accompanied by a
sound byte recorded in the vacuum of outer space.

The crowd keeps clapping and chants, "We want more." Stolt grants their
wish with, "Stardust you want, Stardust you get." With that said,
"Stardust We Are" is chosen as their last and final expression.

Reingold gets goofy around this time and balances his bass on his chin.
That would be an expensive mistake if he slips up. It's only a matter
of time, so I hope he quits the mischief.

The interpretation involved here seems to be more succinct than what
I'm accustomed to hearing. When it gets rolling, the crowd sings along.
While they might be out of tune, at least the band didn't forget the
human touch or the human try.

I'm not entirely sure what the title of this song means as it's not
grammatically correct. I wonder if this is something from the mouth of
Master Yoda. I find it odd no other journalist has made this
connection. In any case, it is one bodacious bonus track to tack onto
such a frosty cake.

After filling our glass to the rim, our chalice overflows with
delicious drops from this savory ditty. As the good book says, our cup
runneth over. You could take a heavenly body or a celestial sphere from
the sky and you wouldn't find one that dazzles in this manner. It's
both a meteor burst and a shining star. So in line with the name, our
muppet friend mutters, "sparkle they do."

The best part about every classic is that with a song this good, it
can't get any better. The band is so rehearsed with every fine point
attuned. They've dotted the "i"s and crossed the "t"s. If you're
looking for an act with the highest caliber of cuts, this is "it."

When the credits appear, they're accompanied by a theme. It treks along
like Frodo in Lord of the Rings. This exercise and excursion is
bequeathed upon us by Bodin on his Mellotron.

As to the venue, the stage was organized and tidy that night with a
lightshow that was pristine. In general, the theater was absorbing,
intuitive, and urbane.

While this product is for the most part immaculate, there is one minor
flaw. The disc operates in an unusual manner. If you go directly to a
song it hangs or finishes abruptly once it's done. However, if you play
the concert as a whole, it smoothly transitions between the tracks.

Aside from that, nothing negative to report. However, here are a few
points to impart into regards to the indispensable input provided by
each individual:

Hasse Fröberg's voice is so good, it'll make you wonder why they were
ever looking for a replacement (I do think Gildenlöw has one of the
best voices I've ever heard, but that shouldn't make him a shoe-in for
the varsity position.).

When Roine names off all of Fröberg's duties, I half-expected him to
complete his comments with a Howard Dean shout, a Taylor Ware yodel, or
a Chappelle-based be-aaah! Then again, Lillequest's shirt reads Guau,
which rhymes with Aaaaah!

As to the others, Reingold's bass playing is business as usual, which
means it's extra gravy on the side; in other words, it's just great. He
even has the white hat he's always wearing, but this time he dons a
fancy suit instead of a t-shirt.

Stolt is quite serious while Reingold is the bubbliest of the bunch. He
cracks the cork and sprays his entourage with his misty vibrations.

While we're on the topic, Stolt's ensemble is pasted with flowers and
pastels. His playing is quite colorific, so it matches the outfit.
Plus, his shiny guitar is just plain stoic.

Bodin adds to the atmosphere and there's even a time where he sings,
though he uses a vocoder in cases where he croons. When Fröberg belts
out, "Clock is ticking, day in, day out," he parallels the verse with
his own intonations. What exudes from his lips is a wickedly amped-up
demon voice.

He never plays the keyboard the same way twice. His varying style makes
him intriguing to watch and to listen to in person. He's suave and
relaxed at his post. You can tell he really enjoys the arts and crafts
of his trade.

Fröberg handles percussive tasks as well. Overall, I was amazed with
his provisions above all. While Ulf Wahlander (sax) and Hasse
Bruniusson (percussion) were absent, as much as I like their
contributions, I didn't miss them. Thanks should go to Fröberg as
payment for his compensation.

Blah, blah, blah…

I could go on for hours about this band. In case you haven't known,
they're a staple of the genre and kind of a favorite of mine. If you're
into labels, you could call them my pet band. In my opinion, it's an
absurdity, better yet a paradox; they aren't more renowned and
represented on the radio. Then again, it's hard to say if they could
find bigger fans.

If you're in the know, you've diddled their ditties often. If not,
check into the facilities and peruse their pieces soon. For those who
are new to the area, their hotel might just be the very best place to
stay. It goes without saying, I highly recommend it! Since its
inception, I've regularly dropped anchor there.

They've done almost everything a single band could accomplish and
incorporate incalculable kitchen sinks. All that's left is maybe… a
concept album. For now, this concert suits my fancy.

In summary, this is no-nonsense rocking from a group that's become a
marvel, a supernova, and a household name within the progressive genre.
In their latest DVD, they deliver the goods with a smile, in working
order, and way ahead of schedule.

* I ponder; do they say that every night as well?

Tracklisting:
DVD One: Paradox Hotel / Hit Me With A Hit / Last Minute On Earth / In
The Eyes Of The World / Jealousy / What If God Is Alone / Pioneers Of
Aviation / Love Supreme / The Truth Will Set You Free

DVD Two: Touch My Heaven / Mommy Leave The Light On / End On A High
Note / Life Will Kill You / I Am The Sun / Blade Of Cain / A Kings
Prayer / Stardust We Are

Musicians:
Roine Stolt - guitars, vocals
Tomas Bodin - keyboards, vocals
Jonas Reingold - bass, guitar, vocals
Hasse Fröberg - guitars, vocals, percussion
Marcus Liliequist - drums, percussion, vocals

Discography:
The Flower King (Roine Stolt)
Back In The World Of Adventures (1995)
Retropolis (1996)
Stardust We Are (1997/2000)
Scanning The Greenhouse (comp) (1998)
Edition Limitée Quebec (1998) (only 700 copies!) Unnamed 3-track EP
(1998) (given away free at Japanese concerts; incl ''She Cared Me A
Wooden Heart,'' ''Space Revolver,'' and ''Jupiter Backwords'')
Flower Power (1999)
TFK fanclub disc (2000) (free CD exclusive to fanclub members only)
Alive On Planet Earth (2000)
Space Revolver (2000)
Space Revolver Special Edition (2CD set) (2000)
The Rainmaker (2001)
The Rainmaker - Special Edition (2001)
Unfold The Future (2002)
Live In New York: Official Bootleg (2002)
Fan Club CD 2002 (2002)
Fan Club CD 2004 (2004)
Adam & Eve (2004)
BetchaWannaDanceStoopid (2004)
Harvest (fan club CD) (2005)

Meet The Flower Kings - Live Recording (DVD) (2003)
Instant Delivery (DVD) (2006)


Added: September 21st 2006
Reviewer: Joshua Turner
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 23 2006 at 22:06
I should have mine Monday or Tuesday. This review gets me even more stoked, however.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 23 2006 at 22:25
Mine's coming October 3-5...  damn slow shipping :(
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 24 2006 at 04:06
I wonder why they left outside
 
SELFCONSUMING FIRE.Angry
 
Don't you?
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 24 2006 at 04:41
Can't wait to get it. I was there, and it was a great show.
Future prosperity lies in the way you heal the world with love
(Introitus - The hand that feeds you)
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