Album: Dreams and Omens: "Live" at the Tower Theatre, Philadelphia PA, 1978
Can You Hear Me
Carpet of the Sun
Day of the Dreamer
Things I Don't Understand
Personnel: Jon Camp, Michael Dunford (vocals, acoustic guitar); Annie Haslam (vocals); John Tout (keyboards); Terence Sullivan (drums, percussion).
Liner Note Authors: Chris Welch ; Annie Haslam.
Editor: Denny Bridges.
Photographer: Jeff Shea.
There are several very distinct periods of Renaissance history -- of which the most exciting may well be the time surrounding their best album, A Song for All Seasons, It is the album -- along with Azure d'Or and Novella -- that almost broke them as pop stars and was filled with some of the most interesting (in their prog rock roots) songs they had yet written. This live album is from the tour accompanying the Song for All Seasons tour -- and, as such, it could be argued that it is Renaissance at the peak of their powers. Even more so than Live at Carnegie Hall or the welcomed reunion concert, In the Land of the Rising Sun, Dreams & Omens captures Renaissance as one tight pop band. They almost play like a cross between the Alan Parsons Project and late-era ABBA (as in The Visitors-era ABBA!). Never mind that there are only six songs and that some of them top out at over ten minutes. This is great pop music played by professionals at the top of their game. To hear the two included numbers from Song for All Seasons is the absolute highlight -- their mini-single, "Northern Lights," and -- especially -- the epic "Day of the Dreamer." One only wishes that the band or the label had seen fit to reissue this concert in its entirety, in order to hear more of the gems that don't often come across the usual Renaissance live albums and compilations. This is the sound of a band hitting its creative peak and understanding how to reconcile ten-minute epics with three-minute pop songs with astonishing results in both arenas. And you can only listen and marvel as they do it so effortlessly. Hands down, this is Renaissance's best live release. Its only flaw is in its brevity. Essential for fans. ~ Tomas Mureika
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