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Saga - 'Live In Hamburg' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/63/a7/4c/saga-live-in-hamburg-90-1482788345.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     December 26, 2016    
 
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As good a set-list as any of their other live albums and shows what amazing players and writers they are.

Here's a strange one. Not the fact that Saga are releasing a live double album, there have been many of those, but towards the end of 2015 German label earMUSIC announced an extensive re-master and re-issue campaign covering all Saga's studio releases from the last two decades. Issued in pairs, 'The Beginners Guide To Throwing Shapes' and 'The Security Of Illusion' came first, each containing bonus tracks from their Hamburg show in 2015. A few weeks later 'Generation 13' and 'Steel Umbrellas' followed, again with bonus tracks from the same show, but when the next two were due, just 'The Pleasure And The Pain' appeared, with no sign of the pre-debut sessions 'Phase One'. No further albums have been forthcoming and now the whole Hamburg show has appeared on the release schedule, a limited edition version of something that I was under the impression was only supposed to provide bonus tracks for a dozen re-issues. I don't mind this too much, it's one of their more interesting live releases, which in addition to featuring all the expected "hits" also includes a handful of rarely played gems and a couple of real surprises.

Of late, Saga shows have Ian Crichton's scintillating guitar work louder in the mix at the expense of Jim Gilmour's keys, and that's somewhat the case here, but maybe not as blatantly as on some of their live recordings. The balance is just about perfect on the unexpected opening of '(Goodbye) Once Upon A Time' and 'Someone Should', neither of which have been aired much since their respective albums came out in the eighties. Similarly, 1979's 'Hot To Cold' is another half-forgotten gem from their quirky 'Images At Twilight' album sandwiched between the standards 'You're Not Alone' and 'On The Loose', although it's one of many tracks where Michael Sadler's commanding vocals are much louder than Gilmour's and the playing seems a bit messy. The rest of the first disc plays out with other unusual choices and recent songs; a slightly rough version of the 'Sagacity' Pop Rocker 'On My Way', Gilmour's turn in the vocal spotlight with a snippet of the unlisted piano ballad 'Not This Way' and his trademark 'Scratching The Surface', the anthemic 'Time To Go' and another song from last year, the contemporary brilliance of 'I'll Be'.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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Disc two is a bit more predictable with many Saga classics like 'Don't Be Late', 'Ice Nice' and 'The Flyer' taking things to a perfect sing-along ending, but besides a lengthy and rather unnecessary drum solo from Mike Thorne, the real surprise of this disc is the inclusion of the title track from 'Wildest Dreams'. The band have famously avoided playing any of the wonderful music on the two albums that Gilmour and original drummer Steve Negus weren't involved in, but here the underrated hi-tech Prog/AOR classic sounds totally wonderful and hopefully opens the door to more from that era, although I guess a complete run through of '...Shapes' is a pipedream I'll probably take to my grave.

Well recorded and mixed (would you expect anything else from such accomplished studio cats?), 'Live In Hamburg' is as good a set-list as any of their other live albums and shows what amazing players and writers they are and how much Sadler is the only vocalist who should ever front this great Canadian band.

Phil Ashcroft

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  • SeaDog57 : just an observation. I just got Issue 89 at the Bookstore and when i looked at the spine of the magazine it says "Fireworks Issue 85 Winter Jan - Mar 2019" Was this a misprint? The rest of the Magazine is Issue 89. Was just wondering did anyone else notice this?
  • Berny : Apologies! Magazine can now be accessed from your download section. Best wishes, B.
  • Berny : @Martykelly: We're sorry
  • Martykelly : Just purchased issue 89 hoping its going to be in my download soon.
  • Johns Band : Will "Watch & Listen" music videos make a comeback. Just order H.E.A.T. "Live In London" CD.
  • Berny : @the trapps: Apologies for the delay in processing your order. The magazine is now available in your downloads section.
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  • tomandpam : I paid for a download on issue 89 and didn't receive the download. Please let me know when I can get it. Thanks
  • Berny : @zom414: Fireworks Magazine #89 will be available at selected UK based newsagents on December 16th. The digital version can already be purchased in our Download Store.
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  • l.thijs : Hi Fireworks Magazine. I made a purchase on 10 nov and I paid by Paypall. I bought the #85 fireworks mag download for GBP3,50. But I didn,t receive anything. Please can you find out what's going on?
  • kazooba : I have digital versions of every issue from 27 thru 88, any way I can get issues 1 - 26 with cd's digitally?
  • Berny : @SeaDog57: The links are in the Fireworks menu. Have you tried scrolling down? Maybe your screen size is too small...
  • SeaDog57 : Berny; there are only links up to Fireworks 86. Which is kinda strange because i already downloaded CD 87 but i'm looking for the link to CD 88...Chris
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  • bpomper : Thanks didnt of that. I still have not heard about fireworks 88 was it sent out. Thankyou
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  • bpomper : Thanks for the reply. I see download but can you confirm that hardcopy was or is sent ou .thanks.the email i used is inder the contact me info of the website
  • Berny : @bpomper: Apologies for your troubles. Where did you send the email to? We haven't received anything. I will send you a longer reply via mail. Also, you can download the free CD from the "Fireworks" menu on top, but the CD links are only shown if you are logged in.
  • bpomper : 3rd email inquiring about my purchase of fireworks #88. i purchased on the 2oth of sept and today is the 24 with no response...paypal has taken the payment. should i have a down load of the cd for mu usa magazine. Looking forward to an answer
  • bpomper : hello i purchased fireworks #88 through paypal on9/23 and have not recieved an email from rocktopia. purchase is for a hard copy of the mag. should i have cd download instructions.when should i expect it
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