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Fates Warning: Live in Athens (DVD)

The plethora of concert DVDs on the market has led to some truly poor-quality releases. Fortunately, InsideOut Music has a reputation for not only issuing high-quality music but also for building itself an impressive catalog of DVD titles. The latest example is Live in Athens by Fates Warning, recorded in February 2005. Although the stage at the Gagarin venue in Athens is too small and cramped to do the band justice, the set list is practically flawless (unless you're stuck in the John Arch era, which admittedly is underrepresented here). The band's core lineup of vocalist Ray Alder, guitarist Jim Matheos and bassist Joey Vera is augmented on stage by Spock's Beard drummer Nick D'Virgilio (who grooves but seems out of place in the metal environment), guitarist Frank Aresti (who complements Matheos perfectly) and OSI keyboard player Kevin Moore (who only shows up for "The Eleventh Hour").

It's refreshing to hear Fates Warning perform songs both old and new with equal gusto, and the mid-period material ("Face the Fear," "Life in Still Water," "Point of View," "Monument") still sounds especially potent. A rabid audience complete with front-row air drummers and fans who sing "Another Perfect Day" and "The Eleventh Hour" as loudly as humanly possible add intensity to this performance, which unfortunately was only recorded in Stereo 2.0. Bonus features include boring clips from a Bulgarian television special and some raw, dimly lit footage of "Another Perfect Day" and "The Eleventh Hour" from the Holland Headway Festival 2005 (with Mike Portnoy behind the drum kit). I would have been fine with simply the main performance, which proves Fates Warning hasn't lost anything to age or lineup changes. And its current members permanent and temporary seem to appreciate the band's past as much as its still uncertain future.

Now, where is that companion CD?

Track Listing:
1) One
2) A Pleasant Shade of Gray Part III
3) Life in Still Water
4) Simple Human
5) Heal Me
6) Pieces of Me
7) Face the Fear
8) Quietus
9) Another Perfect Day
10) A Pleasant Shade of Gray Part XI
11) The Eleventh Hour
12) Point of View
13) Monument
14) Still Remains
15) Nothing Left to Say
Extras include a Bulgarian TV special, Athens rehearsal and soundcheck and two performances from the 2005 Holland Headway Festival featuring Mike Portnoy on drums

Added: January 15th 2006
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Official Fates Warning Web Site
Hits: 4830
Language: english

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Fates Warning: Live in Athens (DVD)
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-01-15 16:41:04
My Score:

Fates Warning has long been referred to as one of the first bands to venture in the realm of Metal and Progressive Music. While then ground was laid first by Rush and carried strong by Queensryche, it seemed that Fates Warning kept a lot more of their Metal core and introduced more and more progressive feels as they went forward. Awaken The Guardian is still revered to this day and while the group has had numerous lineup changes since that time and their release of X they still prove to be a group with staying power and musical efficiency. This concert performance (filmed in Athens in early 2005) shows the current lineup performing a great selection of their material from across the years. The early fans of the John Arch era material might balk somewhat at the complete lack of any of these songs from this time period but there is still enough music included that I feel most supporters of the band could enjoy. Many reviews I have seen described the small stage setting but to me it seemed fine as I had once seen the band perform set up in small confines in Manhattan clubs of the past. There is not much visually to this group anyway and it's more about the music they are delivering. Sound and production of the DVD is excellent as far as the audio goes with the band sounding tight and on the money. Ray Alder truly shines vocally and is up on the list with Progressive giants of today in my opinion. Visually this left me a little wanting based more on the camera angles being mostly close-ups or pan outs. The only member from the bands original lineup is Jim Matheos who is joined by Alder (vocals), Joey Vera (bass) formerly of Anthrax and Armored Saint as well, Nick D'Virgilio (drums) from Spock's Beard and Frank Aresti (guitar). Musically this is a great front line and as you watch them perform you see them doing so in relative ease. That's the sign of professionals when it looks easy. Of the included selections the material from the last album is done particularly well and should send people looking into this among other releases.

Bonus Features: Sadly the bonus features are a little lackluster and limited in their content. There is a Behind The Scenes section with excerpts from Bulgarian TV, rehearsal and sound check. There are also a couple of added live performances that feature Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater from the Holland Headway Festival in 2005. Given the bands many changes both in lineup and creative direction I think some commentary from Matheos would have been wise to include.

I enjoyed this DVD but found it is more for the die-hard Fates Warning fan who has maintained an allegiance over the years than someone who is new to the band. However, there are those who simply like live concert videos and barring the minimal extras this is still a good viewing experience.

Fates Warning: Live in Athens (DVD)
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2005-12-29 16:34:25
My Score:

InsideOut Music continues on with their excellent DVD releases, this time around with Fates Warning and a concert from Athens Greece in early 2005. While the line-up might be slightly different than you are used to seeing, this is Fates Warning at the top of their game, and regardless of what the future holds for this seminal progressive metal band, it's nice to know that they still can play with the fire and fury that they showed over 20 years ago when they first burst on the scene. Sadly, none of the material from the John Arch era are played at this show (and I'm guessing the band has basically cast aside those songs from the live show period), but they do sprinke in plenty of mid-period and new material here, much to the delight of the rabid audience. Songs like "Life in Still Water", "Quietus", "The Eleventh Hour", "Point of View", and "Nothing Left to Say" are given royal treatment, while the new stuff like "A Pleasant Shade of Grey Part's III & XI", and "Another Perfect Day" are played with plenty of youthful vigor, and the fans seemed to really dig it. Joining the band for this tour were Spock's Beard drummer Nick D'Virgilio (who plays his ass off but just seems a little out of place performing heavier material like this), the returning Frank Aresti on guitar (welcome back Frank!), Joey Vera once again on bass, ex-Dream Theater and current Chroma Key/OSI keyboard player Kevin Moore (on the proggy "Still Remains"), along with long-time members Jim Matheos on guitar and Ray Alder on vocals.

The convert runs around 90 minutes, and despite some odd camera work at times, looks and sounds great. For extras you get a "behind the scenes" look at the tour with various TV, rehearal, and backstage footage, as well as two clips from Holland where Mike Portnoy is filling in on the drum kit. This is an overall great package and a true testament to a legandary band that can still deliver the goods.

» Reader Comments:

Fates Warning: Live in Athens (DVD)
Posted by Anonymous on 2005-12-30 14:53:43
My Score:

The DVD is great. The only thing I think they could improve is the camera work, since there are almost no closeups of solos. Other than that, the concert rocks.

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