Miner's Art Rock Circus, John - Heaven's Caf? Live

Year of Release: 2000
Label: The Tributary Music Label
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 46:05:00

Las Vegas. What better place to hold the magnificent art rock spectacle known to the world as a rock opera? With the arguable exception of Broadway perhaps, there is no other place in the United States where glitzy flash, music, and theater merge like indivisible elements and win the crowd over with an instantly digestible charm. And it is thus that John Miner's home could not have been better suited to this enjoyable adventure that goes by the name of Heavens Café Live. Indeed, everything was set in perfection for the play, and the show itself did not disappoint. In fact, I'm pretty sure the audience left completely satisfied.

As John Miner has proved thrice to us, his compositions seem to be traditional inhabitants of a time capsule created by psychedelia freaks as a window into their dreamy illusions and delusions, often cheerful and good-spirited but sporadically venturing into heartrending forlornness or the darkness of an acid trip on the verge of going bad. This isolated segment of Miner's capsule, however, is blessed with a conceptual ambition that has allowed for a rather talented cast of singers to test their mettle in the fields of unorthodox rock opera fueled by unending dreamy arpeggios and harmonic progressions. And although the affair may sound too risky to be brought to reality with success and conviction, the Art Rock Circus casts away any doubts and achieves its completion with a rewarding sense of accurate impersonation and playful execution.

It could be argued, of course, that a staged rock opera can only be truly complete when its visuals are also included, but those fooling themselves into thinking that the deprivation of such elements leaves their counterparts bereft of all value are in for a surprise. In fact, one could safely wager that the music of Heaven's Café Live! is the pillar on which the entire proceedings rest, and be thankful that the foundations consist of an astonishingly opportune rhythm section. But the high relief is just as important, as Sean Critchfield so aptly proves with his bitingly disdainful performance on "Classical Man," the standout vocal performance on a record that is full of them. How on Earth did Miner find just the right people to represent his characters? Lord knows, but it's certainly a good thing.

Because much of the success of an album such as this depends on its vocal elements and the degree of skill with which they are brought forth, especially when the music contained herein remains constantly in the realms of peaceful psychedelia with only the odd venture into harsher emotion. Take into account that the production of the album, justified partly by the fact that it's a live record after all, comes across as too thin and empty, and the entire staff of the Art Rock Circus is to be thanked for getting the message across so convincingly. Sure, there are the less-than-spectacular moments showing up here and there, but highlights such as the wonderfully emotional progression behind "Tower Of Information" ensure that Heavens Café Live! remains an apt testimony to what probably was a an interesting and retro trip of a show. Old psychedelia gone rock opera? Get it at the Heavens Caf?.

Similar artists: Barclay James Harvest, early Procol Harum, Cream, early Pink Floyd

Last Smile Sunshine (3:07) / Astralography (3:41) / Heaven's Café (4:08) / Never Alone (4:23) / Classical Man (4:13) / Labyrinth (7:12) / Tower Of Information (7:58) / Again (1:44) / Flowing Home (1:40) / The Dark (6:12) / Robins' Lullaby (1:41)

John Miner - guitars
Jon Weisberg - drums
Jon Cornell - bass
Todd Ashmore, Allison Gifford, Timothy Burris, Sean Critchfield, Miché, Josh - vocals
Melanie Grimmett - violin

Lost My Way The Early Years 1990-1994 (1995?)
Heaven's Cafe (1996/2000)
Heaven's Cafe Live (1998/2000)
A Passage To Clear (2001)
Tell A Vision (2005)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: November 17th 2002
Reviewer: Marcelo Silveyra
Artist website: www.tributarymusic.com
Hits: 528
Language: english


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