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The Flower Kings - Tour Kaputt CD (album) cover


The Flower Kings

Symphonic Prog

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4 stars Quite expensive for a double CD where there's no new music to hear. That said, TFK ARE my favourite contemporary Prog band, and their last 3 albums WERE consistantly good. It should be noted that in the context of this album, that's an irrelevance, because there is older material on the first CD. It's not a problem though.

In the past, TFK were prone to play, and play, and play... with the net result that it became quite boring. Here the second CD brightens up the show, with the more newer material. (Oh, and by the way, the CD artwork is sadly, totally lifeless.)

The danger here is that it's all too comfortable and too familiar. It's all too easy. as you can imagine, the performance is faultless, maybe not sounding 'rough' enough to be 'live'.

So, buy it or not?

It empahasises why you like them, and it makes you want more. Trouble is, there IS no more! The MP3 download was cheaper by far, and could be the best bet because you already know and have the material anyway, and you'll be quite quickly moving onto other things once you've briefly reminded yourself of why you like TFK.

Report this review (#524624)
Posted Friday, September 16, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars An outstanding live album and a treat for Flower Kings fans everywhere.

I got this at an Agents of Mercy show, for a good price, and I'm so glad to have this document of their last tour to date (with no real word on whether or not there will ever be anything else from them).

I'll start with the one drawback to this album for me. Hasse Froberg's vocals. I normally find this guy quite good, and on the Instant Delivery DVD he is incredible. Here though, at least for the first few songs, it seems like he is struggling to hit notes and maybe his voice is a bit worn out from the tour. I don't know what it is, but it was noticeable to me from the very beginning. However, he does improve as the show goes on, and even early on it doesn't really detract from the enjoyment for me.

The Sum Of No Evil was one of their best albums, being something of a symphonic assault as Roine had decided to "get back to the basics" of their sound, so to speak and focus on the extended symphonic pieces. It worked very well for me, and it's wonderful to hear almost the entire album (minus the opening track, One More Time, sadly) in live format since I wasn't able to see any of the shows for that tour.

Aside from the minor vocal issue I mentioned, the music is fantastic. I had been a little skeptical of Pat Mastelotto being on the drum stool, but I shouldn't have worried. He does an excellent job, slotting in somewhere between Zoltan and Salazar in his approach. I still would have preferred Zoltan, but being that I always felt he was the perfect FK's drummer, that isn't surprising. All things considered though, Pat Mastelotto does an outstanding job.

The set list is excellent, featuring some of my favorites along with the new material, with Hudson River Sirens Call being the most interesting addition, continuing the tradition of taking rather obscure instrumentals from older albums and expanding them into jams that are very different from the original album presentation. In this case it's a total success, with Roine giving a stellar performance on this one. Across the whole album Roine is in excellent form, as is Reingold and Bodin.

All in all, a live album every Flower Kings fan should own, especially if you love the last album. I don't normally give live albums 5 stars, and this is no exception, but easily a solid 4 stars, maybe even inching up on 4.5.

Report this review (#524640)
Posted Friday, September 16, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars The audio quality on this "Official Bootleg" is as good as your typical live album. So i will evaluate it as such: not as some sort of fan club bonus disc that people only ever listen to once, And of course not as a studio release. This is a SOLID Live Album. And being a follower of this band, I remember when Roine Stolt basically asked all his fans, through the internet, "If we put this CD/DVD out, will you buy it? ...It may be the last thing we produce for a long time." As we can see, the fans responded.

It took me a long time to finally grab this album though. I still don't have the DVD. After listening to these CD's yesterday morning and this morning, I am actually looking forward to purchasing the DVDs one day.

I want to write this review without giving away any of the surprises. They do a couple of nifty, unexpected things. Despite not changing their setlists from night to night, and even despite playing some of the same songs tour after tour, The Flower Kings will do one thing or another that'll catch you by surprise when you go to their show. This live album is a good reflection of that.

Get these Tour Kaputt releases if you are a fan of The Flower Kings. I don't think you will be disappointed. I'm pretty well locked into giving this a 4 star rating. Definitely not BLOWN AWAY by Tour Kaputt, but it's better than just "good". In fact, I do think this would make a fine addition to any prog music collection. You don't have to be a fan of TFK to appreciate this (Although it's hard for a fan to make such a statement objectively).

Also, if you are worried about what it sounds like with the sit-in drummer for that tour, Mr. Pat Mastelotto, don't be worried. He does an outstanding job considering the amount of time there was for him to prepare and gel with the band. To be completely honest, there are moments where he is doing a satisfactory job, but it feels as though he's not QUITE getting the right groove. Hard to explain... He does very very well. Fear not! I'd take him as a sit-in drummer in my band any day.

Another win for the Kings!

Report this review (#963359)
Posted Tuesday, May 21, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars I had serious doubts about this album. Usually when I get an album for a really good price, it turns out not to be a really good album. For once I am glad to be wrong. This is an excellent live album. For the price this makes for a nice intro to this great band. Unlike their compilation albums, this includes many of their longer songs and spans most of their long illustrious career up to 2007 "The Sum of No Evil". Not all of these live tracks are as good as the studio versions, but most are. The opening track "Love Is the Only Answer" and "Retropolis" are highlights. My favorite TFK song is here too ("I am the Sun") and while not quite as strong as the studio version, it is still very interesting.

