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Strawberry Fields: Live Strawberry Fields (DVD)
Most of my friends know that I am a serious Satellite and Collage fan, so when Strawberry Field's first album, River's Gone Dry arrived as a review promo back in 2009, I already knew it would be good. I was interested to hear how good Robin's (Marta Kniewska), voice would sound. Well, that review is history and if I remember correctly I gave the debut high marks.
Strawberry Fields, from Poland, was created by the brilliant mind of one of Poland's best modern composers, Wojtek Szadkowski, (Collage, Satellite, Peter Pan), in 2008. As the story goes, (there is an interview with both Szadkowski and Kniewska, included on the DVD), Szadkowski was fascinated by the voice of Robin, and had some ideas from the last Satellite album, Nostalgia, that he thought would work much more effectively with a female vocal. So he asked Robin to allow him to create a band around her sound and style. The group Szadkowski brought together included Satellite members: Sarhan Kubeisi, on guitars; Jarek Michalski, on bass; Szadkowski, on drums, keyboards, and acoustic guitar; and Robin (Marta Kniewska), on vocals. Szadkowski added Michal Kirmuc on guitar and keyboardist Krzyś Palczewski to the studio album band, to make this live DVD.
If you, like me, enjoyed the debut album, this DVD will bring the story to life with fantastic close – ups, in full view, at one of Metal Mind Record's favorite theaters to film, in Poland, the Teatr Slaski im, Stanislaw Wypianskiego, Katowice. The show was filmed back in April 2011, and it includes 8 tracks from River's Gone Dry, and includes the previously unreleased, "Problem"; which is a nice surprise. Two Satellite covers, "Don't Walk Away in Silence" and "Is It Over"; and a wonderful cover of Collage's "Living in the Moonlight", make this a must DVD for any fan of all three bands.
Every track is played with enthusiasm, despite the Teatr Slaski's traditionally subdued crowds. For the first couple of songs Robin seems nervous and that audience does not do a lot to help her relax. However, later in the show, she relaxes as more fan and crowd support grows, especially during the title track, "River's Gone Dry". "Beautiful" is a wonderful turning point as Robin's voice and eyes begin to seduce the crowd and she wins them over for the rest of the show.
On "Flow", Robin sheds her black leather jacket, and adopts a much more relaxed movement and tone as she delivers the last five songs as if she had been performing for decades.
Obviously all of the Collage and Satellite tracks were wonderful to hear with a female vocal, though Robert Amirian's vocals are some of the best male vocals of the Neo-Prog Era. The tracks took on a different feel and emotion with Robin delivering the lyrics and that was easily worth the price of admission. "Living in the Moonlight" is a fantastic song and Robin delivers it with cool power and precision as though she had been rehearsing it for years.
The finale, a cover of Satellite's "Is It Over", will cement this as one of the best videos of the year. Robin, and the band's tribute to Tomasz Dziubiński, is both emotional and a wonderful tribute to the man who founded and lead Metal Mind Records for so many years. Dziubiński opened many doors for bands behind the Iron Curtain before the Berlin Wall fell. He also helped organize the first major "Monsters of Rock" concert in Poland, back in 1991.
You cannot go wrong with this disc. It is full of powerful emotion and some of Poland's best music.
1. Open Your Eyes
5. River's Gone Dry
6. Problem – (previously unreleased)
9. Your Story
10. Don't Walk Away in Silence - (Satellite)
11. Living in the Moonlight – (Collage)
12. Is It Over - (Satellite)
13. Interview with Wojtek Szadkowski
14. Interview with Robin
16. Photo Gallery
17. Desktop Images
Added: April 14th 2012
Reviewer: Mark Johnson
Related Link: Strawberry Fields MySpace
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