ALAN PARSONS' JOURNEY FROM THE DARK SIDE OF THE MOON GOES SYMPHONIC IN COLOMBIA
Alan Parsons started his long and distinguished career in music as an engineer at Abbey Road studios and famously worked on Pink Floyd's legendary 'Dark Side Of The Moon' album.
Inspired to create his own kind of complex yet personal music he has released a string of hugely successful albums under the moniker of The Alan Parsons Project starting with 'Tales Of Mystery And Imagination' in 1976.
In 2013 the Medellin Philharmonic Orchestra joined the current version of the Parsons Project at a live open air show in their city and now for the first time this collaboration is available through earMusic as a DVD, Blu-ray, 2-CD digipak, 3 x Vinyl, and download under the title 'Live In Colombia'.
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It's been a forty three year journey for Alan Parsons to finally get to play with the sweeping grandeur of an orchestra on a live release and there was even a delay of three years between the show being recorded and this release. I have delayed things even further by not getting my review copy until now, several weeks after release but for anyone interested in the quality work from this guy I can finally confirm it is really worth investigating.
The line up for this tour included Project regulars PJ Olsson on vocals Alastair Greene on guitar and vocals and Todd Cooper on saxophone ,guitar and vocals. The vocals part is important to emphasise as along with the main man himself they all take turns singing lead and all have huge impacts on the songs concerned.
The musicianship is superb throughout of course and you can tell that some real thought has gone into the arrangements too, so that they make full use of having that orchestra behind them. This is particularly evident when, in classic vinyl terminology the whole of the second side of the 'Turn Of A Friendly Card' is performed consecutively bringing the audience to their feet in appreciation at the climax.
It's not the only time that the audience are up on their feet as despite much of the material being thoughtful and restrained in nature this is South America after all! At the more uptempo moments such as the lush instrumental 'Luciferama' they are pleased to be up and sharing their energy with the band.
The set list will be important to any Parsons aficionados and a real spread of material is here including something from almost all the band's albums. The fact that real quality songs like 'The Raven' and 'Don't Answer Me' are thrown in so early in the set shows the depth of songs available to them and the final run of the main set 'Silence And I/Prime Time/Sirius/Eye In The Sky/Old And Wise' really shows how true that is. Olsson's vocals on the two ballads book ending that run are simply tremendous as is Todd Cooper's saxophone solo in the climactic finale.
The music in this release is excellent although the recording somehow makes it feel under powered somehow at times. Watching it purely as a DVD like I did it's not the most exciting event to watch either as there is no real stageshow to speak of. These are minor drawbacks though, I think this is a real treat for any fans of the man and an interesting way in to the back catalogue for any newbies. Check it out either way.
1. I Robot // 2. Damned If I Do // 3. Don’t Answer Me // 4. Breakdown // 5. The Raven // 6. Time // 7. I Wouldn’t Want To Be Like You // 8. La Sagrada Familia // 9. The Turn Of A Friendly Card (Part One) // 10. Snake Eyes // 11. The Ace Of Swords // 12. Nothing Left To Lose // 13. The Turn Of A Friendly Card (Part Two) // 14. What Goes Up // 15. Luciferama // 16.Silence And I // 17. Prime Time // 18. Sirius // 19. Eye In The Sky // 20. Old And Wise // 21. Games People Play