Tuesday, May 24, 2016

ALAN PARSONS SYMPHONIC PROJECT: "Live In Colombia"

Rating: Live
Label: earMUSIC 2016
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom

Far out, dude! The Alan Parsons Project? Are they still out there? They may not have been recording anything new for ages, but are (every now and then) definitely still doing their rounds on and at various stages across the globe. Take this brand new double live release for instance. Recorded live down at Parque Pies Descalzos in MedellĂ­n, Colombia? with an symphonic orchestra (Medellin Philharmonic) under the baton of Alejandro Posada.

Alan Parsons, the mastermind and solo survivor since the heydays, started out as assistant engineer to George Martin at Abbey Road studios and was heavily involved towards the end of the Beatles' success story. Not to mention a certain 'Dark Side of The Moon' and Pink Floyd, prior to setting up his very own project in 1975. The debut, Tales of Mystery and Imagination (1975), was based upon Poe's horror stories and merely "The Raven" has managed to spread his wings and fly across the sky to touch base in Colombia.

It's quite the experience to hear tracks such as "Breakdown" (from the 1977 classic, I Robot) or The Raven for that matter with the full 70-piece orchestra and massive choir. The five complex and intriguing parts of "The Turn of a Friendly Card", including 'Snake Eyes, The Ace Of Swords, Nothing Left To Lose', are also exceptional as the band sounds great and the same goes for lead singer PJ Olsson, even though he's no zombie (I believe the Zombies' vocalist sang it first? do the google. I might not be right or screw things up?). "Don't Answer Me", this comes across like a 50/50 mix of ABBA and ELO and I'm still not sure if that's a good or bad thing?

While lyrically there's no real contest to the Raven, it opens up with the future world of "I Robot" and ends in a more up-to-date sound of "Games People Play". The youngest track on display (La Sagrada Familia -1987) benefit from the orchestra, while the rest are all from the classic era of 1976 to 1983. It's something different from the usual live effort. However, the audience is way too laid back and there's no real substitute for the originals. Final verdict: Nice. The DVD is probably more value for money though.
www.alanparsons.com

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