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Song of Scheherezade
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The two concerts represented on this DVD have been filmed in black and white, and as the result the video isn't what one would hope. That said, there is a dearth of video material for Renaissance so anything is welcome. And the best part is that the two concerts are actually of the band... they were shot from the stage and give you an up-close and personal view of the group in action. There isn't any of that vertigo-inducing MTV editing that seems to be so much part and parcel of many modern concert vids.
I give this a definite five stars. The video isn't perfect and the audio isn't exquisite, but the music represents two really great periods of Renaissance output.
If you're a fan, I highly recommend it!
There are two concerts on the disc. The 1979 show is playing now and represents such a tragic decline for Renaissance that it pains me to hear it. I find it incredible that they could have plunged to such depths. Personnel changes took place between the two shows recorded for this offering, and the one is 1979 is horrible. Annie Haslam is out of tune. Need I say more.
The 1976 concert at The Capital Theater is transcendent. It was very similar to the ones I remember in Austin and Houston two years later. The material is a wish list for Renaissance fans, and Annie's five-octave voice is in full bloom. The group was in perfect form as they moved through the best of their catalogue in what really was a dream set list for the knowledgeable fan.
Aside from the overall excellence of this performance by this criminally obscure band, Jon Camp's bass playing marks him as one of the best of the era, as he treats his four-stringed guitar like a lead instrument.
Annie Haslam is captured exactly as I remember her: beautiful, elegant, and flawless. Great possibilities came to fruition when Renaissance mixed an opera singer with virtuoso rock. I fell in love with her thirty years ago along with every other guy in Jones Hall, and I am now left to pine anew.
Sadly, the first 'Renaissance' DVD was released to the public as a faulty product. The company, Cherry Red Records, is working on correcting the problem.
Please do not purchase the DVD until we give the go ahead.
If yours is faulty, please contact Cherry Red directly. Contact information will be on your copy.
Renaissance assumes no responsibility for this, as it was out of their hands. They are very upset this has happened and are sad about the disappointment felt by many fans."
Much has already been made of the fact that the sound and video quality on this disc is less than optimal (ah, the anal retentive prog-rock fan), but please try to remember that this was the 70s, and video documentation of this group is sadly negligible to begin with (apart from some even poorer quality footage of the group on Rock Concert which you can find on YouTube). Despite all that one can still enjoy the fruits of this extraordinary ensemble. Their music, so full of wonder and bereft of the desperate, self-conscious fear and irony that completely dominates modern music, is an oasis for the soul. Also, in a strange way, the black-and-white footage lends a kind of poignancy to the proceedings, giving the musicians the look of phantoms from the past, which in essence is what they are.
Here are some highlights:
-- Annie Haslam giggling and laughing between songs, chatting it up with the rowdy Jersey crowds.
-- Jon Camp's left hand, which never stops moving over the neck of his bass.
-- Camp's intro to Scheherezade, which is snarkier and racier than on Live at Carnegie Hall.
-- John Tout, like an octopus, replicating all the various orchestral parts on his ARPs.
-- the ultra-cheesy 70s disco flying saucer lights on Secret Mission.
-- Annie Haslam dancing with her hands on her hips, and the guy in the audience proposing to her (and, of course, her zillion-octave vocal range).
--oh, and did I mention ALL OF FRIGGIN' SCHEHEREZADE!!
There is much humanity in this music. Renaissance in the 70s embodied youth, passion, imagination, and joy. You almost want to caress this band. Thanks to Cherry Red UK for releasing this, and working out the technical glitches. Enjoy!
(If they had performed Trip to the Fair, I would have been in tears.)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
These was not the "Song of Scheherezade" I thought it was. I was looking for
Something portraying Rimsky's music. Read more
This is apparantly the only available video of concerts from this group. I wish it were better quality and in color, but at least I have some video to supplement my fading... Read morePublished on September 13, 2013 by charles chase
As the other reviewers have stated, this is a 2 concert DVD, both shot in black in white. They're probably only 45 minutes to an hour each. They are not full concerts. Read morePublished on December 18, 2011 by J. Garaguso
I suppose I shouldn't be writing this since I haven't seen the DVD being reviewed here and apparently Amazon doesn't sell the product I'm gonna mention(they should!). Read morePublished on August 13, 2011 by K. Page
Annie Haslam, aside from her voice and costume, is UTTERLY adorable in these concerts. At one point, somebody shouts "You're beautiful! Read morePublished on February 3, 2011 by J. Baker
Cheesy b&w bootleg footage of Renaissance in their prime. Of Her in her prime. Lovely, lovely stuff. A splendor that is gone from the world. Worth it at twice the price. Read morePublished on May 30, 2010 by cutting edge
Let me start by saying that I am one of those die hard fans. On a production level, this was shot with some less than state of the art 1970's B&W equipment, and time has really... Read morePublished on March 14, 2010 by Chris M