Arena: Rapture (DVD)
Arena was founded in 1995 by Clive Nolan, keyboardist of Pendragon and Shadowland; and Mick Pointer, the original drummer for Marillion. Their roots in progressive rock go deep. In fact, they and the bands they represent, along with The Flower Kings, Porcupine Tree and IQ are the leaders of the neo-prog era that helped keep progressive music alive during the "Big Hair" 1980s and "Grungy" 90s.
John Jowitt on bass, formerly of IQ, joined the band during their inaugural year, and returns for the Rapture DVD and the band's new album, The Seventh Degree of Separation. John Mitchell, of Frost*, Kino, It Bites, and the John Wetton Band, and a member of Arena in 1997, also returns on lead guitar. With the initial core of the band re-formed, they searched for a dynamic lead vocalist after Rob Snowden left the band in 2011. Clive Nolan found that singer in Paul Manzi of Oliver Wakeman's Band. Mick Pointer agreed and they decided to have Manzi sing the lead vocals on the new album and this DVD.
Manzi was a great choice and he is one of the main highlights of this one night show at the Wyspianski Theatre in Katowice during Arena's tour in 2011. His fan interaction, including running around the stage and clapping this crowd to its feet, is something you do not see often from other bands who have recorded at this venue. It is definitely what they needed, because the fan participation is much more enthusiastic following.
The band plays an excerpt from many of their seven studio albums covering their different eras and changes in personnel. It is a great re-introduction to the band for fans that have missed hearing from them and new fans for which this was their initial performance. Pointer and Nolan promise not to take so much time off in the future during their interview included on the DVD extras. Nolan also describes the DVD as the current best method of global reach for their fans to see the band perform "live". The Wyspianski Theatre in Katowice and Metal Mind Productions have certainly been a welcomed marketing arm for this and other bands in the genre.
My favourite tracks were off my favourite albums, The Visitor – "Crack in the Ice", "Visitor", "Don't Forget to Breathe"; and Pepper's Ghost – "Bedlam Fayre", "Eyes of Laura Moon". I also enjoyed the "The Great Escape", "Rapture", "Ghost in the Firewall", and Burning Down", so now I'll have to find the new album The Seventh Degree of Separation for further review.
This is the perfect gift for any fan of Arena. A good collection of their famous tracks full of enthusiastic and inspirational playing from all members. The photo gallery, band discography, and desktop images would make any Arena fan happy to receive this as a birthday or other gift.
1. The Great Escape
2. Crack in the Ice
3. Don't Forget to Breathe
4. City of Lanterns
5. What If?
6. One Last Au Revoir
7. Burning Down
9. Valley of the Kings
10. Crying for Help IV
11. The Eyes of Lara Moon
12. Ghost in the Firewall
14. The Ghost Walks
15. Bedlam Fayre
16. The Tinder Box
17. The Visitor
19. Crying for Help VII
1. Interview with Mick Pointer and Clive Nolan
2. Additional "Live in Warsaw, 2011" footage
3. Photo gallery
4. Discography information and desktop images
Added: July 21st 2013
Reviewer: Mark Johnson
Related Link: arenaband.co.uk/
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