As I have mentioned in my review for "Dust & Dreams", I was very happy that Camel did a great come back after such a long and unproductive period. This double CD comes out the "Dust" supporting tour.
So far, I have not been really overwhelmed with Camel's live albums, so will this one be different ?
CD one features the old repertoire. "Never Let Go" comes from their first album and was rather premonitory. I guess that Andrew choose this title to name this record to symbolize his very long fights with lawyers and record companies. And one can only be respectuous for his persistence. "Earthrise" from "Mirage" is really exceptional. The guitar and drums are so great that this track sounds like a Santana one from their glorious days. A highlight.
We move a bit in time for the next two "Rhayader" ones from "Snow Goose". Very good as well. "Moonmadness" is represented by "Spirit Of The Water". It was not the most impressive number, but this melodious and emotional track is a real delight here.
We continue our nice journey into Camel's repertoire with "Uneven Song" from "Rain Dances" which was one of the not so many good track on there. "Echoes" was my preferred track on "Breathless" and sounds really great.
One has to recognize that so far this live album is excellent. By far the best Camel one.
The best is yet to come. Finally, "Ice".
I have been desperate to hear this one live. They missed so many opportunities to integrate it in earlier live efforts that to get it here as well is a great relief. And, yes : the fan is rewarded. This version sounds again better than the studio one. In terms of live version, they will do even better during their Rajaz tour. But I guess that these albums, although available for reviewing during a certain time were retrieved from this site. Their (semi) boot status must be the reason (but still the "Ice" version from "Camelitis, Live In Chile" is even more emotional).
Talking about emotion, I will do the (obvious) link here with Carlos Santana. "Ice" is definitely a number he could have written. Maybe a duo one day ? It is science-fiction of course, but how great a moment it could be ! Andrew delivers here one of his most emotional guitar beak ever during this tour. FABULOUS. There are really no other words.
For their live come back, Camel did not take any risk (just like Yes did for the fantastic "Keys" albums). They picked up one of the best songs from each album. From their first one up to "Nude". The latter will also feature two songs (like "Snow"). While "Drafted" was again one of the best and passionate songs from the album, I could never stand "Citylife" and its poppy orientation.
Second CD features the whole of "Dust & Dreams" which is a good idea, since it was a concept album. I mentioned already that to my ears this new work was one of their best album so far (I have rated it four stars). On top of its intrinsic qualities, this live version adds such feeling and emotion that it even supersedes the studio effort (but most of the double CD will do so). To close this wonderful album, we' ll get "Lady Fantasy". OK, it is not the first time we get this one live but it is one of their most emblematic song.
I guess that you have understood that I can only give it a five stars rating.