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    Posted: January 14 2009 at 04:39

Hi all

 

As I may have already said somewhere here, I just recently re-discovered Camel. I am totally fascinated by the live performances that I found on Youtube. I also found some of my cd’s back, I found some of their albums on Deezer and best of all, I bought the dvd’s Pressure Points and Moondances and Coming of Age is on its way (I hope). And I just can not stop listening to their music.

 

I started a weblog where I uploaded many of the Youtube videos and now I want to start another weblog where I will try to describe my perception of the music. I was never very good at that, so I was more than happy with all the reactions on Youtube and on Prog Archives where I found many reviews of the albums. It give me so much insight into my own feelings about the music.

 

On this new weblog, I want to focus on 3 of their concerts and the Youtube videos I found from them. And I would love it to read what you all think about each video, album and concert, as a comment on my blog or here on this forum.

 

http://www.camellive.com/2009/01/the-story-of-the-snow-goose

 

My first post is about the Snow Goose, the music of Camel combined with the story of Paul Gallico, which I wrote a few weeks ago. I uploaded it as a start and will copy it here. 

 

 

Music by Camel, based on The Snow Goose by Paul Gallico.

 

The Great Marsh starts with bird sounds and softly the music sets in. In the background there is the repeating sound of female vocals and occasionally there is the highlighting of a guitar. Then the pressure goes up, the drums enter and it becomes a coherent setting for the story to take place. 

 

...the ocean cut through the sodden land that seems to rise and fall and breathe with the recurrence of the the daily tides. It is desolate, utterly lonely, and made lonelier by the calls and cries of the wildfowl that make their homes in the marshlands and saltings ...

 

Part 1

Rhayader is the introduction of the main character. His introduction is rather sensitive with the sound of a flute, but soon gets a firm grounding with the drums and keyboard, while the tambourine gives it a light and dancing touch. And it ends again with the sensitive flute in a repeating rhythm.

 

...his heart was filled with pity and understanding. He mastered his handicap, but he could not master the rebuffs he suffered, due to his appearance. The thing that drove him into seclusion was his failure to find anywhere a return of the warmth that flowed from him...

 

But then, with the start of Rhayader goes to town, there is a remarkable change. The drums make a determined statement and the guitar comes in very strong.

 

...he was twenty-seven when he came to the Great Marsh. He had travelled much and fought valiantly before he made the decision to withdraw from a world in which he could not take part as other men. For all the artist's sensitivity and woman's tenderness locked in his barrel breast, he was very much a man...

 

This is made very clear by the drums, keyboard and guitars, while they express the powerful spirit of Rhayader. Then the music changes again and while still holding this power, it starts to move. It sounds like a strong and determined walk as he goes to town. But in that movement he looses his power bit by bit, and takes him out of his centre.

 

And so he returns to his sanctuary, which he build for the birds but which he needs himself just as much. The story describes that he has a safe place for all hunted creatures.

 

... this made Rhayader happy, because he knew that implanted somewhere in their beings was the germ knowledge, of his existence and his safe haven, that this knowledge had become a part of them and, with the coming of the grey skies and the winds from the north, would send them unerringly back to him...

 

Sanctuary is a very balanced guitar piece, the plucking of the strings that give a basic ground and the space to express the guitar.

 

So in this self created sanctuary, where he can embody his spirit by developing his skills of painting and managing his boat, he, one day gets a visitor, and Fritha enters.

 

... desperately frightened of the ugly man she had come to see, for legend had already begun to gather about Rhayader, and the native wild-fowlers hated him for interfering with their sport. But greater than her fear was the need of that which she bore. For locked in her child's heart was the knowledge, picked up somewhere in the swamp-land, that this ogre who lived in the lighthouse had magic that could heal injured things. She had never seen Rhayader before and was close to fleeing in panic at the dark apparition that appeared at the studio door...

 

This is expressed by the music which gives the feeling of something that will disappear with the slightest movement.

 

And then there is another change as The Snow Goose starts and the guitar is showing it's most amazing moves.

 

...he told her the most wonderful story. The bird was a young one, no more than a year old. She was born in a northern land far, far across the seas, a land belonging to England. Flying to the south to escape the snow and ice and bitter cold, a great storm had seized her and whirled and buffeted her about. It was a truly terrible storm, stronger than her great wings, stronger than anything. For days and nights it held her in its grip and there was nothing she could do but fly before it. When finally it had blown itself out and her sure instincts took her south again, she was over a different land and surrounded by strange birds that she had never seen before. At last, exhausted by her ordeal, she had sunk to rest in a friendly green marsh, only to be met by the blast from the hunter's gun. A bitter reception for a visiting princess, concluded Rhayader. We will call her La Princesse Perdue, the lost princess...

 

Part 2

This is the part that bears the essence of the story, but it is the part that is least played in live concerts. There are probably several reasons for that, like the use of wind instruments (Friendship) the non lyric-vocals (Migration) and the use of female voices (Preparation), which are not the regular ingredients of a rock band. And also does this part not so much have the brilliant and active guitar performances that are present in part one (Rhayader goes to town and The Snow Goose) and in part three (Dunkirk and La Princesse Perdue).

 

This part is much more like the Adagio in a classical symphony. It is more contemplative, the phase of reception instead of action. Part one and three are the active parts, part one in the way of a creative self-expression and part three expressing developed talents for the sake of a bigger whole.

 

But here, in part two, there is the need of another person, the other who reflects, but who also makes aware of the connection with the world again.

With Friendship there is a feeling of getting to know each other, which is reflected by the wind instruments that show the exchange of energy.

 

...they sailed together in his speedy boat, that he handled so skillfully. They caught wildfowl for the ever-increasing colony, and build new pens and enclosure for them. From him she learned the lore of every wild bird, from gull to gyrfalcon, that flew the marshes. She cooked for him sometimes, and even learned to mix his paints...

 

Then Migration very much gives the feeling of nature runs its course. The non lyric vocals make it sound rather unaware and just following the natural instinctive circle of life.

 

With Rhayader alone there is the feeling of accepting and sadness with the soft keyboard and sensitive guitar expressing his loneliness.

 

...and Rhayader was heartbroken. All things seemed to have ended for him. He painted furiously through the winter and the next summer, and never once saw the child...

 

Here arises the awareness for Rhayader in Flight of the Snow Goose and the reconnection with his soul is expressed by the sound of water and female vocals in Preparation.

 

But at the same time this moment brings fear for Fritha, because she does not understand the power yet.

 

... and Fritha was suddenly conscious of the fact that she was frightened, and the things that frightened her were in Rhayader's eyes - the longing and the loneliness and the deep, welling, unspoken things that lay in and behind them as he turned them upon her. His last words were repeating themselves in her head as though he had said them again: this is her home now - of her own free will. The delicate tendrils of her instincts reached to him and carried to her the message of the unspoken things between them. The woman in her bade her take flight from something that she was not yet capable of understanding...

