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Saga: The Chapters Live

Saga fans will be in their glory now, the definitive moment has arrived in a live set. The Chapters Live is available now on this two CD set. All sixteen chapters that came together over several years for the band, the words and music that comprised eight albums of music that started in 1978, is here, captured live, all of it for the first time. Think about it, what prog-rock album do you know of took 28 years to reach its fruition? This is it, you're looking at it.

I could not be more impressed with this set. The 36-page booklet takes you through all the lyrics and the live music is fresh and vital. Simply put, it does not get much better than this, well…if it was in a DVD-A format with 5.1 surround sound, now that would be amazing. Just wait, I am sure it is coming right around the corner. Speaking of DVDs…the band just recorded their classic album Worlds Apart on 12/8 for DVD recently so watch for that, it is sure to be a keeper. In early 2006, a new studio album is due as well. So the Saga continues, no pun intended.

I was very pleased with this set, the sound is good, the band is as tight as they have ever been, sounding inspired and crisp every step of the way. For a live recording, this is very good, I cannot complain about the overall sonics and presentation. I love this music and I always have. Saga is unique, an entity that is beyond compare. Let's face it, nobody sounds like them, and they have managed to maintain their popularity even though the band broke up at one point during their career. There is no doubt with this release, a new studio album released this year titled Network, which by the way some folks say is their best in 20 years, they are making some waves. So this band's career is entering a new phase, a renaissance if you will, as fans old and new take hold and embrace their recorded output-in turn prog-rock continues to gain more respect and popularity.

The Chapters Live is an absolute must, I say no more. If you are into prog-rock and love this band as I do, this is a no brainer.

Track Listing
Disc: 1
1. Chapter One: Images 5:03
2. Chapter Two: Don't Be Late 6:33
3. Chapter Three: It's Time 4:09
4. Chapter Four: Will It Be You? 6:38
5. Chapter Five: No Regrets 4:02
6. Chapter Six: Tired World 6:40
7. Chapter Seven: Too Much To Lose 3:18
8. Chapter Eight: No Stranger 6:23
Disc: 2
1. Chapter Nine: Remember When 5:30
2. Chapter Ten: Not This Way 3:04
3. Chapter Eleven: Ashes To Ashes 4:48
4. Chapter Twelve: You Know I Know 4:17
5. Chapter Thirteen: Uncle Albert's Eyes 5:03
6. Chapter Fourteen: Streets Of Gold 4:11
7. Chapter Fifteen: We'll Meet Again 5:43
8. Chapter Sixteen: Worlds Apart 6:44

Added: December 8th 2005
Reviewer: Keith Hannaleck
Related Link: Saga Website
Hits: 2562
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Saga: The Chapters Live
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2005-12-09 00:55:47
My Score:

This is the album that die-hard Saga fans have been waiting for. All 16 parts of "The Chapters", in sequential order, recorded live, with full lyrics in the booklet of each one so the listener can follow along with the storyline. Sounds great huh? Well, it certainly is.

InsideOut Music landed perhaps their shining star with their recent signing of Canadian prog legends Saga, and this 2 CD live set which chronicles the chapters saga should be a great start to their new relationship. The band is in rare form here, sounding just as "on fire" as they did over 25 years ago. Michael Sadler still has one of the most unique voices in all of rock (check out his anthemic pipes on "Remember When") , and guitarist Ian Crichton just shreds his way through songs like "Too Much To Lose", "No Regrets", and "Don't Be Late". Those who like the more keyboard oriented material from Saga will be happy to know that Jim Gilmour and Sadler's synth textures are all over this set, providing a proggy accompaniment to Crichton's almost metal-like guitarwork. Sadly, these recordings will probably be the last with drummer Steve Negus, who left the band recently to explore other projects.

I'm not normally a lyrics guy, but I'll admit I've been fascinated over the years with trying to keep up with the story behind the chapters, but ultimately, seeing as they have been spread out over so many albums, I lost patience trying to piece it all together. Now, everyone has the opportunity to pop the CD in, get comfortable with the booklet, and read along to the whole storyline. I'll not spoil it, but let me say it's as complex as it is intriguing, and a sure bet to tickle the fancy of sci-fi fans.

Unfortunately, there's no info at all regarding where these recordings took place. The press sheet mentions that the songs were recorded on their recent tour of Europe, but that's it. One would assume that the band played some specific shows where they played these songs as they are laid out on the CD, but it seems like they mixed in segments of the chapters throughout certain gigs, recorded them and then edited the whole story together from various performances to come up with this album. Regardless, it makes for a hell of a great live concept album, and one that Saga fans can treasure for years to come.

If you are a prog fan and you haven't yet checked out Saga, give this one a try. I'm sure you will be quite pleased.

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