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Focus - Masters From The Vault CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.06 | 25 ratings

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Symphonic Prog Specialist
5 stars It was about time!!!!!! were my first words when I saw this official DVD by Focus on the window of a store, decades of collecting short footages with poor image and sound quality or good versions without the classic lineup including Jan Akkerman were over.

Without making a single question I bought this DVD, and will never regret, the image is excellent because it has been remastered and the 5.1 sound is very good, but that means nothing if you're a Focus fan and have the chance to see Thijs Van Leer and Jan Akkerman playing together, simply unbelievable for those of us who were to young in their early days and never had the chance to see them on stage.

The DVD is divided in three sections:

I.- Retrospective 1971 - 2002: Thijs Van Leer with his great charisma tells step by step the story of Focus, even before the band was formed and he was singing for a couple of crooners from the Netherlands and wrote Sylvia for a friend who hated this song.

He also tells how Jan Akkerman joined him and he had to fire two close friends at Akkerman's request to replace them with Cyril Havermans and Pierre Van Der Linden, also tells us how they recorded "The House of the King" without authorization of their manager and this track became their first world hit.

Between the interesting narration we can watch complete versions of classics like the previously mentioned, Sylvia, Eruption and others but also enjoy the combined skills of Van Leer and Akkerman.

Thijs also tells us how Akkerman left and was replaced by the great Philippe Catherine plus several anecdotes only interrupted by complete songs, even some rare ones (Focus with lyrics), before they decided not to use voice except as an additional instrument.

There's no need to describe the songs because Focus was one of those bands that sounded almost exactly on stage and in the studio, we all know and love this masterpieces, so why make this review longer?

But I'm not telling everything, because there are some very pleasant surprises, like rare jam sessions or flute solo interpretations by Thijs Van Leer.

Simply outstanding, each time I play this section, I can't turn off the DVD until it has completely ended.

II.- Medley 1973: A rare medley of some classic Focus songs that ends with a frantic version of Hocus Pocus, I can't understand how they managed to keep this gem hidden for so many decades.

III.- Hamburger Concerto (Rare/Medium/Well Done): Probably "la piece de resistance", their most famous and elaborate epic played by the original lineup but with Collin Allen on drums instead of Pierre Van Der Linden.

Again unbelievable, the show is not spectacular, no lights, no effects only a nylon curtain, but who cares about the show when the quality of the music is so magnificent.

There's a fourth section called Masters from the Vaults that is nothing more than short clips about classic artists who's concerts are being released by the label, also interesting to know if you want to increase your DVD collection.

I have no doubts about the rating, because it's absolutely essential for any Progressive Rock fan, 5 solid stars.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 5/5 |


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