 

Part 3

Part three starts with action again, but the difference with part one is that the action is conscious now. It is the action that is the result of the realisation of having a free will. A will to choose which direction to move the power. Not to let it be a destructive or dominating force, but to use it in a serving way. This awareness came over him while he watched the snow goose return.

 

And so he decides to act and use his developed sailing skills to save as many men as he can in the battle at Dunkirk. It came upon him in excitement, but as he sees the fear in Fritha's eyes, he explains it to her so she can understand his desire to fulfil his mission.

 

...they are lost and stormdriven and harried, like the Princesse Perdue you found and brought to me out of the marches many years ago, and we healed her. They need help, my dear, as our wild creatures have needed help, and that is why I must go. It is something that I can do. Yes, I can. For once - for once I can be a man and play my part...

 

This is beautiful expressed in Dunkirk, which start off as a very determined active ongoing movement, which gives the feeling of something inevitable to happen. And now the strong spirit of Rhayader is capable of acting but also reacting within the same movement. During the battle he can stay in his own power, and at the same time do what is needed. And it only increases the power. This is brilliantly shown by the guitar and drums near the end.

 

He can immediately react upon what happens and save many lives. And with the snow goose flying above his boat it becomes an impressive story, to be told by many.

 

But Rhayader will never return, as he dies in the battle.

 

...when we turned our attention to the derelict again, the boat was gone. Sunk. Concussion, you know. Chap with her. He must have been lashed to her. The bird had gone up and was circling. Three times, like a plane saluting. Dashed queer feeling. Then she flew off to the west...

 

In Epitaph the feeling returns as in 'Preparation' but now as a memory for the heroic act of Rhayader. Who just followed his strong drive to act in the knowledge of a world beyond his individual being.

 

In the meantime Fritha is waiting, roaming through the lighthouse. This is translated with a silent piano tune Fritha alone.

 

... she found the picture that Rhayader had painted of her from memory so many years ago, when she was still a child, and had stood, windblown and timid, at his threshold, hugging and injured bird to her.The picture and the things she saw in it stirred her as nothing ever had before, for much of Rhayader's soul had gone into it...

 

But deep within, she knows that she will never see him again, and becomes aware of her love for him as she watches the snow goose fly.

 

...the sight, the sound, and the solitude surrounding broke the dam within her and released the surging, overwhelming truth of her love, let it well forth in tears. Wild spirit called to wild spirit, and she seemed to be flying with the great bird, soaring with it in the evening sky and hearkening to Rhayader's message. Sky and earth were trembling with it and filled her beyond the bearing of it...

 

La Princesse Perdue which, after a while, reminds of 'The Snow Goose', is a very melancholic goodbye on the guitar and a coming together of two souls.

 

...watching it, Fritha saw no longer the snow goose but the soul of Rhayader taking farewell of her before departing for ever...

 

Finally the lighthouse is blown away by accident and the sea has taken over again, shown at the end in The Great Marsh.

 

...the sea had moved in through the breached walls and covered it over. Nothing was left to break the utter desolation. No marsh fowl had dared to return. Only the frightless gulls wheeled and soared and mewed their plaint over the place where it had been...

 



Edited by Anthe - January 24 2009 at 04:40
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 16 2009 at 05:35
Embarrassed 
 
I don't know how it exactly works with the emoticons, but this is me blushing!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 19 2009 at 06:04

My next blogpost is about the video The White Rider. Before I started I read through al the reviews about the album Mirage, which was a great way of finding out what others thought of it. I really like the way some can express their impression and it helped me a lot to order my own thoughts.

 

Comments are more than welcome. I am not adding the blog to the blogcommunities yet, as I am still searching for a way to continue, so any feedback is very much appreciated. 

 

http://www.camellive.com/2009/01/expression-of-the-self/

 

Expression of the self

The video I want to start with is The White Rider, which is originally on the album Mirage. Mirage is the album of 1974 and it was the second album of Camel as a group. I like it a lot as a whole but it was not my favourite in the time I was listening to their music the most.

And as I am finding out now it especially had to do with the White Rider (officially Nimrodel, the Procession, the White Rider). Not that I did not like that one, I always liked it a lot. The beginning, very spacy and atmospheric, great, I like that. Then the more determined marching feeling it gives which I also very much enjoy listening to. Increasing and increasing and than wow, the guitar, just amazing. I just like it so very much. And then a sort of melancholic continuing.

Next is the start of the lyrics. While reading a lot of reviews of that album these last few day, it became clear that most consider those not the best part of Camel. So I tried to figure out what I thought of them. Some called them boring, while others called them effective but not to exciting. I kind of agree with that. Somehow Latimers voice gives me the feeling of  ‘okay someone has to sing here’, but it is not the way he expresses his emotion.

There were a lot of reviewers who liked the way he played the flute, who were very charmed by the second song on the album, Supertwister. Well, I must say I personally like the way he plays the pan flute in Stationary Traveller. It is a very sensitive, but at the same time strong and genuine sound, it moves me a lot. But even there the feeling of movement is largely increasing if he starts with the guitar again. Just breathtaking, every time I hear that.

So when the lyrics start in The White Rider, that is certainly not the part I like the least. Especially here I find it most effective and grounding the spacey feeling. And right after that of course the guitar again.
Then everything almost comes to a stop, with a very subtle but at the same time effective drums. The next few minutes are not especially my favourite, but I do like them. The speed and energetic going on is exciting anyway.

Then the lyrics start again and were never very special to me before, but got that when I looked at the video. He sings ‘He has a certain air, as if he’s never there, but somehow far away’. He is singing of Gandalf here, but to me it is the feeling he gives himself.

On the dvd Moondances The White Rider is the first song and until this moment it all gives the impression of beautiful music, coming from another world. And so far I like the song, it would have always been one of my favourites I think.

But then, about 2 minutes before the end it starts. It is the part I am very fascinated about now, but that was not always like that. And I noticed I am not alone in that. Although there are many who find the last part exciting, there are also a lot who find it very annoying. When I was playing the dvd at home, most reactions on the whole of this concert where very positive as everyone likes it a lot. But with the last few minutes of The White Rider everyone gets irritated. But for me the more I heard it, the more interesting it got. You see Latimer start doing all kinds of things with his guitar and you get curious what is going on. And than he starts and it really is fascinating.

It is as if indeed before that ‘he was not really there, but somehow far away’ but with this part he very much gives the impression of having found a way of expressing himself with the guitar. Still searching for different ways to do that and at a point of  ‘the more extensions the better’ but very much finding an individual way of expressing himself.

And after a search through classical music for several years, that, I know now, was what I missed there. No matter how much I like a lot of classical music, it always stays within a certain frame. And there is little room for self expression. Which can be a good thing. Most of the time I am more than happy if the performer keeps himself out of the way and tries to express the music how it was meant to be. But for me, there was a certain point where I started to miss the self expression of the performer.

