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(138:41; Tigermoth Records)
The title of this double live CD is taken from two of their albums which are here performed in their entirety, namely 2017’s ‘We Are Legend’ plus 2004’s ‘Seven’, along with a few other songs. Looking in my book ‘The Progressive Underground Volume 1’ (I promise the first and only time I’ll plug it in a review, honest), I can see the first time I reviewed a young Robert Reed was in May 1993. As well as Cyan he was involved with the likes of The Fyreworks and Ezra, but no-one can doubt that his career moved to a new level when he joined forces with Christina Murphy (now Christina Booth) and released ‘Revolutions’ in 2001. Guitarist Chris Fry was also there from those early beginnings, while bassist Dan Nelson and drummer Jiffy Griffiths only arrived in time for the previous studio album. But this doesn’t sound like a new band, but rather one who are firmly in control, providing the perfect support for Christina. One of my prog regrets is not seeing this band when I was in the UK and did attend CRS one night in the full expectation of seeing them support IQ only to have missed them as they played far earlier than I expected. But this album almost makes up for that (there is also a DVD available of the night). Dan and Jiffy know when to stay in the background, or when to be forceful, while Chris and Rob Reed have an understanding rare indeed between guitarist and keyboard player. Although their sounds are quite different, I did find myself often being reminded of the relationship between Paul Thomson and Steve Paine of Legend as they provided the support for Debbie Chapman. Then at the front is Christina Booth, surely one of the most instantly recognisable singers of the modern progressive age. There are times when she reminds me of Stevie Nicks, others of Judie Tzuke, and here is a singer perfectly on control, fully understanding the emotion she brings to the material, confident to hold onto notes perfectly, or to sing slightly lower if that is what is required. Magenta continue to demonstrate why they have been one of the top progressive rock bands in the UK for so long, winning multiple awards, and the only problem I have with this album is that it is so damn good I just never wanted to stop playing it. After blasting us all into joyous rapture with “Speechless”, where they show just how much they can rock when they want to, they go straight into the 26 minute plus “Trojan”, which works through all that one would expect from an epic of this length, with each musician taking his opportunity to take centre stage, and mix and layer with the rest when needed. A few other musicians have been added on oboe and flute, who add some additional flavours, but even without them this is an album for the ages, something very special indeed. If ever anyone wanted to hear what modern progressive rock can sound like in the hands of masters, then play them this, as if a “live” album could ever be called faultless, it is this.
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