Classic: Saga, Silent Knight, 1980

saga - silent knightWhen a number of songs out of 8 are kind of obligatory in a live set, even after over 30 years, you know you have done something special. And Saga sure did something special with Silent Knight. And no, I am not referring to the obvious play with words here.

On this classic album, those 3 songs are Don’t Be Late (Chapter Two), What’s It Gonna Be, and Careful Where You Step. But then I am leaving out personal favourite Compromise, and one of the other chapters: Too Much To Lose (Chapter 7). I will not be delving into the story behind the chapters here, that is something for another day.
The sound of Saga really come into fruition with this album and it’s successor Heads Or Tales (which some regard as their trademark album). For me Saga are that gentleman voice and melodies of Michael Sadler, the flashy and instant recognisable guitar playing of Ian Crighton and the fast fingers of keyboard player Jim Gilmour. But all based on the framework often laid out by Jim Crighton and held together by the steady drums of Steve Negus. Always melodic so for a progressive band they are very accessible. And yet, with the prowess within the band, some stunning work is never far away.

I cannot imagine anyone into prog not knowing these guys. But if that is you, start with this one and the mentioned Heads Or Tales and then move back and forth in their discography. You will not regret it.

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Saga, Worlds Apart Revisited, 2007

saga  - worlds apart revisitedBeen a long time coming to write another post about a DVD. So now I have doubled those numbers, what better choice to make than this Saga DVD? Especially one that pays tribute to one of the best selling Saga albums ever Worlds Apart. And in my humble opinion Saga deserve some extra attention as they should have been bigger. But that is just me šŸ˜‰

On the first disc we get a selection of songs, old and new and of course the said album in it’sĀ entirety. Home of several classic Saga songs that will forever be on their live play list, it is no wonder the public is charmed by the performance. And it really is quite the performance. Has bugged me forever that the two virtuosos within the band (Jim Gilmour on keyboards and Ian Crighton on guitar) are not on everyone’s fave player of the year list) and this film shows just how good they really are. Whether in unisono or playing a wild solo, their technique is fabulous as well as rhythmically challenging. Backed by Brian Doerner on drums and shy boy Jim Crighton on bass and keyboards (I actually think he is the one holding the band together). And lead by gentleman singer Michael Sadler (a jack of all trades as he also plays bass and keyboards) who captures his audience easily with his obvious joy and his sometimes Freddy Mercury alike showmanship.

Filmed with a keen eye for the right camera angle, and without tricks, this is a pure live show that shows how good the band is. I have seen them live and this does them justice.

The second DVD has some archive live footage as well as some background stories from band members and crew. Very funny to watch.
So quite the package from this unique band.

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Saga, The Human Condition, 2009

Saga - The Human ConditionGreat! Am I finally finding the time to write about this album, the first with new singer Rob Moratti, news is popping up that Michael Sadler has returned to the fold and will once again tour with the rest of the boys… Man, life is what happens while you are planning…
So for all of you out there who are wondering how a Saga albumĀ  without the voice of Sadler sounds, this one is for you.

In everything this is another great Saga album. Just the singerĀ“s voice sounds strange. Oh no, that is where we started. All fun aside, of course Rob Moratti is a competent singer. Coming from a more melodic rock background, his keen ear for melodies is a valuable addition to the already impressive song writing abilities within the band.
If you have been following the career of Saga, then you will know that in recent years they have gone from strength to strength, releasing a number of albums that are on par with all the classics from the past. But as I am quite fond of all their output, counting their concept album Generation 13 as one of my faveĀ“s, you might not want to take my word for it, LOL.

This CD sits comfortably amongst their catalogue. Strangely familiar so to speak. The title song is musically songbook Saga, but has minimal vocals. Step Inside is typical Saga, albeit with a different voice (duh). Hands Of Time has a different approach than we are used to, sounding almost like a rock ballad, but is nice nevertheless. To conclude, no one is pretending to be something they are not. Saga is Saga, a good singer is a good singer. The combination works for me.

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