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Pendragon: Concerto Maximo (DVD)

A new Pendragon CD or DVD is always exciting and their latest release entitled Concerto Maximo does not disappoint. The concert was filmed at the Teatr Slaski in Katowice, Poland. Everything we have come to expect from Pendragon is here. Fantastic keyboards courtesy of Nolan, Barrett's lead vocals conveying that endearing Englishness and amazing guitar melodies reminiscent of Gilmour, powerful drumming by Scott Higham (replacing Fudge Smith) and the dependable bass of Peter Gee. The vocal melodies are spot on throughout this concert as all band members do a fine job in the vocal department. Nick Barrett's lead vocals are filled with emotion and his guitar playing is a real highlight throughout this DVD as he demonstrates wonderful technique in these seventeen songs. It also helps to have excellent close-up photography enabling the viewer to witness the superb talent this band possesses. Also worthy of mention is the drum-work of Higham. Displaying powerful strokes or subtle touches along with the outstanding use of cymbals, Higham really shines in a live setting.

The set list offers a good overview of Pendragon's entire career. The one disappointment is the fact that only three songs from Pure are performed as the band did not have enough rehearsal time, but I suppose we can forgive them for that. "The Walls of Babylon" is a great way to start the concert as the audience is clearly engaged right from the start. Barrett and Nolan's synchronous riffs at the beginning start the song with a flourish and the chorus is irresistible. I love the close-up video of Barrett's guitar playing as we can see just how much feel he has for the instrument. The lovely "Man of Nomadic Traits" with its haunting melody has always been a favourite of mine and this live version is no different. Barrett's vocals and guitar picking are very good and Higham absolutely kills on the drums. Barrett is pretty underrated as a guitarist as his fleet fingers move up and down the frets with ease and his soloing is filled with passion and emotion. The dynamic "The Wishing Well" is an epic piece that combines the best that Pendragon has to offer. From heavy to pastoral atmospheres this song has it all. Different themes are not really interconnected with a common thread but somehow it works, and the slide guitar from Barrett reminds me of Division Bell era Gilmour. "Eraserhead", taken from Pure, sees the band firing on all cylinders. This time its Nolan's turn to shine and Higham's use of cymbals is very nice.

Other highlights include "Sister Bluebird", "Breaking the Spell" (Barrett really delivers), "We'll Go Hunting Deer" and a masterful rendition of "Queen of Hearts", a fine way to end a superb concert. The bonus material is also of high quality and worthy of your time.

The way I see it there are no weak tracks here, the performance is solid, and the band really seemed to be enjoying themselves and I enjoyed watching them just as much. For anyone interested in neo/symphonic prog, this is an essential purchase.

Track Listing:
1. The Walls of Babylon
2. A Man of Nomadic Traits
3. The Wishing Well
4. Eraserhead
5. Total Recall
6. Nostradamus
7. Learning Curve
8. Breaking the Spell
9. Sister Bluebird
10. The Shadow
11. The Freak Show
12. The Voyager
13. It's Only Me
14. Masters of Illusion
15. The King of the Castle
16. And We'll Go Hunting Deer
17. Queen of Hearts
Bonus Features:
Interview
Biography
Discography
Photo Gallery
Desktop Images
Weblinks

Added: May 24th 2009
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Score:
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 2462
Language: english

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