But here it gets dangerous. Here the interpretation of the performer comes in and may be totally different from how the music was intended. Which might be fine in itself, but as a listener you often get the feeling it is not what it was meant to be, it feels overacted. As if you are not hearing the real thing. It is like some children are freaked out by clowns. They somehow feel the real person behind the mask and get confused. That is what I often felt with classical music. But that does not take away the immense pleasure, if it did sound as I felt was genuine. And if it did, I just had to listen to that over and over again.

But the beauty of modern music is, that it is sometimes performed by those who composed it. So that very much gives the freedom to experiment with your own compositions. And they might only get better. Which I think is very much the case with the music of Camel, the progression of each song through time. Although this concert on the dvd Moondances already is a highlight as a whole.

And beyond that there always is the feeling of cooperation within the band, very stressful at times, but somehow always the coming together of very authentic individuals.



Edited by Anthe - January 21 2009 at 06:02
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 20 2009 at 03:19
I can greatly apreciate your thoughts. Its really nice to read....and you can clearly see that the music of Camel moved you deeply. I guess (I cannot speak for all of us, but alteast for people that I know) that this is the effect Camel has on many many people. So I think I can tell you......that.....you are not alone.....
 
I shall tell you my Camel story....It was back in 1993 that a new cd store opened in the town I grew up in NL. The first day I decide to have a look and the owner and I began extremely good friends, and eventually I basically began to run that store for her.....But in the beginning I only was a good costumer. She apreached me cos I was wearing (Im not sure anymore which) a Prog related T-shirt, and she commented me on that. It appears she was an enormous Gabriel, Marillion and Pink Floyd fan. So we talked for a long time. She proposed I should go through the progressive rock collection and listen to it.....get used to it...and tell her what I thought....for months this was how I spend my saturdays....On one of the first days she gave me Never Lety Go (from the D&D tour) that was just released back then, but quite hard to get....and very expensive. She advised me to have a try....as she attended that concert that was on that cd and was totally blown away by it......I still remember how I put that first song on Never Let go....a semi-accoustic version, and then the electric guitar kicks in....I realised that only in Rothery, Gilmour and Hackett I heard a playing that was so moving and was piercing through your heart so deeply. So I brought the cd.....and got completely hooked......and must have played it a 1000 times or more.  I was about to discover so much more great stuff....Ice, and ultimatly Lady Fantasy.....From there I moved to Stationarry Traveller, Pressure Points, Nude, and eventuually the rest....through my cousin who owned must of the other albums, saw Camel even on the ST tour....he was a member of our team..as a Radio crew for a local radio prgram that was dedicated to progessive rock.....and was called 'The Musical Box'.  By then it was about time that Camel was releasing his next studio album Harbour Of Tears..............
 
When it came in, in the store I was working...It was a very very cold winter..lots of snow....and when the deliverer left I opened the crate....put it on.....the player...and once again was completely blown of my socks. What an enormous guitarsound in that second track..........truly...truly......awsome...I called my friend and told him to hold on...cos I had something that he should hear..so I razed the horn, putted the music on a bit louder and.....let him listen.......till this day he still seaks about this and (even on the phone, it blew him away completely). We kept on...listening other songs.....often added Camel songs in our playlist.....and many made it to Classic of the week, such as Nimrodel, Lady Fantasy, Never Let Go, Ice and pieces of the Snow Goose.
 
Eventually Camel went on tour......and I went to the show in Utrecht.....what a night. 165 minutes of pure euphoria.......an integral version of Harbour Of Tears and before and after all the classics (more than is on Coming Of Age, as atleast 2 songs from Snowgoose, Never Let Go and Lady Fantasy are missing) were played with a passion and a dedication that I had only seen a few times before that. As this was not enough yet I had the honour of meeting Latimer after the show, as he just walked out of his dressingroom to chat with his fans.....such an enormously nice guy...really. I signed a few cd's..and we took pictures together, really cool. On the Rajaz tour....I saw them again....once again (even while Latimer was not allowed to sing) still an amazing concert. Especially since this time they had added songs of ST and the version of Lady Fantasy with the extended Hamond Solo is now legendary....as can be heard on the Paris Collection...Too bad only I didn't Latimer again....
 
However...on the Outcast Of An Island (also a really good album) Tour I meet Colin several times....and when he was playing close to where I live we just were about to do our 200th broadcast....and he and Dave Stewart decide to come over to our studio and they recorded the whole 2 hour show with us together....He opened the show himself.....played a few songs live, like Denpasar Moon and did a lot of talking in between, very very nice.
 
Unfortunatly Camel went on tour after that only once....and I didn't even know it....it was not untill much later that I founded that out....and now......a tour is something I think that will never happen......not to mention a new album......
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 20 2009 at 13:23

"this is the effect Camel has on many many people"

It is so great to hear that other people also get moved so deeply. There are more people that I know that like their music a lot, but they are not as obsessed as I am. At least that is how it feels right now. For that you have to be on a music forum I guess.

"Never Lety Go (from the D&D tour)"

I heard others say indeed that is the best performance of Never let go. I will have to search for that too then. Exciting actually, that I know so much of them already and still there is so much more I do not know yet. Like with the performance of Ice. I like it on the album, I must have heard it many times, but when I heard the version of the '97 tour on Youtube, I was totally disturbed. Unbelievable that music can do that, it really moves me so.

"piercing through your heart so deeply"

Yes, piercing through my heart!

"So I brought the cd.....and got completely hooked"

And hooked indeed.

"and must have played it a 1000 times or more"

Okay, you win, that is indeed a whole lot. But so glad I am not the only one who listens to some music so many times.

"through my cousin who owned must of the other albums, saw Camel even on the ST tour"

I saw them there too. It had such an impression on me. The whole sphere had something that I could not describe, unescapable or something like that, totally overwhelming. And hearing the dvd again a few weeks ago, brought very much back that feeling. But still it was different from hearing Ice. And also different from hearing Lady Fantasy from the dvd Moondances. I am trying to get the differences clear for myself by writing about it, trying to understand it.

"What an enormous guitarsound in that second track..........truly...truly......awsome"

I looked to find what was the second track on there, was that Hymn to Her? Because indeed there I also was so very much surprised by the sound of that guitar when I found that on Youtube. I never had that so much with the song on the album, but here the guitar again was so very moving.

"what a night. 165 minutes of pure euphoria"

Wow, would I have wanted to be there!

"were played with a passion and a dedication"

Yes, passion and dedication, are indeed words to use. Thank you so much for sharing your story, so good to hear others who are that fascinated about their music!




Edited by Anthe - January 20 2009 at 13:25
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 21 2009 at 03:32
Originally posted by Anthe Anthe wrote:

"this is the effect Camel has on many many people"

It is so great to hear that other people also get moved so deeply. There are more people that I know that like their music a lot, but they are not as obsessed as I am. At least that is how it feels right now. For that you have to be on a music forum I guess.

"Never Lety Go (from the D&D tour)"

I heard others say indeed that is the best performance of Never let go. I will have to search for that too then. Exciting actually, that I know so much of them already and still there is so much more I do not know yet. Like with the performance of Ice. I like it on the album, I must have heard it many times, but when I heard the version of the '97 tour on Youtube, I was totally disturbed. Unbelievable that music can do that, it really moves me so.

