Monday, 19 March 2012

Gentle Giant - Playing The Fool The Official Live (1977)

Somehow, I have always regarded Gentle Giant as the progressive rock's answer to a chamber orchestra, playing baroque music. And that is the best description I can find of this truly unique band. This also explains why I have always kept their music on an arm-length distance. Too weirdo, in my view. But my views has changed over the last year. Black is no longer black and I am on a journey to somewhere. Maybe to the land of the gentle giant ?

Gentle Giant uses more or less the same instruments as a chamber orchestra + electric guitars, bass and drums. The vocals too has a classical feel. This album is their only official live album and an excellent starting point for those who want to find out more about Gentle Giant. The music is very complex at times. Mostly due to Gentle Giant being different from the rest of the music scene. The music is very catchy at times. The melodies are very strong. The live version of Funny Ways on this album being one of the best progressive rock songs ever as far as I am concerned. I play it over and over again. What I like about this album and Gentle Giant is their special sound. It is organic and warm. It is unique. I can understand why this band has some fanatical fans. It is pretty much them against the world because the rest of us do not understand much of what this band is doing.

But I have been listening to this double CD for some months and I discover new layers all the time. Gentle Giant has never been a favorite of mine, but I guess it is about time for me to raise the white flag and give this band the recognition it deserve. This live album is absolute superb and essential. It is also one of the best progressive rock live albums of all time.

4.5 points

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