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RPWL: Start the Fire-Live
A band that got its start performing Pink Floyd covers, RPWL – the name is an acronym for the surnames of the founding members – has quietly been releasing quality, Floyd-influenced progressive-rock albums since 2000. After four pristine studio records, the Bavarian ensemble finally decided to chronicle its live shows by recording several performances during the band's concert trek through Germany, Poland, France, Spain, Belgium and Holland in spring 2005. The result, however, is not a standard live album for completists only. Rather, Start the Fire-Live boasts songs that have not appeared on previous RPWL records, including alternate album tracks and jaw-dropping versions of Floyd's "Cymbaline" and "Welcome to the Machine." Ray Wilson makes an appearance to sing the European hit "Roses" from RPWL's 2005 album World Through My Eyes, as well as "Not About Us" from his stint as Phil Collins' replacement in the final short-lived version of Genesis.
That said, Start the Fire-Live starts off rather chilly, with disc one featuring songs culled from a "Rockpalast" show highlighting the band's first three albums (God Has Failed, Trying to Kiss the Sun and Stock). It's a quiet, introspective and ultimately sleepy disc that's made considerably stronger by Wilson's presence, which seems to overpower RPWL's three vocalists.
Disc two, on the other hand, is a tour de force that better reflects RPWL's live shows. Definitely more upbeat and borderline sublime – punctuated by the Floyd covers plus a surprise version of Syd Barrett's "Opel," and "I Don't Know," which absolutely soars on stage – the second disc concludes with the complete 12-and-a-half-minute version of the evocative "New Stars Are Born." The song's first seven minutes were included on The World Through My Eyes.
A live DVD is planned for release sometime in 2006 that will likely shed more light on this mysterious band that reportedly is drop-dead fantastic live. (Note: Disc one gets three stars and disc two gets four, for an average score of three-and-a-half.)
2) Start the Fire
3) Who Do You Think We Are
4) Day On My Pillow
5) Roses (with Ray Wilson)
6) Not About Us (with Ray Wilson)
7) The Gentle Art of Swimming
8) Wasted Land
9) Crazy Lane
10) Trying to Kiss the Sun
1) World Through My Eyes
4) Welcome to the Machine
5) I Don't Know
6) Hole in the Sky
7) New Stars Are Born (unreleased complete studio version) (bonus track)
Added: October 24th 2005
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Official RPWL Web Site
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|RPWL: Start the Fire-Live
Posted by Steve Ambrosius, SoT Staff Writer on 2005-10-24 15:00:30
Earlier this year I was fortunate enough to review a CD that still is in the running for "best of 2005". World Through My Eyes has such an amazing mix of music and message that I usually find a spot in my rotation for it. Even after 9 months of listening, the sound hasn't worn thin. So when Start The Fire came in, I was very interested in hearing if it would entice me as much as RPWL's last studio CD.
In a word, "WOW". From the opening notes of "Sleep" to the last beat of "Trying To Kiss The Sun", DISK 1 is just stunning. This is a CD, like their World Through My Eyes, that must be listened to repeatedly to let the music and vocals dig deeply into your mind. There is not a large set of variation from these versions and their album counterpart, but enough emphasis on a few key points makes them interesting renditions. It is funny though to hear these powerful songs end with the applause of maybe a dozen people. This was either poorly recorded or performed to a very small venue.
DISK 1 starts with the excellent 10 minute "Sleep", but it is "Start The Fire", which is a good song on World Through My Eyes, but really a stand out track on this live edition. It feeds perfectly into "Who Do You Think We Are" from God Has Failed. The guest appearance by Ray Wilson on both "Roses" and "Not About Us", an interesting Genesis number, really keep the momentum going. You can't help but sing along with "Wasted Land" and "Trying To Kiss The Sun" is an excellent finish.
DISK 2 is really a great look at "classic" RPWL. The listener gets to hear "Opel", "Cymbaline", and "Welcome To The Machine", which comes from their Pink Floyd tribute band background, and two of their powerhouses "World Through My Eyes" and "Hole In The Sky" making this a great glimpse into why you would want to see RPWL live. They play with power, emotion, and raw talent.
This is recommended to anyone who is an RPWL fan, and to anyone who isn't. If you do not already own World Through My Eyes, you may want to get that first, but if you are brand new to RPWL and are looking for a way to see their past and future all at once, Start The Fire is an excellent choice.
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