"piercing through your heart so deeply"

Yes, piercing through my heart!

"So I brought the cd.....and got completely hooked"

And hooked indeed.

"and must have played it a 1000 times or more"

Okay, you win, that is indeed a whole lot. But so glad I am not the only one who listens to some music so many times.

"through my cousin who owned must of the other albums, saw Camel even on the ST tour"

I saw them there too. It had such an impression on me. The whole sphere had something that I could not describe, unescapable or something like that, totally overwhelming. And hearing the dvd again a few weeks ago, brought very much back that feeling. But still it was different from hearing Ice. And also different from hearing Lady Fantasy from the dvd Moondances. I am trying to get the differences clear for myself by writing about it, trying to understand it.

"What an enormous guitarsound in that second track..........truly...truly......awsome"

I looked to find what was the second track on there, was that Hymn to Her? Because indeed there I also was so very much surprised by the sound of that guitar when I found that on Youtube. I never had that so much with the song on the album, but here the guitar again was so very moving.

"what a night. 165 minutes of pure euphoria"

Wow, would I have wanted to be there!

"were played with a passion and a dedication"

Yes, passion and dedication, are indeed words to use. Thank you so much for sharing your story, so good to hear others who are that fascinated about their music!


 
It is fantastic to see such passion for Camel, whether it being live or studio material, recognising such an important band in the history of prog in this way makes for some great reading. Keep up on sharing your great insight....now I must track down a good live version of Airborn to watch.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 21 2009 at 04:27
when I saw your add and read it all through.....I could only do one thing.....put on a Camel CD and listen to it. So I putted on Mirage.....remains one of my favorites for sure.
 
The song on Harbour Of Tear with the blasting guitar is the second song on Harbour Of Tears, first Irish Air....that beautifull vocals and then Irish Air (instrumental) a flute...and then the roaring guitar is blasting around you ears...just out of the blue....what an experience.......But when I listened to it.....the entire album is full of amazing guitarwork.....And Listen to Watching The Bobbins....for example...That bridge....so amazing.....But the vocals are also so beautifull on this album....Like Eyes Of Ireland......And I like the duo vocals that Andy and Colin do together like in Send Home The Slates.....so beautifull, so touching.  
 
I guess Andrew is using alot of Lower G in his guitar, and holds them on.....very long....Hmmm I was so overwelmed that I even forget to pay attention to this on the concerts....and I didn't ask him when I meet him....Too bad.
 
Im happy that you saw Camel live....for a moment I had the feeling you just discovered Camel and missed them out. My boss/friend always told me...Listening to Camel on CD is one thing....seeing them live is even more overwelming....and she was so right....I was hooked to their albums but after I saw them live, especially the first time....I needed to recover for months.....Not very much bands ever had this feeling on me....Perhaps only Roger Waters in 2002 (it was just to much for me to see the master perform all of this songs in a show that was pushing near the 3 hours) or Anekdoten, cos it was the first time I ever saw a band perform with a Mellotron on stage....and I had to wait so long to see them, finally.
 
The version of Never Let Go on Never Let Go is indeed very good. I didn't know many people regard as the best version that is around. I can only say that I saw them performing Never Let Go 2 times in its normal way.....Like it was recorded (I think also on On The Road 81) on the album back then...and I always thought this version is amazing too. However the NLG version is different and the guitar is more spectaculair, or atleast thats how it sounds because the first part is accoustic, so that it emphasis the electric guitar solo more because of the first accoustic part....when its chanching...and keyboards are building up.....its beautifully buidling up to a climax, then the guitar kicks in and evetually the drums........Yes, really amazing too, but it always gave me a bit of the feeling that it are 2 seperate songs in this version. But Andy's guitarplaying is so amazing in this version, especially near the end.....and so fast...and can you imagine that this was the first song I ever heard of them ?
 
About playing it a 1000 times, I must tell you that I had to change Never Let Go....to an new version after a few years cos the cd was played too many times, took it to too many places....
 
As musicians.......I think Camel is highly underestimated...especially Andy as a guitarplayer.....People always praise Gilmour for his sound, but Andrew's sound is much simular but too bad its not so known outside of Prog Circles. People around the world hail the end part of Comfortably Numb, but perhaps a very simular kind of solo Ice, is much better....and indeed when I heard that I also thought....how in all heaven can there be players that can do that........but they did...and thank God atleast in within Prog Circles Ice is standing out as one of the hallmarks of guitarplaying.
 
Personally I only regretted one thing.....and that is the departure of Mickey Simmonds. Just as with his work with Fish (everytime Fish is recording an album with him, its a full house...not to mention the tours he joined Fish....and turned around old Marillion songs as Incubus in such amazing pieces of music (Kelly Eat Your Heart Out) like the middle part before 'You can Brush e Under The Carpet' part...so beautifull) and Dust And Dreams and Harbour Of Tears are no exceptions to this either......Both really snine cos of his contribution.....I would have liked to see Mickey play with Camel so much....In the Linear notes of Never Let Go, Andy wrote they were very worried about playing something as Dust And Dreams live, but 'Thank God Mickey can play with his feet.'  Its too bad that he decided to do other things again. But according to Colin, thats how Mickey is...always moving on....never sitting still, searing for new things and try other things. I remember one of my friends once told me that only a few people can actually work with him, because he is such a perfectionalist...and always whereever he is always moving his hands like is playing piano.  However......he recorded 2 great albums with Camel.  
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 21 2009 at 08:33
This discussion goes quite deep, but did make me stop and think again why Camel has always been one of my favorites. Two things emerge: One, they can  go from very light to very heavy and vice versa in a totally seamless, almost effortless way, more than almost any other band. Second is their true ensamble playing. Maybe lack of ego, but you have very little of the extended solo/jamming, which I think many bands do to use up concert time, as much as show off their skills. I am a drummer and worship Carl Palmer, but even I get bored with his endless solos.......
 
I always wondered why Camel was not more popular when they were at their peak. The music too complicated, poor marketing, lack of touring enough? I just don't know. BTW, I did see them twice, one in London 1975 and then in Osaka, Japan; how they got there I don't know but they played in a warehouse in 1997or so. Them live is what concerts are all about.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 21 2009 at 10:22
A complete lack of ego....indeed...how easy it is to aproach it is to approach them...how open they are and how friendly or even funny they are. I think I will never forget Colin's statement 'Bass is the name, base is the game.' But yes I think its true....more bands could take an example to them....and should do what they do and leave all the show stuff at home.....Camel never cared for their complete lack of charisma......they just did what they could do best....and that is to play.....And over the years Andrew brought some remarkable musicians together for his albums, but certainly also for the tours.
 
If only they go on tour again.......and showed us the light for one more time..................But Im afraid Andy's health will not allow this.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 21 2009 at 13:58

Quote

now I must track down a good live version of Airborn to watch.
 
 
 
Chris, I would love to hear it, if you find that one live! I haven't found it yet and was wondering if they actually did it live at all.


