Year of Release: 2006
Catalog Number: IOMDVD 015/SPV 79187
Total Time: 00:00:00
Welcome to Paradox Hotel. We're going to try to make this visit as pleasant as possible. We're going to try make each one of you feel right at home. Alright!
One, two, three?
Finally, I understand Roine Stolt's vision. The drums have been streamlined in such a way that rather than congest the air with a corsage of jumbled jazziness, they instead approach us with a tactic that's both clean and cultured. The music is now more intuitive to your ears than ever.
Speaking of Stolt, how old is he anyway? He's been in the game for quite awhile, yet he looks like a kid on stage. At first, I was wondering, who is this young guy and why is he hanging around The Flower Kings? As a result, I was actively on the lookout for him. It made me chuckle when I became aware of my oversight. I guess you could say that all this gigging has kept him very young. Otherwise, he's using some miracle cream from an infomercial I'm yet to see. In either case, I wonder what it's like being the coolest cat habitating within the progressive realm.
As to the music itself, I was awestruck in my first reaction. They sound tremendous in concert and one song in particular, the title track to Paradox Hotel, really wowed me. While not one of my favorites on the album, the song sounds absolutely fantastic here. Whatever rehearsal was done in preparation has gotten this tune superbly tweaked. It arrives in the most sophisticated manner as well.
Ten, Nine, Eight, Seven, Six, Five, Four, Three, Two, One... Ignition.
After a countdown, followed by a ping-pong match, this very title track is used to kick off the event. As it turns out, it's just the start to a series of hair-raising wonders?
We visit several of their standard landmarks, too. Though it's only a few years old, "The Truth Will Set You Free" is timeless. "Stardust We Are" also endures another majestic appearance. While it's almost become tradition for these two to surface at every engagement, like Dick Clark (and Roine Stolt), neither seems to show their age.
As to the latter, it's still the faithful crowd-pleaser it's been since the very beginning. When all is said and done, the highlights include both the old and the new.
Okay, so that was meant to be the wrap-up, but it's too good to end right here... To heck with the synopsis, let's just delve into the details:
After "Paradox Hotel," we receive a wealth of righteously sacrosanct songs. A psychedelic transition occurs between "Hit Me With A Hit" and "Last Minute On Earth." The latter happens to be one I like more than general consensus typically states. I appreciate it for its mean riffs and countless unique traits.
I heard "Last Minute On Earth" for the first time in a live setting long before ever hearing it off a recording. I must also add that this concert I reference occurred on September 14, 2001 ? Think of the coincidence? bingo, you got it. For that reason, it carries added significance. Regardless, I always felt it was sharpest when seen in the flesh and in this instance the experience is no different.
Next, "In The Eyes Of The World" has never, and I mean, never sounded this good. For the record, The Flower Kings might actually sound better live than in the studio, which is a statistical rarity, making them literally one in a million.
"Jealousy" was an interesting choice to follow. At first it slowed down as if it were weighed down with water. Once the sail soaked up the wind, it drifted. Then as soon as the schooner tacked, they were underway.
"What If God Is Alone" was another entity with a holy posture. In this session, it sounded similar to U2's "Where the Streets Have No Name." Hans Fr?berg embodied Don Henley, that guy from The Eagles, and I'm not talking about an American football team.
Subsequently, "Pioneers Of Aviation" soared through the skies. With its instrumental innovations, it braced onlookers for assimilation into the new age. Once it took off, the populace was beset with bliss.
To finish off the side, "Love Supreme" and "The Truth Will Set You Free" stake their claim. Here they a pair of exceptionally well-enacted epics. In the former, the verse "work of the master's hand" is masterfully sung. In the latter, they reveal why this very song is considered their greatest masterpiece.
"Touch My Heaven" is bestowed with an explanation from Bodin. For those who have never heard him utter a single word, he has a very elegant way of speaking. He lets it be known that the inspiration of the song is about getting up once you've been knocked down. Interestingly enough, the performance parallels its esteemed introduction.
Around this time, a heckler barks out some series of curse words. In response, Stolt says you're *bleeping* great, too. While a future edit is promised by Stolt, it remains intact in all its repugnant glory.
Reingold brings out double-headed beast for "Mommy Leave The Light On." There is no reason to be intimidated by this ditty. It's just a precursor to another extraordinary piece. That would be "End On A High Note" where Marcus Liliequist finds his stride.