The sound quality of this album is very good. Some reviewers have criticized the drummer, but I could find no fault with his performance. Really, except for a couple of places where the backing vocals seem to drown out the lead vocal, this album showcases the Flower Kings as an excellent concert band. As I reside somewhere that the Flower Kings will likely never visit, I guess I will have to be content with this wonderful live recording.

Report this review (#1120856)
Posted Saturday, January 25, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars Back in 2011 when I got an email from Greg Walker at Synphonic Music letting me know what new stuff he's just gotten in stock, my eyes instantly got wide when I saw that the legendary Swedish proggers the Flower Kings, had just released a new live DVD known as "Tour Kaputt." Not only are The Flower Kings an amazing band, but the quality of their live performances, in my opinion, is hard to beat by any band. There's something really magical about the sound they get on stage; they're just one of those bands that, while sounding great on their albums, somehow manages to achieve an even fuller and richer sound while performing live.

Let me re-emphasize that a new DVD release from Stolt and company is never an event to pass up. Honestly though, with the excessively high standard that they set performing the epics in their DVD Meet the Flower Kings and the extremely enjoyable offer that was Instant Delivery, I was wondering how their new DVD would hold up. Not that I was worried at all about the performance; there was just one little thing about Tour Kaputt that had me nervous: it's an official bootleg. With these types of releases you never know quite what you're getting into. But, being the faithful Flower Kings fan that I am, I decided to go ahead and purchase without further hesitation or debate.

Bottom line is, I was not disappointed in the least bit. For not being a professionally produced recording, the sound quality and the visuals are actually really good and definitely do justice to the nuances of the Flower Kings' dynamic and performance. While the film quality isn't quite as crisp as the other releases, the angles and shots are excellent and everything comes in clear in the audio mix. If I have one complaint, it is that there are a few moments where they use filters or visual effects, which don't enhance the experience. However, these are so few and far between that it's not something that would dissuade any fans from watching this release time and time again.

Joining Stolt, Bodin, Reingold, and Froberg on this tour is King Crimson drummer Pat Mastelotto, who does a fine job at fitting in with the band and having to cover what is usually the percussion job of two. Since this tour was in support of their record Sum of No Evil, that album is emphasized in this show; the band plays 5 of the 6 album tracks and pounds out some stunning moments, like the newly arranged ending chorus of "Love is the Only Answer." Of course, The Flower Kings always play ultra-long on their live releases (I guess they do on their studio releases as well), so it's only natural that they included a whole bunch of other tracks which span their career. Furthermore, not being a band that simply plays the same "favorites" at every show, the majority of the songs on this release can't be found on any of their other DVDs, which is reason enough to buy this.

While the first half of the DVD was incredible, I have a soft spot for the second half. There's a string of songs that they couldn't have chosen any better to create a massively moving and heartfelt show: "Babylon," "Stardust" (excerpts), "What if God is Alone," and "Blade of Cain." Babylon features some of the best musical building I've witnessed in any song. It's amazing what they are able to do with a repetitive bassline and melody over the course of a couple of minutes. Truly stunning and immensely uplifting, "Babylon" was such a nice feel-good piece that I was wondering if it was going to get much better. Well, they managed to construct the perfect set up for what would follow; a really cool ambient intro to all of our favorite song: "Stardust We Are." Stolt controls the reverby leads while Reingold contributes some spacey synth patches, leading Mr. Froberg into a sublime vocal melody that kicks off (or should I say, continues) some of the most beautiful moments of the show. The combination of Stardust's lyrics with the cosmic atmosphere that the band produces is a real treat. On every one of their releases they do a totally different rendition of this piece, and I must say that this one blew me away, just like the others. Some definite shiver moments abounded.

At this point, I hadn't yet realized that "Stardust" and "Babylon" had done some major tenderizing on my emotions, and by the time they roll out with "What If God Is Alone," I was totally sucked in. Once again, the band knows how to beautifully build a mood and deliver the goods. By the end of this piece, with images of the cosmos and Buddha flying around stage as Hasse sings "I am one with the earth, I am one with the sky," it was hard not to get a bit emotional. And, of course, they just had to follow up with another gorgeous piece: "Blade of Cain. This one's been one of my favorites for a long time, and the band doesn't fail to impress, kicking it off with an extra little symphonic opening before the slowly marching keyboard melody and bass solo begin to creep out. Jonas Reingold's weeping bass solo on the fretless never felt more fitting than on than on this particular performance, absolutely capturing the mood and essence of the song.

While not topping Meet the Flower Kings, Tour Kaputt ended up being an official bootleg that definitely soars far above mediocrity. In fact, I would go as far as saying that this is a FANTASTIC release all around and will not disappoint (that is, unless you hate The Flower Kings anyways. And if you do, shame on you). Kudos to these guys for managing to put out another great release. Can't wait for the next studio offering and another awesome DVD to accompany it. Until then, I definitely won't get sick of watching this one.

Report this review (#1287646)
Posted Saturday, October 4, 2014 | Review Permalink

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