Edited by Anthe - January 21 2009 at 13:59
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 21 2009 at 14:42

"So I putted on Mirage.....remains one of my favorites for sure".

Yes, mine too. I do not have it myself anymore, but fortunately it is on Deezer. And I have listened to it a lot already lately.
 
"Irish Air (instrumental) a flute...and then the roaring guitar is blasting around you ears...just out of the blue....what an experience".

 
Is this the one (I hope it works) indeed truly amazing. For the rest I hardly know anything from that album. But I bought the dvd, so I hope to hear (and see) it all soon, I can hardly wait.

"I guess Andrew is using alot of Lower G in his guitar, and holds them on.....very long"

Although I hardly know anything about music theory or guitar technics, I also would be more than interested to know what he does different from others. What makes his sound so special. It must have something to do with a sort of melancholic quality and indeed, extending it all somehow.
 
"Yes, really amazing too, but it always gave me a bit of the feeling that it are 2 seperate songs in this version".

Well, sometimes the only way I recognise Never let go is with the beginning and the lyrics, as indeed it everytime seems so very different. On the dvd Moondances it is also played in the 1977 concert, but is hard to recognise. And seems very different from other videos I found, the one from the Stationary Traveller tour and an old one from 1973 where I read the sound is the original from the single, so not really live.
 
"People around the world hail the end part of Comfortably Numb, but perhaps a very simular kind of solo Ice, is much better....and indeed when I heard that I also thought....how in all heaven can there be players that can do that".

That is what I also thought a lot lately, it is really beyond me how someone can play like that. Funny that you mention Comfortably Numb. The only (not classical) concert I ever have ever  been to (besides Camel in '84 en '92 or so), was Pink Floyd somewhere in the 90's. And a while ago I found on Youtube a video of Comfortably Numb, which was always one of my favourites. And now I know it must have had to do with the guitar indeed, I never realised that so much. But it was nowhere near what I felt when I heard Ice again. 
 
"Personally I only regretted one thing.....and that is the departure of Mickey Simmonds".

I am only just beginning to know who played when and what. But right now I find it all very interesting, especially to see the similarity between the history of the band and the way the music evolves. Most amazing!


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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 21 2009 at 15:37
Originally posted by Drummerboy Drummerboy wrote:

One, they can  go from very light to very heavy and vice versa in a totally seamless, almost effortless way, more than almost any other band. Second is their true ensamble playing. Maybe lack of ego
 
Yes, I very much agree. To me it feels like a constantly going through emotions in a very natural and constructive way.

And ensamble playing indeed.  It was very remarkable to see the difference between the 1976 concert of Moonmadness and the 1977 concert of Raindances. It is so different. On the first one they are all very confident and play perfectly together, a true highlight, but each very much within their own role. On the other one they are so very much searching and finding a way to play together. And at that point it did not go to well, but I think it was a very important point of progress as a group.

And lack of ego, it very much seems that way. I love to see that possible with strong and skillful personalities. Somehow it gives the idea of so much unique talent that there is no need for showing off. And that with a strong drive of just having to do what you have to do. Well, something like that...

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 22 2009 at 03:27
Yes, perfect !!! Live I think its even better......oooh I love that sound. First that flute (Andy is a very skillfull fluteplayer as we'll) I think since yesterday I played that song already several times.......so beautifull.  
 
We'll Im not a guitarplayer either, I only hald 6 months of lessons...so I only know a few things....so I think we need an expert on this....But another reason is that especially the last years Andy is almost always using a Fender Stratocaster guitar, while in early times (or atleast that can be seenm on photo's / concerts) he is mainly playing a Gibson Les Paul. This can also explains why songs sometimes can sound different. I have this DVD's at home in NL (I live in Ireland now) so I cannot check it for now....but I will as soon as I get home.....What I understand is that with a Fender the sound sounds almost always more singing (like Gilmour and Clapton that also mainly use a Fender...so thats why the sounds are sounding very simular......especially on Comfortably Numb this can be heard very good), Gilmour always plays a red Strat, while Clapton sold his guitar that is called Blackie because its a black Strat for almost a million US dollars on an oction (he used the same guitar for years....tours and recorded the legendary Derek & The Dominoes album with that). Andy's on the last 2 tours was always black too. Another very clear way where you can hear how different they sound is the way Firth Or Fifth is played. Hackett played it always on a Gibson in the early days....creating a very thin sound....listen to the solo on Selling England By The Pound for example and compare that with the same solo on the The Way We Walk or Live Over Europe, where the same solo is played by Daryl Steurmer on a Fender and where it sounds so blasting, almost bombastic and full. Santata and Knopfler mainly play costummade Pensa's (very expensive guitars) and Vai, Petrucci and Satriani play Ibanez......and someone like BB King is using alot of Gibson Lucille...all of them create a different sound and you can hear that very clearly sometimes. I never really liked the sound of a Ibanez.....but I really really love the Fender sound.....and with Camel for that matter you get more than you can dream off.
 
The high G sound can be extended to so far and so high that its almost unbarable.....On The Division Bell of Pink Floyd for example you can hear a bit of this in certain songs as Cluster One and Marooned. According to an interview back then with Rick Wright. Gilmour had a special device on his guitar that made him abble to sound every note thee tones high than the actually not that was played. Apart from that he often used a steel pedal Guitar (as in High Hopes or One Of These Days) Although I highly doubt that....its possible that Andy is using such devices (although Im 100% sure he doesn't play Steel Guitar)...and for the rest its also relevant if he had a tremolor or a Floyd Rose on his guitar.......as with the last you can hold on a certain tone for much much longer (but its also more tricky cos the strings can break easier)........Neither way...Im sure he is using certain tricks and devices so that created this unique sound that we all admire so much. But I dont think that Andy plays costum guitars like Gilmour and Clapton do.
 
That one song can be played on so many different ways really shows the skill of a band I might say...Its truly amazing that they give another rendition evertime they play it......I think that makes it interesting for fans to go to their concerts, buy more DVD's etc. (has anone ever heard the 23 minute version of Shine On part 2 that was played during the Animals Tour of Pink Floyd ?) cos often versions they play later sound better or more flued.....So what they did with Never Let go in 1993 was indeed really interesting. During the last tour to promote Rajez they also played accoustic versions of a few songs, just like the really emotional and very sensitive Fingertips....a song that to me stands out very much cos it hardly contains any guitar but instead only bass, sax and piano.....very wonderfull song. I think songs can sound different but indeed the albums are very different freom each other too. Or even the songs on the same album can be so different. I really love that...An album as Rajez for example contains such typical Camel sound songs as Three Wishes but also beautifull accoustic songs as Straight Through My Heart.
 
Whenever I talk about it...I want to listen to it. Thank God I copies the entire collection (except A Nod In The Wink, (dont ask me why) while I even own it on cd) to my Ipod before I left to Ireland.....So I can skip through freely when we talk about certain songs.....Having said that...I must say that the remasters are reaklly good .......an album as Mirage sounds so much better this way. So today...I should get into A Live Record.....I can't even remember how long it has been since I heard the entire Snow Goose. Thinking about that....that was recorded in the Royal Albert Hall......so once Camel must be quite hot......much hotter than nowadays (although always sold out) where they preferable like to play in smaller venues.
 
