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Colosseum - Colosseum Live  CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.22 | 127 ratings

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Honorary Collaborator
5 stars A True Masterpiece Classic Prog Live Album!

Well, please discount my rating on this album as much as you like and I don't mind about it at all. But let me tell you why I put this album as five star master piece album:

1) Please put this live album in the right perspective.

By the time it was released in 1971, Genesis was releasing "Nursery Cryme" after their successful release of "Trespass" the year before (1970). "Close To The Edge" by Yes was not born and the band was releasing "The Yes Album" with their new guitarist Steve Howe. King Crimson breakthrough the music industry with their ground breaking "In The Court of The Crimson King" (1969) followed with "In the Wake of Poseidon" (1970) and "Lizard" (1971). Trumpeter Bill Chase just released his band (CHASE) debut album which took the music industry by surprise through the dynamic trumpet dominated the brass rock music of Chase - the band that ended up tragically through plane crash. RIP Bill Chase and his friends. Your music will never die .. Other great bands like Chicago Transit Authority and Blood Sweat and Tears were emerging rapidly in the music industry. Camel had not recorded an album - even the industry had not recognized Camel at that time.

Here we go .. Colosseum appeared in their own style following their success of their previous release "Valentyne Suite" through a live concert album featuring top notch musicians: Chris Farlowe (vocals), Dave Greenslade (organ, keyboards, vibraphone) of Greenslade band, Mark Clarke (bass, vocals), Dave "Clem" Clempson (guitar, vocals) of a classic rock band Humble Pie, Dick Heckstall-Smith (saxophone, sax Soprano, sax Tenor) and Jon Hiseman (drums, producer). The music is completely different with what's already in the market at that time. Yes, it's heavily influenced with blues and classic rock but the individual track featured here resembles the unique music of Colosseum. Those of you who like Chicago Transit Authority with their top notch musicians like Terry Kath, James Pankom, Robert Lamm; or Chase, would see some similarity. But the music is totally different.

I just need to quote a statement by RoyalJelly @ 3:46:39 AM EST, 9/28/2005 in this site when he reviewed YES "Fragile": "People on this site often tend to judge albums as if the entire progressive catalogue has always existed, but in understanding any kind of music, it's important to put yourself in the time frame of the music at the time it happened." I fully agree with him. If you put this perspective, you may agree with my five star rating on Colosseum Live album.

2.) Typical live album would feature their previous recorded music.

But it's not the case with this one as out of seven tracks featured here, only one track that represent their previous record: "Walking In the Park". Recorded at Manchester University and the Big Apple, Brighton, England in March, 1971. Originally released on Bronze that same year, it now includes the previously unissued 'I Can't Live Without You' as a bonus track, for a total of seven cuts. This album reminds me of "Camel on The Road 1972" because the band recorded the tracks they never recorded before. The only different was that Colosseum Live was issued at the same year when the thhe concert was performed.

3.) The record itself is truly a gem - at least for me personally, especially considering the above two points I mention.

The musicians performed the concert at their best. Even though it's not the case if you ask them directly. Jon Hiseman admitted that the concert was not really their best because there were many mistakes they made during the show - and the crowd did not notice it. Even when the band played Encore ..Stormy Monday, they did it on stage without any preparation - no rehearsal at all.

Musically, the record represents a great composition of classic rock music combined with blues and jazz influence. The vocal is truly powerful. The use of organ (Hammond) and keyboards are really prevalent with soaring sounds. The solo is sometime accompanied with drum solo. The guitar work by dave Clempson is really stunning. Jon Hiseman is one of the best prog drummers, I would say. He delivers such a dynamic and inventive drum work. Sax is also a great one to observe throughout the stream of great music delivered here.


It's a highly recommended album that each individual prog lover should own. For my case, I knew this album very late after being informed by my progmate Nengah Rikon (pity me, he's much younger than me but he know more about the band than myself! - how dare I say myself as PROG REVIEWER?); also some suggestions from collaborators of this site: Erik and S Lang. Thanks mates! I just got the CD during the 11th ProgNite conducted by the Indonesian Progressive Society recently this month. I have spun this CD more than seven times and I still listening to it while am writing this view. Sorry for long review. This album deserves it .. Keep on proggin' ..!

Oh by the way . forget about audio quality! It's irrelevant comparing sonic quality of this CD with today's digital recording technology.

Progressively yours, GW.

Gatot | 5/5 |


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