RPWL - Live - Start The Fire


Year of Release: 2005
Label: SPV
Catalog Number: SPV 48612 DCD
Format: CD
Total Time: 128:29:00

When it comes to the world of live music, RPWL is awe-inspiring. I saw them perform live at ROSfest 2004, which happened to be the first annual outing of this truly fetching and absolutely astounding festival. They headlined the event and boy were they ever impressive. The honor couldn't have been bestowed upon a better choice. They had so much presence on stage it was uncanny. They pinned down every piece in the set list as if they were shooting tacks from a nail gun. On this particular album, they make use of their best recordings from the World Through My Eyes Tour 2005, so you know it has to be good. They represent every era in their discography, have great cover selections, and even bring one extraordinary guest onstage.

For starters, the special guest is none other than the veritably versatile Ray Wilson. It doesn't take long for him to the board the bandwagon. He joins the crew halfway through the first disc (by the way, this is a double CD). When he comes out, the vibe radically changes. With the auxiliary motors engaged, the already alluring mood is supplanted by an abrupt outburst of energy. Afterwards, he sticks around for another enticing number. To give you a little background, his assistance was solicited for the World Through My Eyes album. It turns out Yogi Lang (the L in RPWL) wrote a song called "Roses," which he thought was ideally suited for Ray's voice. Through a series of fortunate events, Yogi got in contact with Ray who willingly came into the studio. They got him to join them in concert too and here you get a chance to hear the song how it was originally intended to be sung. If that's not enough, they get him to follow it up with a tune from his own personal cache. The selection they choose is "Not About Us", which in addition to Ray, was co-authored by legends Rutherford and Banks for the Calling All Stations album. With this pair of superb submissions, Ray's appearance in this production is the pudding in their symphonically-syrupy power pop.

In this concert, they did little to hide the fact that they started as a Pink Floyd tribute band. They cover three of their infamous songs in succession. They provide "Opel" as well as one of my favorites, "Welcome To The Machine". Placed upon the pile, they also perform the quirky cut "Cymbaline". They have the goods to distribute the parcels from Pink Floyd's sweatshop, but like Kevin James, they add their own distinct personality to the delivery. At times it is difficult to distinguish between these covers and the creations they've accumulated for their own private collection. What's interesting is that "Opel" is on their Stock album while "Welcome To The Machine" has seemingly become a concert staple. This is my first time hearing "Cymbaline" spring forth from the band. Nevertheless, it too should become a common conveyance in the tour circuit as it has the most endearing acumen. At this point, it is hard to say whether or not the originals are better because they are able to emulate them with such intimate precision. Yet, in more ways than one, they've made each song their own.

Besides what's been mentioned, there's plenty else to entertain us. Starting with "Sleep," it becomes tentative and loose after freeing itself from ice-cold inertia. Once it thaws, it's immediately apparent this slick fish was effectively fresh-frozen. It shakes the frost from its scales and bites down with the tenacity and teeth of a piranha. "Day On My Pillow" is so radio-friendly; you'd think they were covering a song from The Beatles. For those who don't already know, this really is an RPWL original. Also, what's clever about this song is that they stealthily squeeze in "I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)" from Genesis' Selling England By The Pound. It slipped through my fingers many times before I finally grabbed hold and reeled it in.

I like all these songs, mostly the covers and especially the ones with Ray, but it's the songs that hearken back to the debut that feed the fire best. Among them, we get the critically-acclaimed favorites "Who Do You Think We Are" and "Crazy Lane." They feverishly nourish the flames as if they were kindling. We also get the tried and true title tracks from other essential albums. That would be "Trying To Kiss The Sun" and "World Through My Eyes." By now, I've accounted for a major fraction of the album and while there's more, this is already enough to fill the foggy air with luminance. The remaining selections such as "Start The Fire", "The Gentle Art Of Swimming", "Wasted Land" and "I Don't Know" are glowing bulbs that have evidently been enhanced. You'll find extended versions of many of their songs. There are breakout sections that introduce whole minutes of sheer instrumental madness. Mostly, Markus Jehle's keyboards are responsible for this added depth, but everyone finds a spot to provide some kind of innovation. With embellishments that would warrant envy, these songs have exponentially improved over time. For that reason, even Anne Robinson would have a difficult time deciding upon the album's missing link.

All that aside, my favorite track overall is probably "Hole In The Sky" and it's the one that appears to end the album. While they may start in a haze, they finish in a cloud filled with static electricity. As this is the first and best song off their debut, this is the song that put the band instantly on my short list. It's this song that I feel is also this album's biggest attraction. After cheers and jeers from the crowd trailed by a convincing pause, it seems it's finally over, but this is not the case. They find the space for an extension and work in a nifty encore. For our added pleasure, they ambush us with an unreleased studio track called "Stars Are Born." It's long and it's certainly studio quality. This well-constructed cut sounds similar to the supergroup Kino, which is why it's an excellent way to complete the album.

Between the set list, the covers selections, and one very special guest, this is one amazing product. It's really one of the best live albums I've heard to date. After earning accolades from their debut, entertaining fans with three fantastic follow-ups, and headlining one of progressive rock's most foremost festivals, the band continues to keep the momentum going. While they've done enough to earn entry into the hall of fame early, they continue to keep their edge razor-sharp. In a time when bands are slapping together albums and releasing half-hearted efforts, especially on the live front, it's refreshing to hear such great "live" material. I may actually give this one more attention than their studio releases because it's so energetic, refined, and balanced. Each side from dawn to dusk flows with seamless integrity while the opening and closing notes land with careful placement and clout. They didn't start the fire; it was always burning since the world was turning. However, they take this opportunity to grab the majority of shares. Using their investments wisely, they supply the stockades with striking live licks and sentient technology. With this concert, they've tried their best and haven't failed their fans trying. Then again, that's just my opinion of how I heard their world tour through my ears.

Distributed by InsideOut; also released by Tempus Fugit (TF V? 20)


Tracklisting:
Disc One: Sleep (10:05) / Start The Fire (4:48) / Who Do You Think We Are (4:35) / Day On My Pillow (6:20) / Roses (6:45) / Not About Us (4:55) / The Gentle Art Of Swimming (8:45) / Wasted Land (5:40) / Crazy Lane (4:23) / Trying To Kiss The Sun (4:59)

Disc Two: World Through My Eyes (11:40) / Opel (5:50) / Cymbaline (15:12) / Welcome To The Machine (7:20) / I Don't Know (4:22) / Hole In The Sky (10:45) / Bonus Track: New Stars Are Born (full studio version) (12:39)

Musicians:
Yogi Lang - vocals, keyboards
Karlheinz Wallner - vocals, guitars
Chris Postl - vocals, bass
Manfred M?ller - vocals, drums

Guests:

Markus Jehle - keyboards
Ray Wilson - vocals, guitar

Discography:
God Has Failed (2000)
Trying To Kiss The Sun (2002)
Stock (2003)
World Through My Eyes (2005)
Live - Start The Fire (2005)
The RPWL Experience (2008)
Gentle Art Of Music (2010)

The RPWL Live Experience (DVD) (2009)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin DE

Added: January 20th 2006
Reviewer: Joshua "Prawg Dawg" Turner
Score:
Artist website: www.rpwl.net
Hits: 824
Language: english

  

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