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Pendragon - Live At Last ... And More CD (album) cover





4.18 | 65 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars Boys on film

For understandable reasons, Pendragon do not tend to tour much in their home country of the UK. Over the years, anyone from these parts who has wished to see them has been pretty much compelled to travel to London for one of their occasional gigs. As with many other British neo-prog bands their greater success in continental Europe has however made touring there a viable proposition. It is ironic therefore that my first visual experience of this find band live is through seeing this recording of a concert recorded in Poland in 1996.

The gig was part of the "Masquerade overtour", to promote the then current album of similar name. Not surprisingly, tracks from that album ("The Masquerade overture") feature heavily and dominate the performance. Since this was in my book probably Pendragon's best album, it follows that the DVD is also highly enjoyable.

Things get even better though, as the audio and visual qualities here are excellent, putting the efforts of many others to shame. The 5.1 surround sound is clean and well balanced, while the directing of the filming shows an awareness of the band's music which means that the shot moves to the appropriate soloist or performer at exactly the right moment.

The stage set is colourful and artistic reflecting the wonderful sleeve images of their albums, but the band do not resort to face-paint or pyrotechnics, preferring to let the music speak for itself. There is a palpable enthusiasm throughout the band, who are clearly proud of the new material they are presenting. The highlight for me is the wonderful "The shadow", a true epic of prog which blends symphonic, neo-prog and other styles with some fine melodies to create a masterpiece of the genre.

While Nick Barrett is highly visible centre stage on guitar and vocals (he insists in the interview it is not his band), Clive Nolan slips in some great keyboard solos along with his usual waves of layered sounds. Peter Gee (bass) and Fudge Smith (drums) complete the line up.

The DVD has a number of extras including a rare Nick Barrett pop video where he looks like a Duran Duran member (I was going to say reject, but that would be unfair!). There is also a lengthy interview with Barrett filmed in the back of a pub. Barrett manages make his answers rather more interesting than the rather uninspired questions of the Polish interviewer.

In all, a superb DVD both in terms of content and quality of production. It only serves to emphasise though what it pity it is that this great band do not enjoy greater incentives to tour more widely.

Easy Livin | 5/5 |


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