If you're familiar with Pendragon's newest CD Believe, you'll know
that the opening features a spoken voice saying - in a Germanic accent - "And
now ... everybody to the dance floor". Hence the title of their first live DVD
in about 10 years - And Now Everybody To the Stage. A good introduction
usually sets the tone for the whole concert that is to follow - and Believe's
very powerful classical/celtic intro is used here, along with stunning visuals,
culminating with that "...everybody to der dance floor" statement. And you just
know this is going to be a great listen.
Band leader, singer and guitarist Nick Barrett always looks scruffy with a
stubby beard and hair that's brushed with an egg beater - and his vocals are
delivered in a raspy strain. His tousled look and his singing doesn't have universal appeal, but Pendragon fans find his voice it instantly likeable and
above all Barrett comes across with
tremendous sincerity. Give it a chance, and this music will grow on you. One of
the advantages of DVDs is that you get a very different perspective on
music you thought you already knew - and here, you might be impressed by the
rhythm section. Gee's basswork is excellent, and new drummer Joe Crabtree's
performance is particularly strong. It's also interesting to watch Barrett's
slide guitar work, and fortunately the cameramen have no fear of zooming right
in to the fretboard during many of the solos.
Predictably, most songs differ somewhat from the original studio releases,
but the mood and the passion are the same. It's clear that Nick Barrett feels
close to the music, and on tracks like "The Wishing Well", "Am I Really Losing
You" and "Kowtow", the emotion pours from his delivery and you can't help feeling moved.
Believe was a rather different album to most previous Pendragon releases,
and it's well represented here - particularly with the 3-part "The Wishing Well"
which is a standout on the DVD. "Edge Of The World" is an excellent piece, and
went down well with local audience with mention of Poland in the lyrics. A
moving piece, with its delicate acoustic guitar opener and gradual buildup to a
neo progressive classic.
And Now Everybody To the Stage features songs from the band's entire
back catalog, and was recorded in the the Wyspianski Theatre in Katowice during
the Polish leg of their 2006 Believe tour. They were supported by Mind
Key and Galahad, whose performances we understand were also filmed. Metal Mind's sound quality
and camera work are always excellent, the Wyspianski is an upmarket
establishment, and the entire production is wonderfully polished. The DVD
includes a "Progumentary", a collection of amateur clips taken during
the recording of Believe. that will yield valuable insights to the
development of that CD, and Barrett' approach to the project. There's also an interview with Barrett, and a
lot of text- and image-only features with information that you'll find more
easily readable online.
There's no new material here but for anyone who ever appreciated Pendragon's music, And Now Everybody To
the Stage is a must-have.
1. No Place For The Innocent
2. As Good As Gold
3. Guardian Of My Soul
5. The Wishing Well
6. The Edge Of The World
8. The Dance Of The Seven Veils
10.The Last Waltz
11.Breaking The Spell
12.Masters Of Illusion
13.The Black Knight
14.The Lost Children / Green Eyed Angel / Sister Bluebird / The Last Man On
15.Am I really Losing You