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Gentle Giant - Playing The Fool - The Official Live CD (album) cover

PLAYING THE FOOL - THE OFFICIAL LIVE

Gentle Giant

 

Eclectic Prog

4.52 | 422 ratings

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Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer
5 stars One of the greatest live albums of all time. On Playing The Fool eclectic prog rock legend Gentle Giant proved they were far from a studio only band. If you ever wondered if they could play live as good as on their records, this is the album to end any doubts. They were not only consumated players and awesome songwriters: they were a great live act! Expecting them to be a cold and precise band on stage? They were HOT and precise! See their DVDs if you have any qualm left about this issue!

Those guys had a fine stage presence and could performe most of their incredible intricated songs and arrangements with energy, conviction and a smile on their faces (it seems so easy for them!). Of course they were not exactly as performatic as, say, Genesis (with Peter Gabriel) but still I found Derek Shulman to be a strong frontman. They did move and showed emotions while playing. Their chemistry is mind blowing, fueled by the years they were performing together. And there is no question about their virtuosity: they play more than 30 (!) instruments among themselves during the course of the show. And they play all very well!

The set list is very good, with songs from every stage of their career up to that point (their best years, by the way). I found the second vinyl side the most interesting: the Excerpts from Octopus were always of the best parts of their live shows, truly awesome (especially the recorders foursome in the middle). Funny Ways is a classic that turned better live than its already great studio version. On Reflection is another highlight, proving those guys could actually reproduce live their intricated vocal harmonies and counterpointing.

As for sound production, I found my russian CD remastered version to be very well done (and actually better than the vinyl I once had). You can hear everything very clearly.

To me this is Gentle Giantīs crowning achievement. It showed the band at their very peak: capable of doing live things that seemed impossible to do without studio trickery.

A masterpiece of progressive music. To put it simply: essential.

Tarcisio Moura | 5/5 |

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