Fireworks

Curved Air - 'Live Atmosphere' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/d2/6d/5b/3201_CurvedAirLiveAtmosphere_1359404566.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     January 28, 2013    
 
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A fine document of a band having a belated second bite of the cherry.

Crikey!! I knew that a contemporary version of Curved Air had been out on tour, but as I was nurturing very happy memories of seeing the original line-up a couple of times in the early 1970s when their seminal albums ‘Air Conditioning’ and ‘Second Album’ had been released to rave reviews, I decided to give the ‘Live Atmosphere’ tour a wide berth. This package (a 13-track CD accompanied by a bonus DVD) suggests I was foolishly mistaken…

The lovely Sonja Kristina may no longer be a spring chicken, but she still has the pipes and there’s even the band’s original drummer, the delightfully named Florian Pilkington-Miksa here too. The rest of the combo (Paul Sax – violin, Kit Morgan – guitar, Robert Norton – keyboards and Chris Harris – bass) I’ve not encountered before, but my goodness they have certainly recreated the parts played by (respectively) Darryl Way, Francis Monkman and Robert Martin or Ian Eyre (for most of the repertoire presented here comes from the two albums mentioned above) absolutely splendidly, and in a number of cases have embellished the originals very successfully, while keeping them pretty faithful to how they were originally.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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So, we get great renditions of ‘Propositions’, ‘Hide And Seek’ ‘Screw’, ‘Stretch’ and ‘It Happened Today’ from ‘Air Conditioning’ and ‘Everdance’ and ‘Back Street Luv’ from ‘Second Album’ (seven of the eleven substantive tracks here).Other similarly successfully recreated songs are ‘Marie Antoinette’ and an extended ‘Melinda’ from third album ‘Phantasmagoria’, while the title track does not come over well here, and indeed, I have always regarded this song as something of a throwaway! From fourth album ‘Air Cut’ only ‘Easy’ was included, and this is not a track with which I was previously familiar, having by the time of this album’s release left Curved Air to their incessant personnel changes… However overall, this was a confident and actually mostly rather impressive performance and I am sorry I eschewed the opportunity of seeing a date on the tour.

The bonus DVD runs for nearly 20 minutes, the first quarter of which comprises the instrumental opening (‘Atmospheric Overture’ and ‘Armin’) from one of the gigs on the tour, while the rest is a melange of short sections (performance, interviews, general views) to give some sort of an impression of the tour. It’s not an essential (unless you are on it, of course!) and is therefore quite properly only a “bonus”.

The CD, however, is largely a fine document of a band having a belated second bite of the cherry!

Paul Jerome Smith

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