It seems that any progressive band that had a female singer was compared to Renaissance, even in the case of Curved Air. Actually Curved Air had more in common with groups like King Crimson and Van Der Graaf Generator as they weren't shy about musical experimentation. Unfortunately, the band broke up in the mid seventies and all we have left are the occasional archive live material and now this DVD, courtesy of Classic Rock Productions.
Performed in a studio for Belgium TV in 1972, the film itself is a hoot. Four songs are presented, namely "Marie Antoinette", "Propositions", "Melinda More or Less" and "Vivaldi". The sound quality isn't the best, but the visuals more than make up. Vocalist Sonja Kristina very often performs in an exaggerated possessed manner like Ian Anderson or Peter Gabriel. Then she slows down for "Melinda More or Less" and plays the part of a folky hippy girl, gently strumming an acoustic guitar and sings solemnly into the camera. But the real highlight here is "Vivaldi", an instrumental freakout that allows violinist Daryl Way to show off along with the rest of the band. These guys must have put on one hell of a live show in their heyday.
The DVD is capped off by a brief new interview with Daryl Way who reminisces on his tenure with Curved Air.
Now for the bad news. The Curved Air performance, along with the Daryl Way interview lasts little more than half an hour. According to the box, the interview is ten minutes long, but it barely registers 4 minutes on my counter. The DVD "extras" take up most of the disc! There is a 43 minute "Classic Rock Showcase" which is essentially several previews of other Classic Rock DVD releases. It is useful if you want to familiarize yourself with other artists on the Classic Rock DVD label, such as Karnataka, Nektar and Caravan. But it's hardly all that exciting. The other extra is a 16 minute "Masters from the Vaults", which is a sort of medley of upcoming early concerts that are eventually being released by the label, including Atomic Rooster and Family. I look forward to these releases, but it would have been much nicer to feature more Curved Air material. Surely, there are some other things lingering in the vaults somewhere!
I highly recommend this DVD to Curved Air enthusiasts, but if you want to familarize yourself with this band, start with any of their first three albums. Just don't expect this one to live up to modern film techniques and you will probably enjoy it though!