Vanden Plas - Spirit Of Live

Year of Release: 2000
Label: InsideOut
Catalog Number: IOMCD068
Format: CD
Total Time: 71:34:00

An overenthusiastic crowd welcomes Vanden Plas on stage at the Elysée based in the pictoresque Montmartre region in Paris, France. We're talking 13th February of this year and boy does the crowd know there's going to be a live recording tonight!

For a long time Vanden Plas has been named in the same breath as Dream Theater and if you listen to this live statement then it becomes obvious why. Whilst there are hundreds of Dream Theater clones out there, Vanden Plas is one of the few having a superb singer in their ranks. Although Andy Kuntz isn't exactly Labrie's brother, his powerful voice melts well with the lush symphonic overtones and rough rocking edges. There's plenty of proof on this album such as in the wonderful "Into The Sun" which also illustrates the nice balance between guitars and keyboards. As this is a "one evening" take there are some amp noises during this track but that's soon forgotten once you really get into the enthusiasm on this album.

At first the plans were to take recordings from both the Paris night plus the previous night in Tours (February 12th). In fact a first recording was made that way omitting "Don't Miss You" and "Journey to Paris" which can now be found on the final release which, as already pointed out, only uses material from the Paris night.

Vanden Plas has done their homework remarkably well because, knowing the French are a very chauvinistic bunch indeed, they have introduced a couple of surprises here. First of all the setlist contains highlights from the band's decade in rock. It's a joy to hear the melodic delight of "Soul Survives" which originally is to be found on the band's debut release Colour Temple and clearly proves to be a favourite with the fans. At regular intervals Kuntz addresses the audience in perfect French which of course results in massive audience participation. When The God Thing was released in France it featured the bonus track "Combien De Larmes" which is "How Many Tears" sung in French. Here the band has combined both the English and French version. Needless to say the Elysée gets smokin' once they can all sing as loud as they can: "combien de larmes, combien de jours ?"

The classical genius of keyboard player Günter Werno combined with the stunning vocals of Andy Kuntz are the sole ingredients for the wonderful "Don't Miss You" which has the audience so quiet you can hear a pin drop. The "attack on France" goes one further with a brand new composition called "Journey To Paris". In fact it's a Werno solo spot starting off with some mechanic wailing synths before he settles once again for the classical piano. "Spirit Of Life" is yet another brand new instrumental track, this time highlighting the many talents of guitarist Stephan Lill. In combination with Werno this song really highlights the powerful backbone of what really makes Vanden Plas!

Two more highlights from Far Off Grace are presented by means of "Iodic Rain" featuring a really wild Stephan Lill; and "Far Off Grace." The latter, once again, is a nice piece of marketing as the band incorporates the well known song "Ne Me Quitte Pas" by Jacques Brel. Like with the other French superstar Johnny Hallyday, the French have considered Brel as being completely French but it has to be said : both Brel and Hallyday are Belgians! I have to congratulate Andy with his splendid prononciation of the French language here as it really sounds great!

The European release features another two surprises. The first is a cover of a well known Don Dokken song, "Kiss Of Death" featuring none other than Don Dokken himself on vocals. As a final encore Vanden Plas treats us to a rousing version of "Rainmaker" featuring Jean Michel Jarre guitarist Patrick Rondat. Sadly these two tracks will not be featured on the American issue. Instead our US friends will find a live rendition of "You Fly" from The God Thing instead. Spirit Of Live nevertheless remains a nice illustration of what a talented band Vanden Plas really is. Regardless if you have the European or the American version: this band cooks!

Also released by InsideOut Music America (IOMACD 2018), running time 72:07

(US version) I Can See (4:26) / Into The Sun (7:05) / Soul Survives (9:52) / How Many Tears (10:37) / Journey To Paris (3:08) / Spirit Of Life (4:28) / Iodic Rain (6:01) / You Fly (9:22) / Far Off Grace (9:50) / Rainmaker (8:38)

(EUR version) I Can See (4:26) / Into The Sun (7:05) / Soul Survives (9:52) / How Many Tears (10:37) / Don't Miss You (3:50) / Journey To Paris (3:08) / Spirit Of Life (4:28) / Iodic Rain (6:11) / Far Off Grace (9:51) / Kiss Of Death (5:28) / Rainmaker (8:38)

Andy Kuntz - vocals
Stephan Lill - guitars
Torsten Reichert - bass
G?nter Werno - keyboards
Andres Lill - drums

Colour Temple (1994)
Accult (1996)
The God Thing (1997)
Far Off Grace (1999)
Spirit Of Live (2000)
Beyond Daylight (2002)
Colour Temple/AcCult (special edition) (2002)
Christ 0 (2006)
The Seraphic Clockwork (2010)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin DE

Added: September 1st 2000
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website:
Hits: 893
Language: english


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