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Renaissance - Live at the Royal Albert Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Part 2 CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.70 | 55 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Second part of this "King Biscuit Flower Hour". Somewhat on the lower edge of the scale when compared with the first one.

Don't get me wrong. There are still excellent songs performed here. The best example is IMO "Mother Russia". This version features so emotional vocals and the band is in full symbiosis with the orchestra. A great musical moment and my preferred one from this album. But I am talking about one of the best "Renaissance" song ever, so.

When compared to its counterpart of the first leg of this album (fully orchestrated), I have to humbly admit that "Prologue" is faaaaaar much better here. The orchestra has gone, and the band has the full control of the song. Annie can display her fantastic vocal harmonies as during the original studio version. I even prefer this one: fresher, more dynamic, crystal clear vocalizing. A damn good track.

The band plays some songs from their latest studio album (at the time - 1977). "Midas Man" as well as "Touching Once" are not the best ones from Renaissance but I must say that these live approaches have more feeling. They just "live" better. Especially "Touching" which is very pleasantly interpreted here. Way better than the studio version.

What annoys me most on this CD is the ultra long "Ashes Are Burning". Of course, we all know by now that "Renaissance" couldn't refrain their need for "expanding" this song. Indulgence during (almost) twenty seven minutes (while the original lasted for about eleven). After an acceptable intro, there are nine PAINFUL minutes (including the P.I.T.A. bass solo). I have never understood why the band decided to add such dull part to a very good original track.

To tell the truth, I have to add that the final part (some ten minutes) are just wonderful. Annie again is just a wonderful showcase: her vocalize job during the closing section is just GORGEOUS. But my feelings are mixed on the overall length of this song. At least a third is totally useless and improvised.

The closing track is an unreleased song. "You". Well, not that unreleased any longer. The band brought out an album of left-over songs ("Songs From Renaissance Days") which featured this song. The sound is more on the pop side but not too much (especially during the second and symphonic part). A good song after all.

At the end of the day, if the band could have refrain their useless jam session during "Ashes" I would have used the same rating as the first CD of this concert. As such I can only rate this one with three stars.

There is also a cheaper version of this album available under the name "Mother Russia". Exactly the same music but with a cheaper packaging.

ZowieZiggy | 3/5 |


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