"Live In The Living Room" - Anthony Phillips' "Echoes"
CD and lyric book reviewed by Alan Hewitt.
Long overdue, this project has finally come to fruition thanks to the collaboration of quite a few people. Special thanks first of allmust go to Helmut Janisch who has done a SUPERB job with the compilation of the lyric book. The overall packaging of lyrics and accompanying text and photos has been extremely tastefully put together and represents a lot of hard work on Helmut's partso WELL DONE, Helmut! And now to the music… Any "Live" performance by Anthony has to be special and this one is certainly no exception! Originally conceived as a "Living Room Concert" for an American radio station the music on this disc repsresents and Anthony Phillips that his fans wouldlike to see more of: LIVE!
The album begins with Reaper from the first of the Private Parts & Pieces albumsand it is amazing to hear the piece almost in its original formand Anthony's playing was a revelation -busk indeed! Two classics from Ant's first soloalbum;The Geese & The Ghost follow; Which Way The Eind Blows and Henry: Portraits From Tudor Times,and it is imossible to describe the feeligog hearing these live for the first time. Anthony's vocals on the first track are superb and Iwondernow why he didn't record them himself on the album. Musically the suite of pieces which follows it is breathtaking in itsscope for Anthony to ty and re-create it allon his own was a brave step and well worth it. His own style and appreciation of both space and form are exemplary here.
A new piece follows whih has been titled Conversation Piece and although it is supposed to be new I can't help feeling that some of the themes have been used before. Flamingo and Field Of Eternity are next and serve as suitable reminders of what Anthony is rightly famed for: beautiful acoustic guitar work and on these two that work is impeccably displayed by two virtuoso performances. The weakest track on the entire collection follows in the form of Sistine which has never been favourite of mine but nevertheless it serves as an example of another style which Anthony has explored. The album is roundedoff however, by three of Anthony's finest compositions beginning with Lights On The Hill which is even more beautiful in the live context that it is on the studio album from which it comes. Last Goodbyes another example of Anthony's exquisite piano style leads us into the grandeur of Collections where everything that I have come tolove about Anthony's music over the last seventeen or so years can be herd in one piece of music;the beauty the grace depth and harmony of this piece really do defy words (well…. Almost!) and a finer way to round off a live performance by Anthony would be difficut to imagine.
As youcan see, I am highly enthusiastic about this CD and booklet. I know my views are biased but even so; this CD is a very welcome addition to Anthony's canon of work. I can only hope that it might tempt him into trying the real thing in the not TOO distant future - hint,hint! In the meatime, if you have ever wondered what Anthony might sound like live; give this CD a listen;I guarantee you will NOT be disappointed!