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Iona: Live in London (DVD)

Filmed in November of 2004, the 2 DVD set Iona: Live in London confirms what longtime fans have known for years: the band is truly one of prog rock's best kept secrets. For 16 years, Iona have continued to release quality music, distinguished by its gorgeous mixture of progressive rock, Celtic folk, world music and ambient textures. The Iona "formula" is completed by Joanne Hogg's amazingly clear voice. In some circles, much has been made over the band's Christian oriented lyrics. While there is undeniably a Christian element, Hogg uses imagery to convey a sense of inner peace and outer worldly beauty that manages to transcend charges of proselytization.

Opening with the new classic nine minute instrumental "Woven Cord" and largely carried by Troy Donockley's Uilleann pipes and Dave Bainbridge's lyrical guitar, the wistful melodies recall the autumnal emotions of Genesis' Wind and Wuthering album. "Wave After Wave" introduces the bell clear voice of Joanne Hogg and in a genre of music that contains so many nondescript vocalists, it's refreshing to hear a singer who can really sing.

Naturally, the band revisits old Iona songs such as "Inside My Heart", "Irish Day" and "Encircling", all taken from the Journey into the Morn album. The uplifting "Treasure" and "Flight of the Wild Goose" make appearances as well. Not content to focus on the "hits", Iona also perform material that hadn't been released as of yet, but eventually showed up on future solo releases, notably "Factory of Magnificent Souls" from Dave Bainbridge's Veil of Gossamer album.

Disc Two features the band's acoustic set, which actually opened the concert at the University of London. Beautiful stripped down versions of new material shows up in the form of "Greenfields of Canada" alongside classics such as "Today" and "Chi-Rho". All told, there is about 2 hours and fifteen minutes of live music to enjoy over the course of two DVDs. As an added bonus, there is a 30-minute interview with individual band members discussing the concert as well as the recent activities of Iona.

I suppose one may wonder why Iona is relegated to performing on a cramped tiny stage at The University of London for this DVD instead of a nice theater. Indeed, bass player Phil Barker is hidden behind Troy Donockley for most of the performance. But the video and sound quality are excellent and the band's performance is spot on. For anyone wishing to explore the music of Iona for the first time, Iona: Live in London is the perfect introduction.

Disc One: Main Programme

  1. Woven Cord
  2. Wave After Wave
  3. Inside My Heart
  4. Wind off the Lake
  5. A Dhia Ghleigil
  6. Factory of Magnificent Souls
  7. Encircling
  8. Strength
  9. Treasure
  10. Castlerigg/Reels
  11. Irish Day
  12. Bi-Se I mo Shuil Part 2
  13. Flight of the Wild Goose
  14. Murlough Bay

Disc Two: Special Features

Acoustic Set

  1. Chi-Rho
  2. Greenfields of Canada
  3. Edge of the World
  4. Jigs (Handsome Young Maidens/Trip to Athlone)
  5. Today


Added: September 20th 2006
Reviewer: Steve Pettengill
Related Link: Official Iona Home Page
Hits: 2005
Language: english

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