To start this review with some informative notions I must point out that Spirit of 66 is a mythic concert hall in Verviérs, Belgium. The place, run by Mr. Francis Geron (who I had the pleasure in meeting during the Eclipse 2002 Festival), is one of those extremely rare houses where the Progressive Spirit is still well alive and kicking.
Though not entirely dedicated to Prog Concerts, Spirit of 66 is still, probably, one of the places with more festivals and presentations of Progressive Rock bands in the whole world. The bands who perform there can feel the mystic feeling of that place and usually tend to exceed themselves.
On the other hand, German progheads versus X are a band that has fabulous studio albums and, having seen them playing live for 3 exquisite hours in Orthez's Eclipse 2002, I know that they are perfectly capable of arousing the public with their complex, theatrical and accurate music.
If you join these two factors, it is obvious that this live act, fortunately recorded on tape, was nothing short of a tremendous event. The music speaks for itself, as the long, intricate and beautifully designed compositions are an open window to some of the best contemporary prog.
There are no restrictions or borders to hold versus X's music inside, as it widely evolves its own identity and delicacy, making the pleasures of the Prog fan that suddenly feels comfortably trapped in this web of charming yet complex sounds.
When performing live, this band sets free their capacity to make connection with the attendees, with their personal and joyful playing and Schaefer's ability to make contact with the public, through his emotional and truthful singing.
Also, each of the players seems to loose the strings and straps of studio recording and really perform with full soul commitment, which allows them to further explore their true brilliant capacity to interplay and to guide the listeners to a state of audio ecstasy. I know, I have felt that!
The rhythm section is tremendously fair and clearly more elaborate and efficient when performing live. Uwe Vollmar is really one of the best drummers i ever saw live. The keyboards provided by Nahm add a kind of sirens call to the music, making it irresistible for us, mariners in the sea of Prog. This call is even more efficient when involving the melodic guitar soloing by Shafer.
So what can you expect from a band that is great in studio but even better when performing live? Well, you better discover for yourself! Another winner for Musea Records!
Nuno, Prognosis, 07/2002