Artists | Issues | CD Reviews | Interviews | Concert Reviews | DVD/Video Reviews | Book Reviews | Who We Are | Staff | Home
Progressive Rock CD Reviews


Heads or Tales Live

Review by Gary Hill

The concept of performing an album in its entirety is nothing new. That’s the idea behind this release. It’s a live recording of Saga performing their Heads or Tales disc end to end. One thing that’s a bit of the twist here is that this recording features vocalist Bob Moratti instead of original singer Michael Sadler. The fact that Moratti is now gone from Saga and Sadler has returned makes this even more unusual, but yet also more special. This is a release that’s recommended to all Saga fans, but probably not the best choice for a first listen.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 4 at

Track by Track Review

Strings (simulated) lead this off and the cut builds into a killer progressive rock instrumental that serves as an excellent introduction, hence the title.

The Flyer
The group fire out into a hard edged prog meets pop rock jam from that intro. There are a number of killer instrumental sections built into this powerhouse tune. Some of the guitar soloing, in particular, is amazing.
Cat Walk
We get more of the same here, but this number is a little more along the lines of quirky. It’s a killer tune that really rocks out nicely.
The Sound Of Strangers
There’s a bit of an off-kilter, swirling atmosphere to this hard rocking prog tune. It’s a tasty number that’s quite potent. It is one of the more dynamic numbers on show, with different instruments taking control at different points and leading the group in different directions.
The Writing
The keyboard dominated section that starts this is more along the lines of 1980s Saga. The keyboards really do drive a lot of this piece and give it a different flavor than some of the other music on show here. There are sections, though, where the guitar takes over. There’s a jam later in the piece featuring a bit of command and control duel between keys and guitar.
Starting balladic and building out from there, this is a cool tune. It’s got a lot of keyboard dominance, but those keys call to mind a horn section a lot of the time. It’s a powerful number that really brings some variety to the table. It’s some of the most decidedly progressive rock oriented music in the whole set, too. It’s also one of my favorites here. It works through quite a few changes in a very satisfying way.
Social Orphan
Here’s a tune that’s a lot more traditional progressive rock. It’s got a lot of energy and a lot of emotion. It’s a killer tune and another highlight of the set with the whole band getting chances to shine.
The Vendetta (Still Helpless)
A mellower, bouncy kind of tune, this is playful and fun. It’s also one of the more proggy numbers.
Scratching The Surface
Starting with a samba beat and mellow arrangement, this feels a bit odd early on. It powers out to more traditional progressive rock from there and then sort of alternates between those sounds. They take it out later into a killer prog jam that alternates between keyboard and guitar dominance.
The Pitchman
Another decidedly progressive rock oriented tune, this is a powerhouse number that works exceptionally well. It features inspired soloing from all musicians and some of the most unexpected twists and turns of the whole set. There’s a killer jam later that even calls to mind progressive rock classics like ELP a bit. They turn that segment towards a more boogie rock sound, while still maintaining the frantic jamming.
You'll find concert pics of this artist in the Music Street Journal members area.
More CD Reviews
Metal/Prog Metal
Progressive Rock

   Creative Commons License
   This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.

    © 2024 Music Street Journal                                                                           Site design and programming by Studio Fyra, Inc./