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Pendragon - Concerto Maximo CD (album) cover





4.02 | 98 ratings

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3 stars Concerto Maximo captures a Pendragon concert in Poland - where they've enjoyed strong support since the early 1990s, and so could be assured of a friendly crowd - which happened hot on the heels of the release of Pure. So fresh was the Pure material, in fact, that despite wanting to play Indigo the band decided to leave it off the set this time because they simply hadn't had time to rehearse a live performance of it.

Still, the new album is well-represented by Eraserhead, Freak Show, and It's Only Me: the real question here is how the Pure cuts end up slotting in alongside earlier material, given the shift in sound that album presented. As it happens, it works out fine. It helps that this is new drummer Scott Higham's first live album with the band, and his more forceful style already helps give a new twist to the old songs, and the band show good taste in where to tweak their older material to better fit the new style (the version of Walls of Babylon here teases out a disquiet not evident in the original, for instance) and where to keep things true to their former approach (The Voyager being a good example of the latter).

The end result is a set which skillfully interweaves old and new material to more clearly reveal the Pure material as an evolution of what came before, and to tease something new out of the well-worn songs. With each studio album from as far back as Kowtow represented, plus a deep cut in the form of Sister Bluebird from the Fallen Dreams and Angels EP, it packs in a wide variety of material, and with a running time of some two and a half hours you get a nice substantial concert for your money. Indeed, it feels a little long - had it been trimmed back a bit more you'd have an amazing two hours here, but I find myself flagging partway through.

Warthur | 3/5 |


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