Collecting together tracks from 3 line-ups of The Tangent, this 2CD & 3LP album collects together show recordings from 2004, 2011 & 2017. Band leader Andy Tillison comments: “A Triple Live LP is the stuff of Bucket Lists, dreamed of doing one of these since I was a kid”.
Included in its entirety is the 2004 ‘Pyramids And Stars’ concert in Germany featuring the “Roine Stolt” lineup of The Tangent playing its way through the majority of the debut ‘Music That Died Alone’ album along with (then) new material from their second album ‘The World That We Drive Through’.
Added to that, there are tracks from the ‘COMM’ era line-up of the band at a concert in the UK – plus music recorded in the USA in 2017 by the band’s current line-up. These originally appeared on the ‘Southend On Sea’ and ‘Hotel Cantaffordit’ fan releases respectively.
All is presented inside a re-imagined Ed Unitsky sleeve, to create a package that fans are sure to love.
“This is a real, proper, live album” says Tillison. “It’s candid, it’s spontaneous, it has mistakes and things that are a bit too loud and things that are a bit too quiet. It’s what happened on stage at three gigs at which “making a live album” never crossed our minds.”
Right, that’s the PR blurb out of the way (it’s a good way of getting a background to the album actually) now let’s see what we make of ‘Pyramids, Stars & More: The Tangent Live Recordings 2004-2017’ from a reviewer’s perspective…
Let’s just think, when people first started to play music there were no mediums to record on, even wax cylinders were centuries away from being invented so you could say that live music is music in its purest form. To take that one step further, live music can’t be tinkered with like it’s recorded version, honed to perfection (sometimes too much, if I’m being honest!) and often sanitised because of this. Live music is in the moment, spontaneous, what you hear is definitely what you get and when it’s delivered well, it is one of the most natural and unadulterated forms of entertainment that you can get.
Also, some bands were just meant to be heard live and seem to thrive, their music comes alive and goes up another level or two and you can certainly include The Tangent in that group. It’s criminal that Andy and the guys have not played as much live as I’m sure Andy would like and I am one of the lucky ones to have seen them play in a live setting and I am so thankful that I did. Putting these concerts and live performances on record gives a lot more people the chance to hear what this iconic band sound like when they can play uninhibited. They are spontaneous, instinctive and free spirited and just bloody brilliant.
Virtuoso musicians doing what they do best gives us free-spirited (and high-spirited) versions of classics like The World We Drive Through and The Winning Game, songs that deserve the wider audience that this live release will give them. The musicianship on show is exemplary and impeccable with Andy Tillison’s keyboards and vocals the driving force throughout. Andy’s Yorkshire personality gets to shine through in a live setting and his vocals are superb. The rest of the band play in perfect accompaniment and the improvisation is just scintillating.
If you are a true fan of music than you cannot help but enjoy music this good when it’s played in a live setting. A truly incendiary version of The Music That Died Alone is one of many highlights and this fan favourite takes on a new life, becoming something deeper, more funky and, well, just gorgeous. It’s part of a triumphant triumvirate in the middle of the album along with a rather poignant version of ELP’s Lucky Man and a riotously incandescent version of my all time favourite short song by the band, A Spark in the Aether. Now, Andy knows I love this song as I’ve told him enough times and this live version is just the best one yet, just magnificent!
This wonderfully nostalgic live journey through some of The Tangent’s back catalogue continues to put a smile on your face, there’s a edgy and jazzy version of Perdu Dans Paris, a tumultuous romp through the fine instrumental Doctor Livingstone (I Presume) and the album comes to a close with an epic rendition of ‘COMM’ classic Titanic Calls Carpathia and one of my favourite songs from ‘The Slow Rust of Forgotten Machinery’, the wistfully nostalgic Two Rope Swings.
Ah, to reminisce is a joy we should always hold dear and this wonderful live release from one of the UK’s most venerated prog bands is a sentimental journey down memory lane and one that will remind you why The Tangent are held in such warm regard and also why live music is something worth cherishing and preserving. We, the fans, hold it in our hands to make sure music stays live so albums as brilliant as this can still get made!
Released 27th January, 2023.
Order the album here:
Pyramids, Stars & Other Stories: The Tangent Live Recordings 2004-2017 (burningshed.com)