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Cast - A Live Experience CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.65 | 16 ratings

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4 stars Cast is a very prolific Mexican band. They were already playing together in 1979 whether their first release saw the light in 1994. Therefore, they had accumulated an awful lot of material which was feeding their studio albums with frensy (six albums in two years !). They are unfortunately not well known, and the very few reviews on PA only acknowledge this. Give Cast a try : they really deserve it. Their major influences are ELP, PFM and Genesis (when they were four).

Before this first live album, they have released no less than eight studio works and one great compilation effort. The only negative point about his live release is that it will be a kaleidoscope of Cast performance throughout the world at different moments of time.

Mainly North America based of course (FYI, Mexico is a North American country). I have also felt that the best live albums needed to be recorded at the same venue to be able to feel the crowd's emotion grow as long with the concert. It won't be the case here, but it will not be a problem; the band does not interact a lot with the audience and the renditions are rather faithful to the original.

Cast is made of very skilled musicians. High technicity which, at times, will lead to useless and boring numbers. Be assure that this will be avoided on this live release. What you'll get is really the best of the band's production. If, at times, one could be a bit bored when listening to each of their very long studio albums (average of seventy minutes) when the best of their work is selected, it is a very nice feeling that prevails while listening to Cast.

On top of this, their most brilliant song so far (IMO), will be included in this double CD. This is the major advantage of this release versus their first compilation effort which was only made of one CD ("A View Of Cast"). Frankly, this is really a "Best Of" from Cast's work. Let's have a quick and clockwise overview.

The "Intro" whose purpose is only to introduce the concert is a very good instrumental. Great keys as usual by Alfonso Vidales who is the heart and soul of the band. At times, it will sound as who you know of course (Keith emerson for those who have not read my previous Cast reviews). A very nice number to start.

From their debut album, we'll get two songs. The akwardly named "Reunion" (for a debut effort, one could have imagined another title) recorded in Mexicali on January 6, 1995. Mexicali is a town located in the very Northern part of Mexico. It is the temple of Mexican prog music. Every year, a great prog conference is held there, featuring lots of bands from all over the world (not less than twenty bands were featured during the 2007 edition which was spread over four days, if you exclude the welcome party (day zero).

Just to give you an idea of the high level of the event, here are some bands on the setlist of this organization : Cast of course, Univers Zero (my fellow countrymen) top of the bill on day one, RPWL, Tony Levin and Focus topping the ensemble. Not too bad, right ? The second song from "Landing in a Serious Mind" is "Magic Is Gone" from the same concert.

Their second album "Sounds of Imagination" is represented by "Dragon's Attack" recorded in Barcelona (spain) on June, 4 in 1998. It is one of the best song of this album and it is is played here with lots of passion. One of the great moments of this live set (but there will be many). The second song featured is "Run In The Rain" (Aguascalientes, November 8, 1997).

One of my preferred Cast album is "Third Call". Three numbers will be taken out of this great album : "Door Of The World" (mixed with "Mirror House" from their latest album "Beyond reality") followed by a drum solo recorded during a prog conference in Chapel Hills (September 5th, 1998 - North Carolina).

Obviously, Cast is touring more in the surroundings of their native country than in Europe. "Static Dreams" will be recorded in California (Freemont - 11th April, 1997). This song really belongs to the very best of their repertoire, exceptionally emotional. Finally, "House By The Forest" has been recorded in Panamá (October 14th, 1997). This song might well be their most Yes oriented ("Heart Of The Sunrise" is definitely the inspiration here).

Out of "Four Aces" one of their most fantastic songs so far is fortunately featured : "Echoes". It is a wonderful long number. Some sections are not always on par with the best ones, but this is really a typical Cast song : long, complex and difficult to approach. It comes from a concert from the same prog conference in Chapel Hills but on a different date (August 31st - 1996). The short "Winter" was played in Quebec at the famous "Le D'Auteuil" theater (on September 16, 1997).

From their fifth album, the great "Hidden Poems" recorded again in Mexicali (March 29 - 1998) as well as "Spirit Of Man" (L.A. Pre- Pro Fest, November 11 - 1995). This one is truely sublime.

From "Beyond Reality" (their sixth album) we will have one of their very best songs ever : the wonderful "Rescue". The highlight on this live release. Recorded again in Chapel Hills during the prog days (September 5th, 1998 - North Carolina). "Transparent Symbols" was recorded in Mexicali (May 13, 1998).

I really recommend you this double live CD set. It brilliantly covers their first six albums (the last two ones at the time of release won't be represented).

If you would only have one Cast album, it should be this one. No useless or boring numbers. Only "la crême de la crême". I just hope that the band will stop over in my country in November 2007 since they are participating in a prog conference in Germany. Hopefully, the owner of the "Spirit Of 66" will organize this.

Four stars for this great live compilation.

ZowieZiggy | 4/5 |


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