Neo - Broadcast (2007)
DVD9 | VIDEO_TS | MPEG-2 Video, NTSC 16:9 (720:480), 29.97fps, 6913kbps | DD 5.1, 448kbps; DD 2.0, 224kbps | 140min | 7000Mb
Rock | Metal Mind MVDV4578 | rec: 2006 | covers
In 1996 a group of British neo-prog veterans decided to get together and do a one-off tour featuring the music from each of their bands, and also film one of their shows for DVD. NEO is what they called themselves, and Broadcast is that DVD. It captures bandmates Andy Edwards (IQ) on drums, John Jowitt (IQ, Jadis, Arena) on bass, Clive Nolan (Pendragon, Arena, Shadowland) on keyboards, Mark Westwood (Martin Orford Band) on guitar, along with special guests Alan Reed (Pallas) on lead vocals, Nick Barrett (Pendragon) on guitar and lead vocals, and John Barnsfield (ex-Pendragon) on keyboards performing live at the Wyspianski (Slaski) Theatre in Katowice, Poland on October 31st, 2006.
NEO was sandwiched in the middle of an impressive bill, headlined by fellow British neo-proggers Pendragon, and opened by Swedish prog-metalers Andromeda. Each of the band's performances were filmed by Poland's Metal Mind Productions and released as separate DVDs in June of this year. NEO's performance kicks off with what I thought was one of the highlights of the show, the heavy duty prog-rock instrumental "Overture", which also opens IQ's excellent 1997 album Subterranea. Another IQ number, "Erosion" is performed next, and bassist John Jowitt does a pretty respectable job with the lead vocals.
At this point they welcome Alan Reed to the stage, which prompts a three song Pallas set featuring "For The Greater Glory", "Hide and Seek", and "Crown of Thorns", and with Reed at the helm they sounded pretty true to the originals. Although I have never been much more than just a mild fan of this Scottish band, Pallas have delivered some real gems during their sparse 23 year career, and "The Greater Glory" is certainly one of them. You may notice a strong resemblance to Fish-era Marillion in their sound, especially Reed's vocals.
Reed sticks around for two more songs, lending his voice to the Arena classic "The Hanging Tree", and IQ's "The Enemy Smacks". With only one or two of the original band members present, and especially without the original singers, most of these songs were like watching a good tribute band performance - which is essentially what NEO was - a tribute band to themselves. For the next song, Nolan steps out from behind the keyboards to sing one of his Shadowland numbers, "Mindgames," which had the mood of an acoustic folk song performed in some old British pub by a bunch of neighborhood regulars. Nolan should really stay behind the keyboards.
Pendragon's Nick Barrett finally joins the party, and the first song he is tasked to sing is IQ's "Outer Limits", which was a complete mismatch for his unique vocal style. The song did not go over too well, in general. For the next song, "Shadows of Fate," a magnificent epic from the 2002 Clive Nolan/Oliver Wakeman collaboration, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Barrett's vocals were much better suited, and the band simply knocks it out of the park.
To close out the show, Barrett finally straps on his guitar, his real strong point, and the band tears through a couple of Pendragon songs from perhaps their finest studio album, 1996's The Masquerade Overture. "Paintbox" is a beautifully melodic, Pink Floyd-inspired number that really shows off Barrett's amazing guitar prowess, and was the highlight of the show for me. "Master of Illusion", from the same album, closes out the set and is highlighted by another stunning Barrett guitar solo that is very reminiscent of David Gilmour's "Comfortably Numb" masterpiece.
After several minutes of enthusiastic cheering from the crowd, the band returns for a final encore and pulls one more song from the Pendragon vaults - "Nostradamus." They skipped over the slow, atmospheric, first half of the song, and dove right into the rockin' ending section, which cut the original length about in half. This was not one of my favorite Pendragon songs, but it pumped up the crowd, and brought the show to a rousing conclusion.
The production quality of this DVD is on par with the other two Metal Mind releases from this same concert - and that is superior. The Dolby Digital 5.1 surround track sounds crisp and the instruments and vocals are well balanced in the mix. For those without the surround setup, an excellent Dolby stereo track is also included. The widescreen video presentation is very sharp and colorful, and the camera work makes you feel like you are part of the crowd. Metal Mind does some of the best concert camera work in the business, and this DVD was yet another excellent example.
The Extra Features are highlighted by an interview with John Jowitt and Clive Nolan, and some bonus video from the band's soundcheck before their performance at the 2006 ROSfest. Also included are band member profiles, a photo gallery, desktop images, and more, to bring the total running time of the DVD to an impressive 140 minutes.
If you were already fans of the musicians and bands that spawned NEO, or if you are just a fan of some good neo-progressive rock, then this DVD is an easy recommendation. Most of the music on this video can already be found on concert DVDs, performed better, by the original bands, so I would recommend starting with them first. NEO's Broadcast DVD does make one hell of a good neo-prog sampler though. ~blogcritics
3. For The Greater Glory
4. Hide And Seek
5. Crown Of Thorns
6. The Hanging Tree
7. The Enemy Smacks [End Section]
9. Outer Limits
10. Shadows Of Fate
12. Masters Of Illusion
Interview with John Jowitt & Clive Nolan, NEO Soundcheck ROSfest 2006.
- John Jowitt / bass guitar, vocals
- Mark Westwood / guitar
- Clive Nolan / keyboards
- Andy Edwards / drums
- Alan Reed / vocals
- Nick Barrett / guitar, vocals
- John Barnfield / keyboards
Big thx to Fragile59