Magenta - 'Live: On Our Way To Who Knows Where'

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Magenta - 'Live: On Our Way To Who Knows Where'

A fine audio document of a band that never fails to impress.

As we wait with baited breath for Magenta’s next album we have the consolation prize of this live album (plus a previously unreleased studio track) from the increasingly popular progressive band from South Wales.

As the band’s repertoire evolves with the release of each new studio album, so the band’s rhythm section also seems to evolve. The nucleus of Magenta remains Christina Booth (vocals), Rob Reed (keyboards) and Chris Fry (guitars) but the bass and drums are now provided by Dan Nelson and Steve Roberts from fellow South Wales band Godsticks and this is the first time that their live contributions to Magenta have been featured on a live recording. Having seen this incarnation of the band play live at the CRS last year, they certainly appeared reanimated as a new five person formation and with Chris Fry allowed more freedom as the sole guitarist.

This is – as has become usual – a two disc set, with over 100 minutes of music, featuring songs from every album including four from the latest studio album ‘Chameleon’ and featured for the first time on a live release: ‘Glitterball’, ‘Guernica’, ‘Raw’ and ‘Red’. Also included is a bonus studio recording of ‘When We Were Young’ which is available on CD for the first time. It is, however, a curious release with an inscrutable title compounded by a marked lack of detail as to precisely when and where the material was actually recorded (other than “Recorded 2011 – 2012 throughout Europe”), and there is nothing on the band’s website to help with further information! I would think that fans of the band would be expecting to know precise details such as this…OK, there are “clues” that certain selections were recorded in Italy at the Verona Prog Festival in May 2012, including all six selections on the first disc, but fans tend to want to know more, particularly if anything from a show they attended is included.

The recordings all appear to be “warts and all” and devoid of any studio retouching or embellishment, otherwise the first guitar solo on ‘I’m Alive’ would not have left to barge into the Christina’s vocals as it does. However, overall these recordings are a fine audio document of a band that never fails to impress existing fans and an ever-growing circle of new adherents. There is a vibrancy about the four songs from ‘Metamorphosis’ that is perhaps missing from their studio counterparts while live favourites such as ‘Revolutions: Medley’ (the shortened version is now generally performed) include revised arrangements which helps to keep things fresh for the band and audiences alike.

Paul Jerome Smith

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