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Peter Bardens' Mirage - Mirage Live 14.12.94 CD (album) cover

MIRAGE LIVE 14.12.94

Peter Bardens' Mirage


Jazz Rock/Fusion

2.88 | 14 ratings

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3 stars Playing "The Snow Goose" without Latimer or "Nine Feet Underground" without Richard Sinclair is like playing "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" without Roger Waters or "Penny Lane" without John Lennon. Who cares?

It's a double live and features Bardens, Ward, Jimmy and Pye Hastings and Dave Sinclair, so for us poor Camel/Caravan addicts an album like this is a pure pleasure. Yes, the sounds are different, too clean maybe, specially on "The Great Marsh", but "Song Within A Song" has that piano part that was not in the original version and neither on the one on "A Live Album". Pye Hastings is not the more appropriate singer for this song, but we can survive.

"Speed Of Light" sounds better here than on the studio album. It's not too difficult to imagine as that album is everything but a masterpiece. This live version is less "artificial". Of course it's played by instrumentist instead of by sequencers and the added parts are quite good.

"Tell Me" is quite similar to the original, while "Skylines" is a bit too slow.

Where the band's reputation is to be proof, is on the epic "9 Feet Underground". Too bad, it's only the second half of the song. I suspect that it has been cut for disk space reasons and I hope that sooner or later the original recording will be found and reprinted. It's a pity because this second half is not bad. Of course it has been rearranged, it's more jazzy specially when Jimmy Hastings plays on the sax the solo that was originally played by his brother. The rest is similar enough to the original to be highly enjoyable (you can't change a masterpiece too much. In cases like this I expect to hear exactly the same notes in any solo).

The medley wich follows is nice but as in every medley there's a bit of regret for the parts not played. Specially for what comes from "If I could do...". Let's say that being Pye who sings, the vocal parts better executed are of course those of Caravan. Only Bardens is effectively excellent with both the "bands".

Another test: "Never Let Go" I have written, the guitar intro shouldn't have been changed. The two or three notes replaced are very disturbing when you know every "breathe" of that song. The arrangement is closer to A Live Album than to the studio version and I think that the singer here is Bardens, but it lacks the great solo sax of Mel Collins. Also Bardens is using a "whistled" sound for his keyboard solo, that in the original version was sounding like a flute (I thought it was Latimer's flute for years until I saw a live video!!!). Good but not the best version.

It's good to hear something from Breathless. In general I dislike (or I think so) the period between Rain Dances and The Single Factor, but it's a fact that excluding this last one this is the most representative and characteristic sound of Camel, what they'll be remembered for.

I don't remember to have heard the funky-rock "Timepiece" before. It sounds more Caravan than Camel. It's quite good and I can't actually compare it with any studio version.

Now the epic...."For Richard", from my favourite Caravan album. Some guitar is added to the intro. The production for the vocals is better than the "stereo" recording of "If I coud do..." . It's quite a pity as Pye's voice was more dreamy on that album. However also this version makes me dream. Just the uptime section is a bit too fast, but on a live exhibition it can happen.

I don't know where "Journey and "Gunblaster" are from, but I think I've already listened to the first somewhere else.

"Freefall" is a great pleasant surprise, also because the guitar sounds the same notes as Latimer, but the voice....on this song it's crap. I don't know who's the singer here, but this is not the right tonality for him.

"Lunar Sea" is one of the best Camel's songs ever and it's played well, also because it has been played in almost all the Camel's tours so at least Bardens has played it tons of times. The guitar is remarkable. Here it could be Latimer.

Well, you have a compilation of two bands at the price of one plus some Bardens' solo and maybe something else. They are not the best versions ever but if you love the two "twin bands", this is an excellent addition. For all the other people, check out the originals first. I stay on 3 stars. Fans of Caravan and Camel need only the track list, the rating is not influent.

octopus-4 | 3/5 |


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