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Omega - Live at the Kisstadion CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.02 | 16 ratings

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4 stars Omega 101 For Beginners

By 1979 Omega had become the top selling Hungarian rock band both in their home country and abroad selling literally millions of albums including a half a million copies of Gammapolis alone. Also, by 1979 they were able to put on elaborate big arena stage shows comparable to any big western rock act. Live At The Kisstadion stands testimony to this and was essentially the first true live recording released by this fabled Hungarian band. In 1972 a recording simply entitled Elo Omega ( Omega Live ) with new material was released with audience sounds poorly dubbed in. This was due to controversy the band encountered with the communist state owned record label Pepita forcing the band to produce the record by themselves. The music on Elo Omega finally saw the light of day in remastered form on the 1995 MEGA CD release " 200 evvel utozlo haboru utan "( 200 Years After The Last War, not to be confused with the 1973 English release on the Bellaphon label which is completely different).

The album features tracks from 2 sold out concerts ( close to 100,000 people over the two nights ) recorded at the Kisstadion outdoor sports stadium in Budapest on the nights of 8/9 Sepember 1979 which was their final show of an 11 gig tour of Hungary in 1979. As with the three previous Omega albums, both Hungarian and English versions of this live album contain identical music tracks with the English and Hungarian language vocal tracks being dubbed in on the respective versions. They do a pretty good job here withe live dubbing as the concerts were sung originally in Hungarian and two tracks, ( Time Robber and Metamorphosis I ) on this English version appear in Hungarian for some reason and are identical to the tracks heard on the Hungarian version Omega Elo Kisstadion also released in `79.

In the 1970s Hungarian LPs were deleted by the government controlled Pepita record label after only three years so we only hear material from the three previous Hungarian LPs Idorablo Omega 7( Eng. Version : Time Robber ), Csillagok utjan Omega 8 ( Eng version : Sky Rover or literally High In The Stars ) and Gammapolis Omega 9 which also appeared under the same title in English on the German Bellaphon label. We also get an awesome rendition of the title track from Nem tudom a neved Omega 6. For this reason this first decent documentation of the band in a live environment might sound somewhat dated compared to their more recent live recordings and DVDs released after the communist government fell in the early 90s of which more than a dozen are available which contain material dating back to the 1960s. However, an enthusiastic audience make this an exciting live album nonetheless, and demonstrate just how big Omega were ( and still are ) in their native Hungary. Which leads me to my only real qualm with the album, the audience`s over enthusiasm can get a bit obnoxious to the listener at home listening on his/her sound reproduction system at times ( especially on the headphones ) a lot of this audience "noise" could have been edited out. When the album was originally released in vinyl format in `79-80 both English and Hungarian versions were double LPs and when released as single CDs one track, Rush Hour, had to be deleted due to time Constraints.

Despite these minor anamolies Live At The Kisstadion could be recommended as an excellent starting point for those just discovering the wide world of progrock who want to check out some classic prog from Eastern Europe. Although the tracks featured here were for the most part the most popular compositions from the band`s studio recordings from the afore mentioned albums released between `73 and `79 they provide an accurate impression of this legendary band`s development over this period which was arguably their finest era and certainly most progressive.

The songs cover a wide spectrum and give the new listener a great introduction starting off with a mesmerizing intro entitled Vostok which sets the mood for what is to come in this well paced live set. Vostok runs into the spacey Gammapolis and then into the synth drenched Help To Find Me ( one contemporary American critc, obviously refering to this track, even commented : " for everyone who wants to grow up to be a synthesizer " . Other tracks feature meloncholic moods such as Russian Winter a song about a lost love which features East European folk elements and is beautifully reproduced on the live stage. An extended workout with two guest guitarists takes place on the rockier High On The Starway and takes up most of side one on record two. Another ballad includes the dreamy Silver Rain and The Hope, The Bread and The Wine while Metamophosis one returns to more upbeat heavy prog for the grand finale.

Mention should also be made of the original gatefold artwork on both the outside and inside record jacket. The outside artwork envisages the band as travellers in time and space arriving to discover an orb that could have possibly be part of some sort of quest. On the inside we get artwork of their live stage as it appeared during this live extravaganza. The New York Dolls costumes were not realy that representative of a prog act but it`s still arguably one of the best Omega album covers ever.

However one wants to approach theis phenomenal live album either as an introduction to Omega`s timeless music, a killer live album or as an over view of six of their best " progressive " years from 1973- 1979 Live At The Kisstadion is highly recommended whether in it`s Hungarian form or English dubbed version.

Vibrationbaby | 4/5 |


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