People that like Camel also should try Caravan...The remastered version of In The Land Of Grey And Pink is quite easy to find on the internet and really simular sound....or it reminded me so much Camel all the time (without Andy's guitars ofcourse).
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 22 2009 at 15:37
 
"I played that song already several times.......so beautifull."   
 
Well, if you are in Ireland now, it must be even more special!
 

"so I think we need an expert on this"

Yes, I think so too. On Youtube I came across a guitar teacher who talked about the beginning of Never let go. He said something like 'this is a very special technique' something like up-up-down, or something like that.

 
"I never really liked the sound of a Ibanez.....but I really really love the Fender sound.....and with Camel for that matter you get more than you can dream off."

I doubt that I can hear differences between those guitars, but maybe it is something you just hear anyway and what makes that you like it without knowing that.

 
"Im sure he is using certain tricks and devices so that created this unique sound that we all admire so much."
 
Well, it certainly must be so. But while watching the videos I also got very much the impression that he almost inhales every note. He very much gives the impression of having a special hearing for that. It is as if he is listening constantly if it does sound like it has to. And adjusting with every movement. Maybe all musicians do that and I never noticed it before, but with him it is so visible in his whole expression.
 
 
"23 minute version of Shine On"

Very interesting, I didn't know that. I only know it from the album Delicate sound of Thunder, but there it is much shorter indeed.

 
"really emotional and very sensitive Fingertips....a song that to me stands out very much cos it hardly contains any guitar but instead only
bass, sax and piano.....very wonderfull song."

Yes, very sensitive song. They did that one on the '84 tour too.

 
"An album as Rajez for example contains such typical Camel sound songs as Three Wishes but also beautifull accoustic songs as Straight Through My Heart."

I just got to have that one!

 
"I should get into A Live Record.....I can't even remember how long it has been since I heard the entire Snow Goose. Thinking about that....that was recorded in the Royal Albert Hall"

A Life Record is indeed such a great album, I always loved it. I just found out there is also a remastered version, I don't know if you have that one. It also has a part of the '77 concert Raindances and a spoken introduction to the Snow Goose by Peter Bardens. The Snow Goose sounds just so fantasic with the orchestra. Also there are two songs extra at the end, the White Rider and Another Night. A bit strange at first to hear them right after the Snow Goose.

 
"People that like Camel also should try Caravan...The remastered version of In The Land Of Grey And Pink is quite easy to find on the internet
and really simular sound"

I found that now and indeed it has a certain similar sound, at first hearing I liked Nine Feet Underground. I will have to listen again, but this way I never get away from the computer! 



Edited by Anthe - January 22 2009 at 15:38
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 23 2009 at 03:33

We'll I must say I never thought of that untill my wife remarked the fact that alot of the songs on Harbour Of Tears are actually quite depressing.....and then I explained her that its logical if you realize its about the harbour in Ireland from which so many people left in search for a better life in America. And although I discussed this subject before with friends I didn't realize utill then that I am in Ireland right now, what indeed makes it more special; because of the so Irish atmosphere of the album......

The way guitars sound is indeed not always equally obvious...cos perhaps to a certain extend there is some overlap...but its really good to hear in alot of occassions...like the examples I gave above, but Im sure I can come up with much more. But the reason why I named Ibanaz its sounding so cold and not warm like Fender or Gibson....Perhaps the fact that Ibanez is mainly used by metal and rock bands breatkly contributes to the lack of emotion. I love Dream theatre, amazinglyu skilled people...perhaps a few of the most skilled people in the new prog steam if you count out the old ones, like the member of ELP, Yes or King Crimson......what in my opinion is going in the direction of art, rather than making music. But what I cannot digest with DT is thier complete lack of emotion. I tend to believe that a band is or creative or technical skilled...An album like The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway is an example of a greatly creative band playing on your emotion as deep as it can (mainly deu the use of Mellotron and guitar), and Brain Salad Surgery an album of Greatly technical skilled people, but completely dead in emotion. DT, tends to fall in that last category....and as I keep on believing....its mainly due the coldness and the absence of emotion in the guitarsolo's that is causing this (meet many many people that made the same remark about to DT)....and no matter who you name that play Ibanez, always it seems that the solo's its creating remain cold...so I came to the conclusion that it must be the sound of that guitar.....especially if you contradict it to a Fender or a Gibson......But a Fender has this capability to create that amazing feeling in your lower stomach.......and to me that is what ultimatly music is about, in my opinion..........Camel does that....over and over.....
 
About inhailing every note....its a very interesting way of putting it......if you recall the faces of Andrew (sometimes looks like a monkey (talking about complete lack of charisma and get in higher spheres on your own music)) is drawing...quite funny actually from time to time then it looks indeed like he does something like that. And he is quite notorious for drawing all these strange faces. But the result is indeed an extremely emotional piece of music.
 
The long version of Shine on (part 2) is something only people heard that own bootlegs of the Animals tour. And then still they must own the right concerts, cos not always it was played so long, while it other times it was even longer than 23 min.....But they are quite easy to find on the net....But yes, I hold up the opinion that Gilmour was never before and never again so much on fire as during the Animals tour. Animals is really Gilmours moment to shine....and he does that with great admiration.........There is one particulair concert, the notorious one in Montreal 77, that I can recomand....as the band (mainly Roger) got into conflict with the audiennce because of someone litting fireworks during the concert, and Roger spits someone in the face they....play their anger out in the songs, which resulted in versions that were extremely passionate and a band that was literly on fire......so that eventually songs are stretched out and played much more agressive....and with the second part of Shine On this extremely obvious when they go on and on and on.........The only problem is that there is never a Soundboard recording made of any of the gigs, so that in all those years allof what we heard are audience recordings......although some of them are really good, like the Oakland Show (where they played a spectaculair version of Carefull with that Axe, Eugene (last time it was ever played).........So if Gilmour has his day.......he can play like hell, but that also counts for Clapton.....if he pulls out all stops....you also dont know what you hear....Ever heard the Fillmore recordings of Derek & The Dominoes.............Wow !!! And then I have not even begun to talk about the all time greatest player in the world Jimi Hendrix................Interestingly all of them are mainly Fender players.....so perhaps I have a secret passion for it....yes.
 
If I remember correctly Stationarry Traveller was the second album I explored after Never Let Go.......and I think you can imagine I founded especially a song as Fingertips a cold bath, It really surprised me......and loved it instantly.....To me it stands out as a really different side of Camel.....And like it was played on the Rajez Tour....accoustic....with Colin singing (I lways ask myself the question who's vocals I like more Andy or Colin) so beautifull.......But then Stationarry Traveller is one of my favorite albums......Songs as Vopos or West Berlin.....If there was one thing I regretted than it was that during the Harbour Of Tear Tour there was not even one song of this album.....
 
