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Pendragon: Past and Presence (DVD)

Celebrating the 21st Anniversary of the release of The Jewel comes this majestic live DVD concert from veteran proggers Pendragon, filmed in Poland on October 31st, 2006. Joining Nick Barrett, Clive Nolan, Peter Gee, and Joe Crabtree, are former members of the band who were in the groupfor that album as well as their early Marquee Club days. As you can gather, the setlist features mainly songs from that era, giving the entire show a special feeling of nostalgia and fond memories, certainly for the band as well as longtime fans who have followed their career since the early 80's.

The two hour concert features plenty of Pendragon classics, such as "Circus", "Leviathan", "Alaska", and "The Pleasure of Hope", all off The Jewel, and all with Rik Carter & John Barnfield sitting in on the keyboards and Julian Baker on backing vocals, rhythm guitar, and sax. When Clive Nolan comes back on stage for a ripping version of "The Black Knight", look out for some classic 80's styled ne-progressive rock, with symphonic keys, tight rhythms, and the soaring guitar work and vocals from Barrett. All the players come out for a rousing rendition of "Stan and Ollie", a perfect finale to a momentous occasion. Other standout songs performed include "Higher Circles", "Armageddon", "Excalibur", and "Dark Summer's Day".

With plenty of bonus features, this is roughly 3 hours of Pendragon for your buck, and a good way to remember and rejoice a classic album in the long and storied career from one of prog rock's longest running institutions.

Track Listing
1) Higher Circles
2) The Pleasure of Hope
3) Leviathan
4) Victims of Life
5) Armageddon
6) Fly High Fall Far
7) Excalibur
8) Please
9) Oh Divineo
10) Alaska
11) Dark Summer's Day
12) Circus
13) The Black Knight
14) 2AM
15) Stan and Ollie
Bonus Features
Interview with Nick Barrett and John Barnfield
Behind the Scenes
Nigel Harris on drums at Riffs Bar, UK Oct. 28th 2006
Band History, Discography, Photo Gallery, and more

Added: August 14th 2007
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Pendragon Website
Hits: 5826
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Pendragon: Past and Presence (DVD)
Posted by Elias Granillo, SoT Staff Writer on 2007-08-14 01:17:27
My Score:

Pendragon has existed for 28 years?! Yeah, that sounds about right. Pendragon rode in on the wave of UK bands that included Marillion, IQ, Twelfth Night and Pallas, which means Nick Barrett and company got started in the late '70s. Pendragon mainstay Clive Nolan (two decades, now!) is preceded by two earlier keyboardists, John Barnfield and Rik Carter the latter can be heard on the entirety of The Jewel, still regarded by some as the band's zenith. Longtime drummer Fudge Smith vacated his post and was replaced by a fresh-faced Joe Crabtree. Dutiful bassist Pete Gee should not be overlooked.

Fudge may be AWOL, but everybody else, including saxophonist/guitarist Julian Baker, is reunited for this performance subtitled "21st Anniversary of The Jewel concert." (So where is Jewel drummer Nigel Harris? Answer: he's caught in a separate bonus performance of "Dark Summer's Day" with the band in an intimate hell, more like cramped bar setting back in the U.K.) The core of Barrett, Gee and Crabtree perform with a revolving-door configuration involving Nolan (absent for the bulk of the set) and the others. The familiar line-up opens with "Higher Circle" and then Nolan exits enter Barnfield at stage right. He's at his own three-keyboard rig topped by a Minimoog on which he plays many a velvety lead on the perfect patch. "The Pleasure Of Hope" requires lush analog sounds, which is probably why Barnfield (who helped write, but not record it) plays on it and not Carter. Both guys are fine keyboardists, however (Carter uses Nolan's 'boards), and the live versions of "Victims Of Life," "Fly High, Fall Far," "Excalibur," "Alaska," et. al., come off rockin' and groovin.' Barrett is especially in fine form with his guitar and husky vocals, while Crabtree's drumming is economical yet powerful. Nolan's return on "The Black Knight" demonstrates once again why he got the gig back in '86. Baker adds his two pence on sax, rhythm guitar and backing vocals for a few songs, but doesn't really stand out until the encore "2AM," a song Barrett puts down his guitar for. It's a nice, intimate number that the leader of Pendragon uses to come down and interact with the audience. At last, the whole gang reconvenes for the finale "Stan and Ollie," with an opportunity to bring the tempo to a crawl and reintroduce the players. Within the slowdown, some nice, crafty solos are indulged, but Gee's is about as inspiring as Chris Squire's four-note extravaganza during "I've Seen All Good People" on the Union tour.

While Past and Presence has quite a few extras in the aforementioned live bonus, a behind-the-scenes segment, and interview with Barrett & Barnfield that will all make this a worthwhile acquisition, its unique setlist and inherent nostalgic appeal will remain the main draw.

» Reader Comments:

Pendragon: Past and Presence (DVD)
Posted by Felipe Fleury on 2007-05-12 13:05:15
My Score:

The DVD is great, wonderful, I am brazilian fan of Pendragon since the release of The Masquerade Overture album and I love this new DVD, the package is amazing, beautiful, but, the problem is: the camera mens!

Yeah, sometimes Nick does solo and the cam show others, sometimes Clive does solo and the cam show others members... and this is bad!

The rest is good, but i would like to see entire solos and no the faces of the members or that flyin cams when the solos going on...

Enjoy Past and Presence but prepare for don't see the solos!

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