Tag Archive: geoff downes


Prog Review 388 – Like It Is Live at the Mesa Centre – Yes

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FIRST LOOK – Like It Is at the Mesa Arts Centre – Yes

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Prog Review 238 – Gravitas – Asia

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And so I have a listen to the fourteenth studio album from Asia.

Prog Review 198 – S/T – GTR

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And so we crawl towards the mighty 200th video and I decide to knock off one album that’s featured in my intro (I said album, not box set).

 

Prog Review 28: Yes – Live at the Hammersmith Apollo 17-11-11

And so it came to pass that I was to break my 20-year drought of not going to Yes concerts on a pure whim. It was a long journey from east to west, but we arrived in good time only to have our concert-going experience spoilt by three arseholes in front of us at the queue at the box office. C’est la vie!

So what do I think? Well you’ll have to watch the video to find out!!!

Setlist:
Yours Is No Disgrace
Tempus Fugit
I’ve Seen All Good People
Life On A Film Set
And You And I
Solitaire
(Steve Howe solo)
Trambone
(Chet Atkins cover) (Steve Howe solo)
Heart Of The Sunrise
Set 2
Fly From Here – Overture
Fly From Here Pt I – We Can Fly
Fly From Here Pt II – Sad Night At The Airfield
Fly From Here Pt III – Madman At The Screens
Fly From Here Pt IV – Bumpy Ride
Fly From Here Pt V – We Can Fly Reprise
Wonderous Stories
Into The Storm
Machine Messiah
Starship Trooper

Encore:
Roundabout

Click here for glorious 720p video

Title Music:
“Stinkhorn” by Darren Lock

Background Music:
“Among The Stars” by Darren Lock
“One Brain” by Darren Lock
“A Hope in the Dark” by Darren Lock

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CD Review: Raised in Captivity – John Wetton

I’m not the biggest fan of John Wetton’s solo career, so I was a bit worried about reviewing his new album “Raised in Captivity”. The record boasts guest appearances from Steve Morse, Robert Fripp, Steve Hackett, Tony Kaye, Eddie Jobson and Geoff Downes.

The opener “Lost for Words” is memorable for its stop-start structure which elevates a pretty standard pop-rock song from the doldrums. In fact, it’s a pretty strong track to open an album, but it tootles along at a pretty pace, doesn’t outstay its welcome and features a pretty nifty solo from Steve Morse. The only downside is the lyrics drag for a while, but if you like Asia, you is going to love this.

“Raised in Captivity” features Wetton’s King Crimson bandmate Robert Fripp and his presence is noted from the outset with his familiar atmospheric soundscaped guitar, which bookends the song. It’s a shame that we don’t get a proper solo from our man Fripp. The song then moves into pretty standard rock riff territory and deals with one man being born into captivity. Of course, this is metaphorical restraint and he’s not talking about being brought up like a modern wolfboy or something. I really enjoyed the bass on this one, which sees Wetton slapping and sliding his way through the song.

The third track starts with a gallic sounding accordion and acoustic guitar. “Goodbye Elsinore” is a departure from the pop-rock style and is a real “hold your lighters aloft” moment – or maybe in this day-and-age you hold your mobile phones up. But what makes the track for me is a very complimentary guitar solo from Steve Hackett. My only criticism was his contribution was so brief.

“The Last Night of my Life” starts with a staccato guitar riff that wouldn’t be amiss from an Asia album or even a later day King Crimson record. Unfortunately, what starts promising descends into an audio fog and comes back out the other side again. I liked what they were trying to do here, but I think it might have worked better if some of the big guitar chords were stripped away and more space was given to Wetton’s vocals. He has a thick voice and the song just ends up being really dense on the busy parts.

According to the blurb “We Stay Together” is the bonus track of the album and it is a really big, pomp rock song but when push comes to shove it’s just another rock love song, which leaves me shrugging and going “meh”. Unremarkable really, but then I guess that’s why it is the bonus track and the lyrics are taken from the big book of Rhymes “Let’s spend the night together, spend our life together” etc. Not sure why they put it in the middle of the album – I thought bonus tracks came at the end normally.

“The Human Condition” (I kept wanting to call it “The Human Centipede”) lurches into life and resembles something that Emerson, Lake and Palmer might have done during the 1990s – Paper Blood, anyone? It’s big, plodding and brash with “The Human Condition” being sung as a backing vocal throughout. I don’t get it. I think I would have preferred a song about “The Human Centipede”.

Steffi’s Ring (piece) – sorry, “Steffi’s Ring” moves us into pseudo-folk territory with rambling acoustic guitars and a rustic air pervading the atmosphere. Ooooh, he used the word vermillion, and I am sure he’s meant to rhyme it with “creed or religion” but it sounds all mangled and he might as well been singing “cheese and onion” for all its worth. Listen to it and tell me what you think the line is supposed to be. Is that a real flute solo or did Geoff Downes perform it on the keyboard? These are the questions that need answers. And a hey-nonny-nonny to all that, eh?

I was expecting big things from “The Devil and the Opera House” as the lyrics were a co-write with old King Crimson lyric pensmith Richard Palmer-James. I found it a bit of a dull old thing, a worn sock of a song, but it was nice to hear Eddie Jobson scrape his bow across his violin again. But I didn’t get this song at all. Not sure what it wanted to be – lots of mixed imagery – but doesn’t add up to a whole heap of beans.

“New Star Rising” by now the album was testing my patience and my tolerance threshold had been reached. Underneath the guitars, there is an old-fashioned boogie-woogie number trying to get out I tell you. Nice to hear Mick Box from Uriah Heep on this though… I always have a soft spot for the Uriah Heep track “One Way or Another” from their High and Mighty album that features Wetton on lead vocals.

The penultimate track is what you’d call a power ballad and “Don’t Misunderstand Me” is pretty standard fare. Again, this has Asia DNA running through it though it lacks the shine and polish of that band. I’ll be honest, I didn’t like it. This isn’t a song for me, especially when Wetton sings that “this is straight from the heart” – I just want to reach for the sick bag.

“Mighty Rivers” is a much-needed musical departure, which embraces choral music and veers into symphonic rock territory with Wetton employing the vocal talents of soprano Anneke Van Geirsbergen and the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. I like the intention of it, but as the song progresses I was thinking one word – one single word – and that word was “Eurovision”. The European visitors will know what I am talking but for those of you who are viewing this far and wide in the world, I suggest you use Wikipedia too look up the entry for the Eurovision Song Contest and all will be revealed. It’s not a bad song, it just feel so out of place on this record. But if the UK wants to win the Eurovision, I suggest getting John to enter this track.

I find it to be objective about an album like this because the music borders on the fringes of rock that I avoid. But I like John Wetton and admire him for his contribution to King Crimson, his time with Roxy Music and UK. Of course, marks are knocked off for Asia (spit). If you like this kind of MOR pop-rock then you are going to be well at home, but don’t come here expecting past glories. Unfortunately, this is an album that fails to engage with my sensibilities.

For that reason, and that reason alone, I give it a middle-of-the-road two-and-a-half Larks’ Tongues in Aspic out of five.

Album Review: Yes – Fly From Here

As I am getting almost zero traffic via Google now, there’s probably no chance anyone will ever find my reviews like they used to. So in order to increase my visibility, I have decided to create my own YouTube review channel and do video reviews of progressive rock albums instead.

The first is my review of the new Yes album. Enjoy!