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Renaissance - Live At Carnegie Hall CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.26 | 223 ratings

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RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
5 stars My favourite live ever.

Waiting for Song of Sheerazade to be released, Renaissance introduced that epic so that the live version was recorded very close to the studio one. The double vinyl (I think on CD it all goes on one disc) has six songs, three for each side on disc 1 and two long epics on disc 2.

The concert is opened by "Prologue" and is probably because of the song title more than because it's optimal as opener. This version is similar enough to the studio, just a bit longer.

"Ocean Gipsy" is another classic waiting to be included in the album-to-come at that time. It's one of my favourite Renaissance songs. On all this album's songs the volume of the bass is probably too high, but it gives this album a typical sound that we don't find in the studio releases. Great song, anyway. A strange thing is the absence of guitar. Not that it's really absent. There's plenty of acoustic guitar on Ocean Gipsy, but there are no electric solos. This is also the main difference between the studio and the live versions of Ashes are Burning.

"Can You Understand..." I have heard the intro used as base for a's really absurd. I was very upset that day. The bass behind the piano and "cymbal" intro is incredible. Well, it can sound dated but this is how bass was played in prog days. When the intro ends Annie Haslam sings on a 12-strings guitar. The harmonies, the sequences of chords are typical of Renaissance's music until the change to fast tempo. The instrumental part which follows has the effort of the symphonic orchestra. A great arrangement for a great song.

"Carpet of The Sun" is short and nice. Probably it's nice because it's short. It doesn't have the right characteristics to be longer. The only "pop" moment of this live. Strings and winds arrangements are remarkable also here.

A more intense moment arrives with "Running Hard" one of their best songs ever. A piano intro with some hints of Emerson, probably because Emerson as well as them, is more fascinated by Russians then by west european classic authors. Also here is the bass that helps the piano in joining the other instruments. Great orchestra also here.

The Disc 1 is closed by "Mother Russsia". Again a piano intro, but the music here is full of tension and has effectively a Russian flavour. While I'm writing I think to Prokov'ev, but there may be other authors to mention. This is really a great song, highly dramatic and totally symphonic.

Let's now go to the two epics of disc 2: "Sheherazade" is introduced by at least five minutes of talking, just to introduce the story and the characters from the 1001 nights. The music starts from a remind of the Rimsky-Korsakov suite, but quickly takes its own way. This is not a re-arrangement of a classical piece. It's a totally different piece based on the same story that includes a mention to the author who has been the furst to put it in music. Nothing to do with the excellent arrangement of Collegium Musicum on Konvergencie.

The last epic, "Ashes are burning", from the omonimous albums is my favourite as it contains my favourite bass solo ever. Not because it's the best solo technically speaking. I think it's the most "Progressive". Annie Haslam makes a great vocal work here, specially in the final when she shows how high and powerful her pitch can be. The orchestra is fantastic, as on the previous track, and if you compare this version with the studio you'll understand why the electric guitar solo has been removed.

Just the last two tracks are enough to make it a masterpiece. It's in my personal top 10 since when I purchased it about 30 years ago, and still the only live. It has an absolute value so I don't hesitate in rating it five stars

octopus-4 | 5/5 |


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