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Progressive Rock DVD/Video Reviews

The Tangent

Going Off On One DVD

Review by Josh Turner

They have given me a gag reaction. I keep spewing and spewing positive commentary; so much so that the genuine expression gets lost in the minutiae. For that reason, I’ll get straight to the point: This DVD is stupendous.
 
Seemingly, this band can do no wrong. They’ve released some of progressive tock’s best albums to date. Now they’ve successfully released their fourth studio album. That doesn’t even account for a miscellany of live output and official bootlegs. With numerous line-up changes between guitars, drums and sax; the sound persists to be consistent. Andy Tillison is like industrial glue when it comes to holding the infrastructure together. Not to mention, when they are on stage, they are true illusionists, because the crowd is convinced that they are performing real magic. Often their interludes are accompanied by “oohs” and “ahhs."
 
Indubitably, this DVD is a demonstration of talent. On it, they play many of their best songs including some very old ones. Included as extras, Tillison pilfers from one of his prior outfits: That would a band named "A New Opera" from the glory days of 1981. It turns out this bygone stash was both the source for “Uphill from Here” and “In Earnest." The declassified footage is reason enough to watch this video.
 
It’s hard to differentiate highlights from the rest of the stock, because it’s all quality material. If it came down to my wallet or my head, I would respond with pepper spray and then say “GPS Culture” was a precious item to protect.
 
Jonas Reingold’s bass goes blissfully ballistic in “The Winning Game." Speaking of which, the world-class bassist and Swede is virtually unrecognizable with glasses, a goatee and a ponytail. At first, I thought he too had been replaced, but his nimble execution of the scales gave him away.
 
As it’s in England, Guy Manning – master and jack of all trades - makes a rare appearance with the band. However, he stands incognito in the back.
 
Aside from these enigmatic demographics, Theo Travis’ flutes and Tillison’s in-your-face finish makes “Lost in London” hard to miss while “Darkest Dreams (Part I & II)” really do click.
 
These four songs were so good they made my jaw drop. Additionally, they took us into previously uncharted territory. By the time I knew what hit me; we were already onto subsequent tracks. That’s a feat in and of itself when you consider their extensive length. For better or worse, they put me in a catatonic state.
 
To be this good should be illegal. I cannot fathom any band competing with The Tangent. As far as I’m concerned, they have a monopoly on the genre and are gaining market share at a rate that could hardly be deemed fair.
 
Ultimately, Tillison flees this corrupt scene unscathed. As for anyone watching this disorienting chimera, let’s just say that they’ll be at a loss -- trying to reconcile how an act can be so darn adept without even breaking a sweat.
 
P.S. I cannot tell a lie. Tillison’s forehead perspired substantially under Club Riga’s sweltering lights. As he’s progressive rock’s answer to James Brown, what else would you expect from the genre’s hardest working man on such an arduous night?
 
Tillision states, “Like most bands, The Tangent in its few live concerts has had a lot of ups and down. Broken down vehicles, non-existent hotels, inveterate snorers, inaccurate budgeting, missing equipment, mains hum, and above all the inability of the Germans to make a cup of tea properly.”

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.
You'll find concert pics of this artist in the Music Street Journal members area.
You'll find an audio interview of this artist in the Music Street Journal members area.
 
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