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Satellite: Evening Dreams (DVD)

You could think of Satellite as the one-man project of Wojtek Szadkowski. In the strictest sense, that's what Satellite is - a solo project, with a fixed lineup that includes three ex-members of Collage, with drummer Szadkowski controlling all creative aspects of the band's activities. But after listening to their two CDs and watching this DVD you'd never believe it.

The performances are excellent, each musician's contributions show flair and imagination, the cohesion among instruments is impeccable, and the tight, tight compositions flow impeccably through the complexities. And on this DVD, a recording of just their third ever live performance, all four artists' depth of experience and awesome musicianship are abundantly apparent. More impressive still is how close Satellite's stage performance is to their CDs.

The DVD was recorded in Poland so all audience interaction is in the band's home language, but English subtitles spell it out. The sound and picture quality are faultless and the viewing angles are quite good - with abundant cameras in place - although you might wish for more focus on the guitarist's and keyboardist's technique. Most of the attention goes to band-boss Szadkowski's skilled performance on drums, and particularly, on singer/bassist Robert Amirian.

Satellite's musicianship on percussion, keyboards (especially piano), and above all, the guitar, is out of the top drawer and ranks easily among the best in progressive music today. An interesting note - despite his skills as a guitarist, Sarhan Kubeisi is quick to point out that he isn't a guitarist, and isn't sure why he's playing that instrument in Satellite - he's really a drummer. And to drive that point home there are two drum kits on stage, and on occasion Kubeisi puts the guitar down and the skillful dual-drummer sound is interesting and works surprisingly well with Satellite's otherwise gently symphonic tones.

The vocals in Satellite's music is perhaps the only point of contention among most who have commented - Amirian employs a less-is-more technique, a soft, expressive delivery that is pitch-perfect and well suited to the emotive content of the songs, but you might wish for a bolder delivery. An unkind listener might call his singing tentative - or even wimpy. Fans, on the other hand, will appreciate the sensitive approach he applies to the subject matter. And make no mistake, Satellite's second CD Evening Games was an emotional rollercoaster and benefits enormously from Amirian's sentimental technique.

Metal Edge is well known for producing quality DVDs of progressive music in Poland, but Evening Dreams may be the best they've produced. There's a bit of cheating and you can tell that some lines have been added in the studio - but it's still a very professional, polished production, filmed in what looks like an intimate, upscale theater with an appreciative audience. The extras include separate interviews with all four of the artists, informal footage of a rehearsal - badly filmed on a hand-held camcorder and with no sound mixing at all - it's just a fun piece, but gives a small glimpse behind Satellite's scenes. There's also footage of a trip to the gig, band members doing their own stage setup, jamming through a sound check, and brief backstage scenes after the show. These are short, and not essential. There's also a made-for-TV style video of "Love Is Around You" - featuring band members playing in the foreground, against a backdrop of a moving cityscape - presumably to complement the theme behind the Evening Games CD. Not much money or creativity was spent on the video, but as a 'bonus' piece, it's okay. And with total running time of nearly three and a half hours this is a long DVD.

Get this one - and you just may find that it's the best DVD your collection. As we learn from Szadkowski's interview, the good news is that Satellite is under contract for 5 albums - so expect more from these guys. After viewing this video, their inclusion as headliner's in ROSfest 2006 is no longer a mystery.

Track Listing:
1. Intro ~ Never Never
2. Evening Games
3. Fight
4. Evening Wind
5. Beautiful World
6. Evening Overture
7. Children
8. A Street Between Sunrise And Sunset
9. Evening Games (Encore)

DVD Bonus Videos:
1. Love is around you (Video Clip)
2. Satellite Offstage (Documentary)

DVD Bonus Audio Tracks:
1. On The Run
2. Now
3. Rush
4. Why

Live Audio CD:
1. Intro ~ Never Never
2. Evening Games
3. Fight
4. Evening Wind
5. Beautiful World
6. Evening Overture
7. Children
8. A Street Between Sunrise And Sunset

Total Time: approx. 285 minutes

Added: March 19th 2006
Reviewer: Duncan Glenday
Related Link: Satellite's Web Site
Hits: 3659
Language: english

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