The spacey and psychedelic jam-band vibe of Sky Cries Mary permeates this smoldering set of live tracks recorded over an eight-year period at various venues. Worth noting is that Taking the Stage includes live versions of previously unreleased recordings, some of them engineered by former Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic. While applause is barely audible — and the band's interaction with its audience is nonexistent — the material from different shows blends seamlessly to create a single cosmic concert experience.
The male and female members of Sky Cries Mary blur vocals recalling Jim Morrison, Kate Bush, Kate Pierson, Stevie Nicks and maybe even Fiona Apple with U2 guitars and a dense rhythm section while taking plenty of instrumental detours. The band casts a spell over listeners with these 12 lush and swirling performances, with the highlight arguably being "Don't Forget the Sky," which shows off the full range of Anisa Romero's voice. But by the time Taking the Stage closes with a radically altered bonus track of "California Dreamin'" by The Mamas & The Papas, it's all started to sound a bit redundant. Longtime fans (the band's history dates back to the late Eighties) and those listeners hoping to hear what they've missed should nevertheless still be pleased.
1) Taking the Stage
3) Walla Walla/Moving Like Water
5) Don't Forget the Sky
6) The Ant, The Stars, The Owl and Its Prey
7) Remember Me the Wind
11) Elephant Song
12) Walk of Nothingness
13) California Dreamin' (bonus track)