dvd & video review
“Our goal is to reconnect with each and every Renaissance fan in person”
(Annie Haslam & Michael Dunford)
First of all I want to thank Annie Haslam and manager Bruce Garfield for their confidence in progVisions ... by sending me the limited version of this wonderful DVD and 2 CD set. This unique set is recorded and filmed at The Keswick Theatre, Glenside, PA on September 23, 2011. For the fans who were present at this gig a dream came true. And now it is available to all of us... Renaissance live in concert ... performing two of their masterpieces, “Turn of the Cards” and “Scheherazade and Other Stories” in its entirety! Hopefully my dream to see Renaissance live in The Netherlands will also come true in the near future.
Annie Haslam - Lead vocals; Michael Dunford - Guitars & Vocals; Rave Tesar - Keyboards; David J. Keyes - Bass & Vocals; Jason Hart - Keyboards & Vocals; Frank Pagano - Drums, Percussion & Vocals
In the year 2009 Annie Haslam & Michael Dunford decided to reunite and breathe life back into Renaissance. The two original members are joining forces with high-calibre musicians Rave Tesar (keyboards), David J. Keyes (bass), Jason Hart (keyboards) and Frank Pagano (drums). Besides the still angelic voice of Annie Haslam the band has four extra voices to perform their classical and intelligent music. Also the fact that the band has now two excellent keyboard players has taken the band to new heights. The band played two sets on that memorable evening. The first set consists out of the album “Turn of the Cards” in its entirety and set two consists of the successor of that album “Scheherazade and Other Stories” and a new song called “The Mystic and the Muse”.
“Turn of the Cards” and “Scheherazade and Other Stories” are for many fans two of their favorite Renaissance albums. “Turn of the Cards” includes beside the great opener “Running Hard”, the delicate “I Think of You” and the classical “Things I Don't Understand” two of my personal favorite Renaissance tracks. “Black Flame” and “Mother Russia” that are separated by the delicate and wonderful song “Cold is Being”. The music on this album is very classical orientated. The classical piano forms often the basis of the music. Rave Tesar is playing those wonderful piano parts and Jason Hart is playing all kinds of keyboards to perform the classic orchestra parts. The keyboards orchestrations are great and Renaissance is approaching that classical feeling of that studio album. It all sounds fresh and the musicians are playing with great devotion. And what can I say about Annie Haslam ... it is amazing which range her voice can still reach ... she shines like an angel. If you listen to the encore “The Mystic and the Muse” you will understand my point of view and you will be pleasantly surprised.
The second set includes “Scheherazade and Other Stories” in its entirety. Besides the classic epic “Song of Scheherazade” that album consists of the wonderful songs “Trip to the Fair”, “Vultures Fly High” and “Ocean Gypsy”. It is fantastic to hear those songs in a live setting. The wonderful thing about this CD/DVD set is that you don't miss a real orchestra ... because of the wonderful keyboard orchestrations. Personally I like it very much that the music is also presented on two CD's. Watching a DVD is a different experience than listening only to the music. With this music you can, when you close your eyes, float away on the music to unknown worlds. Seeing a band performing live on the DVD format always is a little bit a static experience for me. But it is nice to see the joy of the musicians while performing this beautiful music that comes from the heart. The only criticism could be that you can find on the DVD only a stereo mix and not a full surround mix. But I know that this would have been a huge extra financial post. As Renaissance fans we all are delighted to have at last a great live document which includes video footage of this unique band.
Renaissance live in concert ... performing two of their masterpieces, “Turn of the Cards and “Scheherazade and Other Stories in its entirety! What can I say ... this is a great live document of a unique band that makes pure Symphonic Rock music. The wonderful thing about this CD/DVD set is that you don't miss a real orchestra ... because of the wonderful keyboard orchestrations. The beautiful package includes some artwork of Annie Haslam herself. For Renaissance fans this is a compulsory purchase. A document packed with timeless music. If you like real Classical Symphonic Rock this album is for you. If you don't know the band yet ... you will be in for a real treat.