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Galahad - Sleepless In Phoenixville - RoSfest Live 2007 CD (album) cover





3.90 | 20 ratings

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Symphonic Team
4 stars Sleepless yes, but Sleepers is still here!

Galahad is a band I have always had mixed feelings about. With a history that goes back to the mid 80's they have certainly made several really great songs, but there sometimes seems to be a problem in the quality control department of the band. On this excellent double live album they stay firmly on their best side by selecting some of their best ever material and performing it with a passion and energy that the band rarely showcased before. They perform here in front of an American audience that seem to appreciate what they hear (and I see no reason why they should not).

The band performs here nine songs in total all of which are above ten minutes in length. Four songs are taken from the most recent Galahad studio album, Empires Never Last. From Year Zero the four-part title track (on which John Wetton guested on the studio version) is featured while the lovely Bug Eye represents the Following Ghosts album. My favourite Galahad studio album is Sleepers and that album is represented with two great songs; the brilliant title track (my #1 favourite Galahad song) and Exorcizing Demons. The oldest song in the set is Lady Messiah that apparently originates from the mid 80's (but I have never heard the original version). The band tells the audience that they were barely even teenagers when they wrote that song (is that true?) and that Rush was an early influence.

In my opinion these selections are the best songs from the respective albums they were taken from and with the exception of the two Sleepers songs, these live recordings are actually mostly improvements over the original studio versions, or at least they add something slightly different to them. The reason Sleepers is not bettered is quite possibly that it cannot be bettered! The occasionally Fish-like vocals of Stuart Nicholson might not be as "clean" here as they are on the studio albums, but he sometimes sounds more powerful on stage. The often Vangelis-like keyboards are more electronic sounding than in most Neo-Prog I know of, but the guitars are loud and heavy which creates an interesting sound. The band occasionally utilizes programmed drums in addition to live drums and this gives some passages an electronic sound. Bug Eye is the most electronic sounding song of the set.

While occasionally having the typical British Neo-Prog sound, Galahad is more diverse and eclectic than most Neo-Prog groups. The sound of Galahad has evolved over the years and what is found here has a much harder edge than their 80's and early 90's material. Fans of other hard edged Neo-Prog bands like Arena, Pallas and Final Conflict should definitely check out Galahad. And anyone looking to discover Galahad would do very well to start with this representative live album.

I also own a DVD with a live performance of Galahad from one year earlier in Poland. Though the DVD is great too, I actually prefer the present set over that one. The band feels more confident here and the performances are even tighter. You probably don't need both of these live releases unless you are a big fan as the set lists are quite similar, but having at least one of them is indeed highly recommended!

SouthSideoftheSky | 4/5 |


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