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DJ Supply

'Renaissance: A Symphonic Journey'
(Renaissance / DVD+2CD / NR / 2018 / Symphonic Rock Recordings, LLC)

Overview: This wondrous DVD+2CD recording of Renaissance featuring Annie Haslam and a 10-piece chamber orchestra (that also comes with a lovely 8-page color booklet) was recorded at The Keswick Theatre in Philadelphia PA on October 27th, 2017.

DVD Verdict: For those not in the know, Renaissance are an English progressive rock band, best known for their 1978 UK top 10 hit "Northern Lights" and progressive rock classics like "Carpet of the Sun", "Mother Russia", and "Ashes Are Burning".

Indeed, they developed a unique sound, combining a female lead vocal with a fusion of classical, folk, rock, and jazz influences.

And so with that in mind, characteristic elements of the Renaissance sound are Annie Haslam's wide vocal range, prominent piano accompaniment, orchestral arrangements, vocal harmonies, acoustic guitar, bass guitar, synthesizer, and versatile drum work.

The band created a significant following in the northeast United States in the 1970s, and that region remains their strongest fan base.

Here on the just-released DVD+2CD 'Renaissance: A Symphonic Journey,' Haslam's reformed Renaissance gathering sounds better than ever; especially given that this high-quality HD recording includes LPCM Stereo and Dolby Digital surround soundtracks (DVD is NTSC all-region and compatible with PAL DVD players and televisions).

Comprising of: Annie Haslam – Lead Vocalist; Rave Tesar – Keyboards; Geoffrey Langley – Keyboards & vocals; Mark Lambert – Guitar & vocals; Charles Descarfino – Drums, percussion & vocals; and Leo Traversa – Bass & vocals, some extra credit should go to keyboardist Tesar, who actually assembled a handpicked orchestral set of musicians to accompany them for this show.

The show opens with the sprightly, nearly 8 minutes long "Prologue," and then drifts seamlessly into both the incredible ten minute musical journey known as "Trip to the Fair" and the Ian Anderson-infused "Carpet of the Sun."

This timeless music from Renaissance is still as incredible, as pleasing to see and hear today as it ever was. Shimmering between Prog lite chords and dulcet bouts of symphonic rock, sure there are no string sections to add a third wave, but that doesn't matter now, trust me.

The stirring 8 minute journey "At the Harbor" is pure dynamite, and always reminds me of Christmas time, and that's backed by the ethereal qualities of "Grandine il Vento," and the first CD closer, and 12 minute opus, "Symphony of Light."

Here on this great live show, it's very noticeable that Haslam's voice still has much of the range and tone of her earlier years. It shines constantly through on every song, not least on both the breezy love song "Kalynda" and one of my own personal favorites, the soft acoustic balladry of "Island."

The atmospheric "Mother Russia" is another highlight here live and then the show rounds out with the playful "Song for all Seasons" and the 16 minute delicacy, "Ashes are Burning." This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.