Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Colosseum - 1995 - Colosseum LiveS

Colosseum LiveS 

01. Those about to die ...
02. Elegy
03. The valentyne suite: a) January's search
04. The valentyne suite: b) February's valentyne
05. The valentyne suite: c) The grass is always greener
06. Theme for an imaginary western
07. The machine demands another sacrifice
08. Solo Colonia
09. Lost angeles
10. Stormy Monday blues

- Chris Farlowe / vocals
- Dave Greenslade / organ (Hammond), vibraphone, remixing, EMU Proteus 2, Roland U20
- Mark Clarke / bass, vocals, amplifiers
- Dave Clempson ('Clem') / electric & acoustic guitar, vocals
- Dick Heckstall-Smith / Soprano sax, Tenor sax
- Jon Hiseman / Gong, Pearl drums, Paiste cymbals

1, 8: Freiburg Concert Multitrack Recording at the Zelt-Musik-Festival June, 24th 1994
2 to 7: Cologne Concert Multitrack Recording at the E-Werk October, 28th 1994

Drummer Jon Hiseman seemingly had low expectations for a Colosseum reunion. The group decided to re-form at keyboardist Dave Greenslade's 50th birthday party, although Hiseman wasn't sure the timing was right. He was hopeful his German bookers could maybe put together six shows; they swiftly found 30, with Colosseum going on to play over 100 gigs during 1994-1995. And why not? In their three-year lifespan, the group racked up three U.K. Top 20 albums, while simultaneously blowing the socks off of Germany and much of Europe. And coming back together after two decades was, judging by the music here, a lot like coming home. The Reunion Concert Cologne 1994 took place at the E-Werk in Cologne, and was the band's second gig together. Filmed for German television, it resulted in the Reunion Concerts 1994 live album which was released the following year. A video of the gig also hit the shelves, and later a DVD, with this two-disc set completing the package, as the CD features the songs left off the original live album. Those include an exuberant sax-led take on "Those About to Die," a wild ride through "Skellington," and a quartet of excellent covers which all featured on the band's 1971 Colosseum Live album. It was this lineup that let loose that set, and they sound just as good 20-plus years later, with the group eagerly swinging into their legendary "The Valentyne Suite" and other grand numbers from their heyday across the DVD. A splendid show now finally available in its entirety.

Considering the band were only in existence for three years they had enormous impact on the progressive and jazz rock scenes, and to hear them again some twenty-two years after they broke up is quite something (even more remarkable is that they are soon to release a new studio album and are touring again!). The band came from many backgrounds, but brought into the rock arena a strong love and understanding for both the blues and jazz.
Jon Hiseman has long been rated as one of the best jazz drummers around; while there can be few sax players in the world that can stay the pace with Dick Heckstall-Smith. Add to that the guitar skills of Clem Clempson and keyboard playing of Dave Greenslade, with the vocals of Chris Farlowe (surely one of our most under-rated singers) and bassist Mark Clarke and here was the 1971 line-up back in full flow.

Not really a band made for singles or the radio, this is a band that strived on improvisation and building on each other, and so many years later that is still very evident in their performance. Yes, there are loads of solos and long instrumental passages, but the music just sounds right ? created by people with tremendous skill and mastery of their craft but at the same time not being overindulgent (well, not too much). They know when the time is right to bring the rest of the band back in.

A tremendous gig by a band on top form! Hiseman says that the years apart have meant that they now play better than ever, he could well be right.

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