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Strawberry Fields - Live Strawberry Fields CD (album) cover


Strawberry Fields


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4.04 | 6 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Strawberry Fields forever

Strawberry Fields were formed in 2008 by Wojtek Szadkowski (Collage, Satellite, etc). The following year, they released their début album "Rivers gone dry". Focusing heavily on the vocals of Robin (Marta Kniewska, who also writes most of the lyrics) the band took to the stage in Wyspiański Theatre in Katowice, Poland in April 2011, the gig being filmed by the superb team behind many of Metal Mind productions fine DVD releases in recent years. Krzyś Palczewski, who played occasional keyboards as a guest on the album takes on the role of keyboard player throughout here, with Szadkowski remaining at the drums.

The gig naturally focuses on the band's sole album release to date, the tracks being performed in a completely different order in order to suit the live environment. We are also treated to new renditions of tracks by Collage and Satellite, of which more later.

"Open your eyes" makes for a fine opener, the song giving Robin the chance to warm her voice up as the song progresses. By the time we reach "Fool" Robin and the rest of the band are at the top of their game.

While the performances of the songs remain faithful to the album originals, the band take the opportunity to adapt them for the live environment, Robin opining that "It is owing to this that the band became more consistent, its character was defined better". There is certainly a fullness to the sound, the fine mixing of the DVD bringing out the underlying power of many of the songs. The album's title track "Rivers gone dry" for example has some beefy synth work overlaying driving bass and drums.

One new song, "Problem", is substituted for "Moon", the smooth jazz nature of the latter presumably being considered too out of place for the gig. "Problem" is certainly much more in keeping with the other songs performed here, the song even offering itself as a single release.

There is very little between songs chat or introductions, perhaps in part due to Robin's newness to the whole recording and performing environment. Nevertheless, she makes for a fine frontman (woman!) remaining front and centre stage virtually throughout.

The last three songs, performed as encores, are covers of tracks by Szadkowski's other projects Collage and Satellite. "Don't walk away in silence" originally appeared on the Satellite album "Into the night". The song, which was the most accessible on the album, suits a female vocal well, while featuring some fine lead guitar soloing by Sarhan Kubeisi. "Living in the moonlight" is the oldest song in the set, originally appearing on the 1994 Collage album "Moonshine". This appears to be a popular choice with the audience, who presumably are familiar with the work of the fine Polish band. The appropriately named "Is it over" from Satellite's latest album rounds off the set. This dreamy ballad catches the audience out with its false ending prior to a superb lead guitar solo to actually round things off.

The entire gig is not particularly long, running to around 75 minutes in all. This is understandable given the fact that the band have only released one album. While it is great to hear new renditions of songs from Szadkowski's rich past, to have included too many in the set would only have served to draw attention away from the undoubted potential of Strawberry Fields as a coherent band in their own right. Overall though, there is more than enough here in the way of fine songs and competent performances to indicate that Strawberry Fields have a very bright future.

The DVD is rounded off with a couple interviews and other extras.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |


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