This particular song comes off unusually sharp. The guitar-playing by Stolt and Fr?berg are also crisp. There is this magic moment in the middle where the group switches gears and transports its riders to a fantastically ethereal place. The only other time I can remember feeling this elated was at a point in a Tangent concert, as well as a stint with Dark Star Orchestra. However, this was the only time something emanating from the TV set was capable of such an achievement.
I can undoubtedly say that "Life Will Kill You" is at its finest live. The chanting at its core and the strong vocals towards the end contribute to a superlative stature. Thus, it now exists in a better place.
Fr?berg voice impressively climbs the scales in "I Am The Sun." I saw him do this once before at the previously mentioned gig. That time he did it with "Stardust We Are."
Anticipating the end, a guy donning a Depeche Mode shirt exits early. Bodin then bellows, "You are an extraordinary audience." Stolt notarizes the bond with, "We say that every night, but tonight we mean it."*
This appears as if they scaled the apex. Stolt storms to the mike and says, "We have to play the last song." When the gathering groans, he responds, "I'm a good boy." In hindsight, he was obviously joking. The crowd is truly saddened but if you listen closely he mumbles, "We're going to fool you anyway." Not many seem to catch this quip as there are scores of unruly protests. Funny enough, Stolt suggests giving them double by dividing it in half.
They obviously pulled a fast one as more came to the surface. "Blade Of Cain" is chosen for the next partition in the chain. I must attest this song is a beauty. It is unusual for me to describe a song in this manner. It only goes to show how it instills an honorable ambience within me. It carries a very admirable demeanor, too.
At some point in the encore, Stolt loses his coat and Liliequist misplaces his cap. This is far from what can be considered a wardrobe malfunction. It seems they're merely sticking with more comfortable attire.
With "A King's Prayer," what gets delivered is the two for one special. It comes encased in succulent layers from The Beatles. Subsequently, they say goodbye for the second time over venerated verses from the revered "Hey Jude."
Another encore is foreshadowed by time-elapsed footage. This particular film exhibits the entire affair from the setup to breakdown of the stage. It's also intriguing to point out that it's accompanied by a sound byte recorded in the vacuum of outer space.
The crowd keeps clapping and chants, "We want more." Stolt grants their wish with, "Stardust you want, Stardust you get." With that said, "Stardust We Are" is chosen as their last and final expression.
Reingold gets goofy around this time and balances his bass on his chin. That would be an expensive mistake if he slips up. It's only a matter of time, so I hope he quits the mischief.
The interpretation involved here seems to be more succinct than what I'm accustomed to hearing. When it gets rolling, the crowd sings along. While they might be out of tune, at least the band didn't forget the human touch or the human try.
I'm not entirely sure what the title of this song means as it's not grammatically correct. I wonder if this is something from the mouth of Master Yoda. I find it odd no other journalist has made this connection. In any case, it is one bodacious bonus track to tack onto such a frosty cake.
After filling our glass to the rim, our chalice overflows with delicious drops from this savory ditty. As the good book says, our cup runneth over. You could take a heavenly body or a celestial sphere from the sky and you wouldn't find one that dazzles in this manner. It's both a meteor burst and a shining star. So in line with the name, our muppet friend mutters, "sparkle they do."
The best part about every classic is that with a song this good, it can't get any better. The band is so rehearsed with every fine point attuned. They've dotted the "i"s and crossed the "t"s. If you're looking for an act with the highest caliber of cuts, this is "it."
When the credits appear, they're accompanied by a theme. It treks along like Frodo in Lord of the Rings. This exercise and excursion is bequeathed upon us by Bodin on his Mellotron.
As to the venue, the stage was organized and tidy that night with a lightshow that was pristine. In general, the theater was absorbing, intuitive, and urbane.
While this product is for the most part immaculate, there is one minor flaw. The disc operates in an unusual manner. If you go directly to a song it hangs or finishes abruptly once it's done. However, if you play the concert as a whole, it smoothly transitions between the tracks.
Aside from that, nothing negative to report. However, here are a few points to impart into regards to the indispensable input provided by each individual:
Hans Fr?berg's voice is so good, it'll make you wonder why they were ever looking for a replacement (I do think Gildenl?w has one of the best voices I've ever heard, but that shouldn't make him a shoe-in for the varsity position.).
