Renaissance — At the Royal Albert Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Part 1
(King Biscuit Flower Hour Records 70710 88020 2, 1977/1997, CD)
Renaissance — At the Royal Albert Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Part 2
(King Biscuit Flower Hour Records 70710 88026 2, 1977/1997, CD)
by Dane Carlson, Published 1997-05-01
It is with great pleasure that I announce Renaissance live at the Royal Albert Hall with Orchestra. Recorded live on the King Biscuit Flower Hour on October 14, 1977, this is a far better album than the original live album. Live at the Royal Albert Hall captures Renaissance on the Novella tour. An excellent album, an excellent tour, and this time the orchestra is well rehearsed (my gripe with the Carnegie Hall album).
Part One of the show opens with a full orchestra version of "Prologue," no band, and it works quite well. "Can You Understand" is next, performed flawlessly — all the songs are. The beautiful "Carpet of the Sun," classic Novella track "Can You Hear Me?" and finally, an excellent version of "Song of Scheherezade" — the Finale is just so good! Part Two keeps it coming. "Running Hard," "Midas Man," "Mother Russia," "Touching Once Is So Hard to Keep," "Ashes are Burning." The ending vocal part of "Ashes" is excellent, Annie's solo just got better every year. The band hits a few rough spots here, but in all I find it quality performance.
Like the Classical music they appropriate, from studio to stage is a whole new experience. And as good as any Renaissance album is, live is better. The band is composed of Jon Tout (keyboards), Michael Dunford (guitars), Jon Camp (bass), and Terrence Sullivan (drums). They are a competent bunch, Tout and Camp are particularly good players. Part Two has a few bonuses: a 1979 live version of "Song for All Seasons" which is quite good and quite unexpected as it's listed as "Prologue" on the CD! And the appearance of a lost song, "You (Part 1 and Part 2)" from 1984. It is a good song, with a bit more structure than A&M probably wanted in their music at that time.
My only gripes are the split packaging. Why? The KBFH Kingfish CD is a double. And finally as good as the performance is on this disc there is one annoying feature, a nearly constant buzzing (feedback of some sort), that while not overly intrusive, is there all the same. As you might have guessed, I recommend these two CDs highly.
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more