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Renaissance - Live At Carnegie Hall CD (album) cover

LIVE AT CARNEGIE HALL

Renaissance

 

Symphonic Prog

4.26 | 223 ratings

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Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Prog Specialist
5 stars How to describe Renaissance for those who haven't listened them yet? Well the best way is giving them a copy of Live at the Carnegie Hall, because some bands are better on stage, others are worst, but Renaissance is just as good in both situations.

All the tracks are perfectly selected, almost as if this album was the best of Renaissance, they maintain the same spirit and atmosphere than in their original versions with the addition to listen the reaction of the audience.

But what is Renaissance? Maybe the most symphonic of the bands with an evident folk and classical influence that can hardly be compared with another progressive group.

Most people believe the wonderful Annie Haslam is 90% of the band, but they forget John Tout's impressive keyboards and amazing piano solos, Michael Dunford's efficient guitar (Better than on studio), Terrence Sullivan precise drumming and Joe Camp who adds strength with his bass, a complete band that represents the perfect example of what Symphonic Progressive means.

But back to Annie, there's not much to say about her voice that haven't been said before, she's by large one of the best female voices in all genres, well educated and sweet, sings with equal strength the symphonic Sheherezade as the folksy Carpet on the Sun, a complete vocalist.

All the tracks of this album are near perfection, but the ones that have impressed me most are:

Prologue: The first song I ever heard by this band and gave me the need to listen more of their stuff, a perfect opener for any concert or album, the piano introduction is simply astonishing, full of strength with a perfect backup by the drums and Annie's choirs, totally different to most Renaissance tracks but at the same time shows as how good and versatile they are.

Ocean Gypsy is a beautiful ballad where Annie's voice is obviously the center of attention, even when the rest of the band and The New York Philharmonic Orchestra enhance the music and vocals; the attention of the listener is based in the soft and sweet interpretation that Annie gives.

Can You Understand is another almost perfect song, opened by John Tout's piano and perfectly followed by all the band where John Camp's bass adds strength, this strong intro goes for three minutes when the music suddenly gets softer to let Annie Haslam does her part creating a very pleasant contrast between the powerful and electric intro and the acoustic mood that backups her voice. Around the middle, the band changes the mood again creating an Oriental atmosphere, which leads to another vocal section, but the best comes at the end, another frantic passage with the whole Band and Orchestra giving 110% of them. Ten minutes of Progressive Rock, simply incredible.

Another track that impressed me very much is Mother Russia, which represents carefully many aspects of that country, from the greatness of their monuments and buildings like The Kremlin to the sadness of their hard geography and weather. But again the most incredible achievement of the band is their versatility to change styles and influences from one song to another.

Of course no review about this album will be complete without some words about Song of Sheherezade, probably their most famous epic based in the 1001 Arabian Nights which the band describes before the track, don't ask me where did Renaissance added almost 5 minutes to the original version (which is only 24 minutes long) because I have no idea but that's not very important like saying that the song is full of changes, Orchestral passages plus male and female vocal sections that come one after another as if it was a musical collage, once again they achieve their goal to create a realistic Arabian atmosphere that fits perfectly with the story and lyrics, by far the best song of the album and probably from their whole career.

After listening Live at Carnegie Hall, I can't understand why Renaissance doesn't get the recognition that they deserve, because this album is a masterpiece that every progressive fan must own. Without any doubt I give 5 stars to the album.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 5/5 |

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