I must say Im very jealous of you....seeing them on this tour....Judging on Pressure Points and a bootleg I have with a complere concert of this tour it must have been such an amazing concert too.
 
Rajez is amazing !!! Another album I played God knows how many times. Really.....but during the tour they only did a few songs of this album....regretfully....Also the theme (I think its inspired by the historical figure Lawrence Of Arabia) is very interesting. My T-shirt of that tour.....on the back is stating ' We are known for the tracks that we leave behind.'  Could it more apropriate ?
 
I have the remastered version of A Live Record...Many of the people of this site regard it as one of the best live recordings ever recorded. And yes when I listened to it yesterday.......fantastic indeed......that live version of Never Let Go......that inmprovisationpart before the actual solo of Andy Kicks of...fantastic.....and....the rest is realy good to.....and Snowgoose....is very very beautifull.....and yes I alosy felt strange about the 2 songs after this....but I guess it was a space related descision to do that............And the remaster is really good too......what I recall from the original...much better than that.
 
Caravan....Yes...very nice albums.....although untill now I only know In The Land Of Grey And Pink, what is regarded by most as thier magus opus......I just founded out that Jan Schelhaas who is a Caravan member was in Camel when they made I Can See Your House From here......So that can explain the crossover sound......
 
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 23 2009 at 16:01
 
 
"songs on Harbour Of Tears are actually quite depressing"

One more reason for me to get this album then, in general I very much like 'depressing' music!

 

"I tend to believe that a band is or creative or technical skilled"  "But a Fender has this capability to create that amazing feeling in your lower stomach"

I think you make some very interesting remarks about creativity, technical skills and emotional music. Personally I find that one of the most interesting things about music, well of human development and natural human reactions in general. And I think it is very interesting what you say about the difference in guitars. 

Personally I have been thinking about it in relation to classical music and was wondering what makes me like certain music so much. There also I have this music I just can not stop listening to. And I thought I found a certain pattern, but then the guitar messed it all up. Because until just recently I had no idea that the guitar in Camel music was what made me like it so much.

 

"get in higher spheres on your own music"

Yes, that is exactly the impression it gives. And the most amazing thing about it is that he totaly reacts to the music, and his mood and expression change immediately if the music does. Like in Lady Fantasy on the Moondances dvd, it is a very long time he is in these 'higher spheres'. The whole middle part is like that and is so amazing to watch. He is sort of searching for each next note. Very withdrawn and totally not aware of his surrounding. Then he starts to sing again, which brings him back to reality a bit. But as soon as the lyrics are done he looks aside with a look like 'lets get started' and the whole band gets euforic, gets in a sort of trance. A total change of energy, just like the energy also radically changed at the end of the guitarsolo. Just fascinating!

 

"play their anger out in the songs, which resulted in versions that were extremely passionate and a band that was literly on fire"

Recently there was a documentary about Pink Floyd on tv. I saw it only partly, but it was most interesting to see the very different characters of the group. So I can very well imagen that passonate playing indeed. I will have to see if it is repeated, because I would love to see the beginning that I missed.

 

"Songs as Vopos or West Berlin"

I also like Vopos and West Berlin, but I don't think they are conscidered their best. I am curious to read the reviews about that album here on Prog Archives, but I try to stay a bit focussed on another blogpost so I read only those reviews for now. There is such a very rich archive here, that, if I do not restrict myself, I spent far to much time reading reviews. 
 

 
 
"We are known for the tracks that we leave behind."

I just love that quote.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 26 2009 at 04:14

I think Camel (and with them many different bands) are on their best...and I think that if you are looking for pure emotion and drama...you can only go for the depressive songs....I never really liked the happy songs of The Cure, but their depressive songs are penomenal.......And I think the same would go for a band as Genesis...Harrel The Barrel......is a funny experiment.....but...the real masterpieces...are often gloomy, dark....and sad...After all it is depression and sadness that often bring artist to their higest level of creativity. Such as Clapton who write Tears In Heaven...and after that a masterpiece of an album Pilgrim, all in the period after his son fell of a balcony (quite touching by the way how he writes about this in his biography)...so yes...Harbour Of Tears is about a rather sad subject and it shows in the music.

I guess like most people you like drama.....do you ? I have the feeling you are very we'll up to date with classical music...I never really got very deep in that...I must say...But I have my preference with it comes to composers. When I was still studying philosophy....I had a fellow student that somehow had the ability to turn every after class talk in the a discussion about who is the best composer...I think because he knew I would put my cards on Beethoven and he on Bach....so we never tend to solve that conflicht..mainly because use different ways to judge on what was good music...he would say...Bach is the sumum, cos his technical abilities.....that reached farther than any other composer...what made him believe that this is a way of measuring what would be regarder as better music. Obviously he knew cos he was an organplayer himself and studies a substantial part of his life to learn to play many of Bach's Cantatas. I on the other hand....always said that the only way to jusge on good music is only if gives you that special feeling in your lower stomach...or in another way.....does it play in your emotion, can it change your mood....etc. That can only lead me straight to one classical composer and that is Beethoven.....The personification of the age of Romance.....made him write music that was nothing else but pure drama......Only listen to the opening of the 5th symphony.......totally overblown drama....that his you right in your face.... Maybe the other composers that come close are Wagner...and Mahler.
 
In this there is a difference in...if someone makes music himself...or not.....I dont know if you ever heard of Liquid Tension Experiment....I remember I had a talk with the guitarplayer of Quidam (also highly recomanable if you like Camel).....and he was literly freaking on LTE, but I thought...it was way too technical...and way to much showing off....Like see what I can do with my instrument and forget in the meantime that music is the highest for of art...simply because its all about emotion.
 
Its very interesting to see if musicians get into higher spheres on their own music....I gave alot of examples of Fender guitarplayers that are abble to play on your emotion.....but I did forgot the one that dragged me into progressive rock music....and that was Steven Rothery of Marillion......Another example of pure emotion and guitarplaying that is on part wih David Gilmour and Andrew Latimer....and also an example of someone who is dreaming away on his own solo's............Every noticed that alot of guitarplayers play their stuff with their eyes closed ? I saw Marillion a few times.....and Rothery is often doing doing this...so amazing too see.....I remember a interview with Mark Knopfler a while ago (should be around 1992, when he toured wiyh Dire Straits for the last time)....when they asked him...why do you always wear a  piece og cloth around your head....and he answered. 'When I dont...the sweat with leak in my eyes, and I can't see anymore what I am playing.' But then I saw him on that tour....in 1992...so often playing with his eyes closed or...like the intro of Money For Nothhing where he got a moment alone on stage and jam, most of the time he was looking in the other direction. Perhaps this kind of playing brings them in a trance........As David Gilmour....on the 1994 tour with Pink Floyd...he stood there on the stage.....bleak, looking absolutely bored....looking into the audience...but actually not looking at anything at all, cos he was in a complete trance....created by his own solo's....once again....particulary clear when he played the end of Comfortably Numb. Which was together with the ligh/laser show....nothing short than stellar.....and perhaps one of this extremely intense moments....
 
