The 18th of June 2011 will forever remain a date with only good memories. On that day I attended a concert of the Cuban prog band Anima Mundi performing for the first time live on a Dutch stage. Those who had witnessed their strong performance at the LiveProg Festival (see review) at Lakei in Helmond, saw a band that played on stage just as good as on their studio albums. Some people even called it the best live performance of 2011. Well, maybe they were right because they came and stole the hearts of the people who stayed until two o'clock in the morning. If you've seen a marvellous concert you want to relive it over and over again, but this is only possible when the band soon returns for another gig or when the performance had been filmed for a DVD. Fortunately this was the case during this festival and as a result the DVD/2CD Live In Europe has now been released.
The DVD contains almost the entire live recordings of the above-mentioned show by Anima Mundi, only El Umbral was left out. This is a song from the band's debut album Septentrión (2002, see review). Another track from that album can still be enjoyed. On La Montana Del Vigir former member Anaisy Gomez was welcomed as a special guest to play the bagpipes. Obviously their latest album The Way (2010, see review) formed the principal part of this show, since the Dutch prog community really loved this album; so the entire album was performed. The live versions of these songs only slightly differ from the studio recordings. Even the long epic piece Spring Knocks On The Door Of Men got an excellent live rendition.
It seemed jamming or fooling around on stage wasn't allowed. No time for improvisations, whatsoever! Everything just has to be perfect. For that reason Rhythm Of The Spheres and Sanctuary both from the album Jagannath Orbit (2008, see review) sound perfectly. They also performed The Return, a great new piece of music that will be recorded in The Netherlands for the new album. I think this album will make them even more popular in our country.
A lot of time and effort were spent to make this release a valuable document. When I watched the DVD I saw much more details than being in front of the stage. The close-ups of the musicians are just perfect; it seems as if you're standing next to them watching over their shoulders how they play the instruments. You get close up images of Virginia Peraza playing the timpani by pressing a few keys, or from Roberto Díaz playing the difficult, but beautiful guitar solo of Firth Of Fifth (Genesis), or bass player Yaroski Corredera, who gets a solo spot on Cosmic Man, or lead singer Carlos Sosa who plays on a keyboard decorated by a Cuban flag. You even get a better look at drummer Manuel Govin, hidden behind his drum kit and occasionally smiling at the audience. This DVD contains no extra features, but that doesn't matter, because to me watching this amazing concert again is just enough. Therefore I want to compliment Dutch film maker John Vis and his crew for making a dream come true with this fabulous concert registration.
It was a good choice to release an audio version on a double CD of this concert as well, especially because most people have a tendency to play the audio recordings of a concert more often than the video footage. Moreover, you can't play your DVD in the sound system of a car, can you? Be careful while driving your car and enjoying the wonderful guitar solos by Mr. Diaz. Pay attention to the traffic; you don't want to hit another car or overlook a red traffic light. You better safe your money for buying this kind of music!
Both releases are worthwhile buying, especially if you want to relive a concert you have seen yourself. You might call it the perfect souvenir of a magical moment you'll never forget. But in general these releases are recommended to all prog heads out there who couldn't attend the performance of a fine Cuban band on stage on a beautiful day in June 2011!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
Where to buy?
All Rights Reserved Background Magazine 2013