When Roine names off all of Fr?berg's duties, I half-expected him to complete his comments with a Howard Dean shout, a Taylor Ware yodel, or a Chappelle-based be-aaah! Then again, Lillequest's shirt reads Guau, which rhymes with Aaaaah!
As to the others, Reingold's bass playing is business as usual, which means it's extra gravy on the side; in other words, it's just great. He even has the white hat he's always wearing, but this time he dons a fancy suit instead of a t-shirt.
Stolt is quite serious while Reingold is the bubbliest of the bunch. He cracks the cork and sprays his entourage with his misty vibrations.
While we're on the topic, Stolt's ensemble is pasted with flowers and pastels. His playing is quite colorific, so it matches the outfit. Plus, his shiny guitar is just plain stoic.
Bodin adds to the atmosphere and there's even a time where he sings, though he uses a vocoder in cases where he croons. When Fr?berg belts out, "Clock is ticking, day in, day out," he parallels the verse with his own intonations. What exudes from his lips is a wickedly amped-up demon voice.
He never plays the keyboard the same way twice. His varying style makes him intriguing to watch and to listen to in person. He's suave and relaxed at his post. You can tell he really enjoys the arts and crafts of his trade.
Fr?berg handles percussive tasks as well. Overall, I was amazed with his provisions above all. While Ulf Wahlander (sax) and Hasse Bruniusson (percussion) were absent, as much as I like their contributions, I didn't miss them. Thanks should go to Fr?berg as payment for his compensation.
Blah, blah, blah?
I could go on for hours about this band. In case you haven't known, they're a staple of the genre and kind of a favorite of mine. If you're into labels, you could call them my pet band. In my opinion, it's an absurdity, better yet a paradox; they aren't more renowned and represented on the radio. Then again, it's hard to say if they could find bigger fans.
If you're in the know, you've diddled their ditties often. If not, check into the facilities and peruse their pieces soon. For those who are new to the area, their hotel might just be the very best place to stay. It goes without saying, I highly recommend it! Since its inception, I've regularly dropped anchor there.
They've done almost everything a single band could accomplish and incorporate incalculable kitchen sinks. All that's left is maybe? a concept album. For now, this concert suits my fancy.
In summary, this is no-nonsense rocking from a group that's become a marvel, a supernova, and a household name within the progressive genre. In their latest DVD, they deliver the goods with a smile, in working order, and way ahead of schedule.
* I ponder; do they say that every night as well?
DVD One: Paradox Hotel / Hit Me With A Hit / Last Minute On Earth / In The Eyes Of The World / Jealousy / What If God Is Alone / Pioneers Of Aviation / Love Supreme / The Truth Will Set You Free
DVD Two: Touch My Heaven / Mommy Leave The Light On / End On A High Note / Life Will Kill You / I Am The Sun / Blade Of Cain / A Kings Prayer / Stardust We Are
Roine Stolt - guitars, vocals
Tomas Bodin - keyboards, vocals
Jonas Reingold - bass, guitar, vocals
Hans Fröberg - guitars, vocals, percussion
Marcus Liliequist - drums, percussion, vocals
Roine Stolt - The Flower King (1994/2001/2004)
Back In The World Of Adventures (1995)
Stardust We Are (1997/2000)
Scanning The Greenhouse (comp) (1998)
Edition Limitée Quebec (1998) (only 700 copies!)
Flower Power (1999)
TFK fanclub disc (2000) (free CD exclusive to fanclub members only)
Alive On Planet Earth (2000)
Space Revolver (2000)
Space Revolver Special Edition (2CD set) (2000)
The Rainmaker (2001)
The Rainmaker - Special Edition (2001)
Unfold The Future (2002)
Live In New York: Official Bootleg (2002)
Fan Club CD 2002 (2002)
Fan Club CD 2004 (2004)
Adam & Eve (2004)
Harvest (fan club CD) (2005)
Paradox Hotel (2006)
The Road Back Home (2007)
The Sum Of No Evil (2007)
The Sum Of No Evil (Special Edition) (2007)
Banks Of Eden (2012)
Meet The Flower Kings - Live Recording (DVD) (2003)
Instant Delivery (DVD) (2006)
Instant Delivery - Limited Edition (2CD/2DVD) (2006)
Genre: Symphonic Prog