We'll yes....I think they were a really interesting band......with 4 extremely different personalities.....Perhaps not equally amazing and creative but certainly all done their fair share of contribution to the success of Pink Floyd.......And maybe some are indeed quite understimated....although no-one can deny that Roger was the driving force behind the band....and that so many people only want to see David Gilmour play guided  by a fantastic show......I read quite a couple of biographies over the years.....and they were indeed something......and sometimes I really think that its an absolute miracle that this band became eventually so extremely successfull.  Cos the music too obscure, songs that are often too long....a mainly album driven band.....and often far too complicated lyrics for normal people....but still they had that success....It really is puzzling to me why this could happen.
 
I highly doubt if ST in general will be acknowledgedas one of thier best albums....I always think that this right rather will go to Mirage or Snow Goose instead....but yes....I always liked ST alot.....maybe because its really an album that sounds out in realtion to the rest as different....more pollished perhaps....more an album with beautifull popsongs.....that only rarely knows moments of emotional guiratsolo's.......and a complete absence.....of pieces as Ice or anything like that.
 
Oh....you mentioned Lady Fantasy earlier.....a few days ago I was listening to The Paris Collection and I think this song has the best version of LF I have ever heard.......and indeed what I remember of that tour also....After the first couplet.......comes a Hammondsolo........totally amazing !!!!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 26 2009 at 17:47
Nice to see a post about Camel -- and a passionate one at that!
 
When I was just a little kid my brother played lots of music, loud enough to where people from afar would say "hey, I can hear your house from here" (sorry, bad in-joke).  Ahem, anyway, this is where certain music he played just resonated, not just through the foundations of the building but deep within me.   Genesis, Pink Floyd, Yes, Al Di Meola, Santana, etc.
 
And one other band, namely Camel.  At the time I didn't know anything about them, but I was hooked on this magical album of instrumental music called "Snow Goose".   No-one else I knew seemed to know much about them, but I didn't care about things like that then...or now.
 
Some time later when I put my first band together at the age of 16, we recorded a few long pieces of music that were mostly instrumental.  Someone asked me about influences and I said "Steve Hackett", to which they replied "sounds more like Camel".   So I went back and listened to my stuff with new ears and, of course, more Camel and fell in love with even more of their music. 
 
From that point on I went to see Camel play several times over the years, starting with a series of gigs down the road from where I lived, at Hammersmith Odeon in London in 1980, 1981, 1982.  And then much later in the USA in the late 1990's.
 
A truly underrated band indeed.  Sure, they've put out a few albums that are not on a par with the ultimate Snow Goose record which will forever be my favourite.  But there are classic songs throughout their career and sometimes when I'm in the mood for one of their songs, I end up listening to them for hours and hours and marvel at how truly moving their music can be.


Edited by VariousArtist - January 26 2009 at 17:48
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 27 2009 at 03:49

 

In my next blogpost, Cycle of life, I describe my impression of Lunar Sea from the Moonmadness album and recorded on the Moondances dvd. Again I am more than happy with any comment, here or on my blog. I really helps me understand and formulate my thoughts and feelings about the music better.   

http://www.camellive.com/2009/01/cycle-of-life

Next is Lunar Sea, which is on the album Moonmadness. I always liked that album a lot, most of all ‘Song within a Song’, ‘Spirit of the Water’ and especially ‘Air Born’. Air Born is one of those songs I can turn on repeat and listen to the whole evening, over and over again. And even with the volume up, you do not have to be alone in the room. Others like it too (well, maybe not as many times in a row) and it gives a real relaxing and special atmosphere which fills the whole room. I also like the lyrics here (and if the world keeps spinning round, you’ll be back again), which summarizes a bit my overall feeling of the whole album.

But when I watched the live videos, I started to appreciate the other tracks on the album much more. Two of them are on the dvd Moondances (Another Night and Lunar Sea) and at the moment I like them even more than my previous favourites, but that might easily change if I would find a live version of Air Born.

What I like most in Lunar Sea, is the gradually rising from a background, playing an impressive role, going over in a perfect combination of qualities and then gradually being taken over again to finish where it started.

In the concert Lunar Sea starts after The White Rider, which goes perfectly over from one song into another. The beginning gives a very specific mood, no real playing, actually more several sounds that fill the space. I never realised it so much before, but Andrews guitar is also very notable here and even plays a certain melody. I think it is something he does with his guitar what you can see very well in the middle part of Lady Fantasy. A sound as if he makes the guitar cry. And I think he does that here too, it is a sort of melody. Only very subtle and I am not sure because it could easily be another sound.

Apart from the sounds, it also is very special to watch the camerawork, which is just amazing. During the whole concert there are close ups and images mixed up all the time. Which at times gives a very special effect. Here with Lunar Sea you look at the drums moving and the players are reflected in them. You see Peter Bardens reflected in the drums and you see the face of Andrew Latimer showing up very subtle. Most is dark but some lights  stand out, especially Badens’ blouse, a white shining blouse which reflects many of the colours during the concert. It is just a pity that the bass player, Doug Ferguson, is hardly visible.

Then a rhythm starts with the keyboard and the drums, very soft at first and gradually increasing, the speed as well as the volume. And now the colours come in. On this video it is not so visible, but the colours are very bright and really impressive.

Then the sound of the guitar comes in very clear and several things happen at the same time, so you have no idea where to focus. First of course the sound of the guitar, it is just amazing. But at the same time your eyes get fixed on the expression on Latimers face, which again is in close up reflected in the drums. You can just watch the impact every tone has on him. Really very special to see. Then the camera moves away and you get a great look on his playing. He is still visible in the drums and very fixed on the sound of his guitar. You can see him react to every note. Then it seems that he is getting it and all instruments are coming together again.

Then the keyboard takes over and the rest is very relaxing supportive. Again great camera work with pictures through each other and beautiful colours reflected in the drums and the blouse. Then a focus on the drums and the speed goes up.
Now the guitar comes in again but this time much more playing his own tune. As if he is trying things out, but even though is fantastically followed by rest. It really sounds great together. Then the speed goes up even further and somehow it become a coherent repeating melody which goes on for a while.

I think this is my favourite part of Lunar Sea. Although the guitar is really going on with it, tends to escape and do very much what he wants, still it is followed by the rest and not just that, even very much complementing it. To me it sounds as this is what playing together is all about. It sounds very confident, melodic and powerful. But also a perfect coming together of instruments.

Then the speed and volume gradually decreases and all is taken over again by the sounds of nature. And Lunar Sea will almost unnoticeable go over in the next ones, Preparation and Dunkirk from the album the Snow Goose.

So Lunar Sea reminds me of the whole Story of the Snow Goose, which also has this increasing, playing its part and decreasing again. And I like that very much. It has this undeniable rhythm of life in it. Given as a very clear structure, but within that structure there is all freedom for experiment. And because they are so good together, it sounds amazing.

 
 


Edited by Anthe - February 14 2009 at 05:24
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