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3RDegree: The Reunion Concerts (DVD/CD)

NJ based power pop prog band 3RDegree have put together a smashing record of their recent reunion shows. Including 2 CD's and a DVD, The Reunion Concerts is a clever juxtaposition of two live performances and insightful band interviews. If you've heard the band before, after spending some three hours with this set, you'll feel like you actually know them.

"At Home," is just that—the band, clearly enjoying the hell out of themselves after a long layoff—kicking back in front of a small group of friends/family in a living room for an acoustic set. Don't let the "A" word fool you, though: it sizzles. Drawing on material from their 1st 2 releases as well as their latest album, the thoughtful yet thoroughly enjoyable Narrowcaster, there's also some new material. Some selections re-visited and re-arranged, some brightly polished, and some just plain belted out, "At Home" is a fine set and a wonderful peek at this complex yet accessible group of guys who are equally "at home" in 4/4 or 13/16 time.

Speaking of 13/16, where better than "At NJ Proghouse" for a full-bore, amped up reunion show? It's the Spring of 2007, and The Jersey Boys let loose among a crowd of special invitees with a high-octane performance, and it's here in hi-def for those of us that couldn't make it. The singular venue in Metuchen really is a house, and it's intimate setting is aptly captured for DVD here. The band sails through past & present selections from their 3 albums and more, including some nail-biting technical arrangements (check out "Apophenia"--my goodness), as well as ethereal ones ("Scenery").

Those familiar with 3RDegree's catalog like myself who had never seen them live are in for a treat—the band is razor sharp in performance—and in many ways, in wit (check out the interviews); there's even some humor thrown in. Just when you thought Jethro Tull had the market cornered on Prog humor...

Anyway, this is a great live package, highly recommended.


Track Listings
1. Black Orchid (acoustic)
2. Home In The Clouds (acoustic)
3. Why Me (acoustic)
4. Cautionary Tale (acoustic)
5. Elsewhere (Sarah Mclachlan cover)
6. A Work Of Art (acoustic)
7. A Man (acoustic)*
8. The Art Of Being Alone (acoustic)
9. The World In Which We Lived (acoustic)
10. Stardust (acoustic)
11. It Works (acoustic)
12. Doesn't Quite Belong (acoustic)
13. Ladder (acoustic)
14. Young Once (acoustic)
15. Scenery (acoustic)
16. Done It Again (acoustic)
17. I (acoustic)
18. Human Interest Story (acoustic)
19. Top Secret (electric)
20. Ladder (electric)
21. Free For All (electric)
22. Apophenia (electric)
23. Peel The Paint (Gentle Giant cover)
24. 13 (electric)
25. Human Interest Story (electric)
26. Stardust (electric)
27. It Works (electric)
28. Live With This Forever (electric)
29. Cautionary Tale (electric)
30. Home In The Clouds (electric)
31. Done It Again (electric)
32. Young Once (electric)
33. Scenery (electric)
34. I (electric)
25. s/b (electric)

Added: March 26th 2009
Reviewer: Steve Fleck
Score:
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2054
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

3RDegree: The Reunion Concerts (DVD/CD)
Posted by Jon Neudorf, SoT Staff Writer on 2009-03-26 23:54:29
My Score:

3rdegree is a recent discovery for me. Their latest CD entitled Narrow-Caster is one of my favourite recordings of 2008. The Reunion Concerts is a sprawling three disc set featuring two live discs and a DVD capturing the band in concert for the first time in over ten years. In a year that saw many 'reunion tours' such as The Police, Van Halen and Led Zeppelin, 3rdegree was of no less importance. The CDs include an intimate acoustic set performed from the living room of Robert James Pashman's house and a performance from the NJ Proghouse. The live DVD includes footage from both concerts.

The first CD is an all acoustic performance intimately captured for our enjoyment. This is a rewarding listen as the band's material is very well suited for the acoustic instrumentation these songs receive. The bare bones approach allows us to hear these songs as they are: tasty, acoustically driven tunes where melody takes precedence over all else.

(originally written for www.progressiveears.com)
The second disc contains their concert from the NJ Proghouse complete with full instrumentation. While the first disc is very good, this is where the band truly shines musically, as these songs get the full treatment. These guys can play and are able to stretch their abilities in a live setting. For a band that has come off an extended lay-off they are amazingly tight and are running on all cylinders during this performance. None of the complexity is lost and their vocal arrangements remain as good as ever.

The DVD is a real joy to watch. There is a wealth of insightful information to be found as band members contribute commentary and provide background information on the songs being performed. Their personal insight is very much appreciated. Songs from both concerts are shown giving an excellent overview of the band in a live setting. Whether it is the acoustic version of "Home in the Clouds" with its great vocal arrangement and 1970s progressive rock vibe, the heavy riffing of "Apophenia" almost venturing into progressive metal territory, the crunchy guitar of "Human Interest Story" or the beautiful harmonizing in "Young Once" there are many highlights to be savoured. The DVD was recorded in high definition and multi track 24 bit audio was used so it sounds good as well. Also included are photos and band bios.

With a nice mixture of new songs and older songs redone, this three disc set should prove to be an essential part of 3rdegree's discography and one that I recommend to anyone who enjoys the melodic side of progressive rock.

(originally written for www.progressiveears.com)



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