Caamora: She (DVD)
The visual companion to She — a lavish two-CD set written by veteran British progressive rocker Clive Nolan and based on H. Rider Haggard's 1887 Victorian-adventure novel of the same name — expands on Caamora's rock opera and leaves viewers with a better understanding of both the story and why good proggers aren't necessarily good actors.
Nolan and Pallas frontman Alan Reed are the main male characters in this majestic, large-scale story of a white African queen who made herself immortal by bathing in a pillar of fire. Performed on Halloween night 2007 at the Wyspianski Theater in Katowice, Poland, with minimal props, elaborate video and lighting, and a magnificent band flanking both sides of a center-stage red carpet, She also features newcomer Agnieszka Swita in the title role (a Nolan discovery) and Magenta's Christina Booth. While Nolan and Reed often seem uncomfortable and lost on stage when simply standing or walking around without singing, the two female leads appear to be right at home. Swita's personality and voice are built for the stage, and Booth is a natural who deserved more face time. In fact, after the first few scenes, I found myself hoping Booth would never leave the stage. Her presence elevated the male performances and lent credibility to She in areas where it was lacking.
If you've heard the CD version, you know that She embraces themes of life, death, reincarnation, sexuality and fate via progressive-metal, symphonic-rock, classical-music and even borderline-pop motifs. Dynamic vocal interplay and a tight band of musicians that sound as if they've been playing together for years (including Richard West and Steve Williams on keys, Scott Higham and drums and John Jowitt on bass) help detract from some of She's pretentiousness and preachiness. And despite some of the questionable acting, the performance is distinct enough from what else is going on in today's prog universe to make She a worthwhile diversion. Nolan proves himself once and for all as a credible (if not overly powerful) vocalist and an even better writer.
3) The Veil
4) Covenant Of Faith
6) The Lost City
7) The Bonding
14) Fire Dance
19) The Eleventh Hour
20) Resting Place
21) The Hermit
22) The Sands of Time
23) Embrace The Fire
24) The Night Before
25) The Fire Of Life
Added: July 2nd 2008
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Official Caamora Web Site
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|Caamora: She (DVD)
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2008-07-02 15:32:56
The stage presentation of She from Clive Nolan's Caamora project, filmed in Poland late in 2007, is proof why sometimes these prog rock concept albums should just stay as that, as albums. The CD version of She is a sprawling symphonic prog opera, certainly a highlight of Nolan's storied career thus far, but on stage, She becomes an overly long, meandering affair, bordering on tedious at times, which really is a shame considering how adventurous and classy the overall work is. The problem here is that the actors/singers, Nolan, Pallas' Alan Reed, Magenta's Christina Booth, and Agnieszka Swita, just don't have enough to do other than sing their lines, and often times look bored and stiff standing on the stage when not delivering any vocal passages, especially Nolan and Reed. Also, the piece is just overall too long for this type of stage presentation, and after a while the whole thing becomes more of background music to the viewer as there's simply not enough going on from a visual standpoint to hold your interest, other than the beautiful faces of Swita & Booth. Performance wise, the singers really deliver here, as does the band & mini-orchestra, making for a grand treat from an audio perspective, not so much visually. Props to the Metal Mind team for another well shot presentation and superb audio, but the prog fan will need to decide if having this companion DVD is worth spending the money on when the CD alone might be sufficient. You make the call.
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