Magenta - 'Live At Real World'

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Magenta - 'Live At Real World'

Indeed, I feel that it should appeal to a very broad range of this web site's readership. Fantastic!

While Magenta is currently taking a break from live appearances, we are in the meanwhile treated to a double CD plus DVD package capturing their acoustic concert augmented by a string quartet and oboe that was performed in front of a specially invited audience of the band's fans at Peter Gabriel's Real World studios near Bath on 21 November 2009. The double CD contains the audio recording of the concert but additionally three songs recorded at Real World the following day ('Night And Day', 'I'm Alive' and 'All Around The World'). The DVD (NTSC, all region) features the entire 96 minute concert with two sound mixes (stereo and 5.1) plus a number of extras including the promotional video of 'Blind Faith', a 5.1 mix of 'Joe' from 'Home' and two photo galleries.

The concert drew its repertoire from the widest possible selection of Magenta releases, and in the first half of the concert, one of the songs from Christina's debut solo album is also performed – here called 'Hate You', but re-titled to 'Hanging By A Thread' when her album was released earlier this year.



Having got the factual stuff out of the way, I have to make early comment about the warmth of the sound as presented here – because it is really is quite extraordinary: and the choice of the setting for this acoustic concert was clearly a key component in achieving the notable resonance. Additionally, the resident grand piano certainly adds a magnificence to the songs that is oh so different from the assortment of synthesisers and electric keys that Rob Reed normally has at his disposal. The augmentation of many of the songs by the string quartet and oboe also provides a different texture and an unexpected sparkle that underlines some subtleties in songs that have lain dormant until now. I suppose that the different renditions of 'Anger' that have been heard over the years exemplify what I mean here, and – of course – the version presented in this new context provides yet another perspective!

Christina's vocals are once again a total delight and Chris Fry's acoustic guitar playing is phenomenal: a complete masterclass. Along with Rob Reed, these three are omnipresent throughout the concert, and I just have to remark that their performance of 'Journey's End' is absolutely spine-tingling. It's a difficult song to deliver – and they do so magnificently, and is for me a complete revelation of the understanding and trust that the three of them have built up over a considerable time. Drummer Kieran Bailey, bassist Dan Fry and returning guitarist Martin Rosser only appear for what might be termed "the meatier numbers" in the second part of each half of the performance ('Blind Faith', 'King Of The Skies', and 'Speechless'; 'The Ballad Of Samuel Layne', 'Prekestolen' and 'Metamorphosis') but add a delicious icing on the cake to these songs.

I wish I could have been present for this concert; it was clearly an absolute triumph and I urge all fans of Magenta to add this fabulous package to their collections. Indeed, I feel that it should appeal to a very broad range of this web site's readership. Fantastic!

Paul Jerome Smith

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