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Anthony Phillips

The Living Room Concert, Remastered & Expanded Digipak Edition

Review by Gary Hill
Given the title of this set, you might thing that it was just recorded in 2020 under pandemic lockdown. That's not the case, though. It was recorded and released as part of a 1993 series from NPR called "Living Room Concerts." This new edition has several bonus tracks. You might know of Anthony Phillips as the original guitarist in Genesis, but he's had a rich and diverse career since then. This album is all acoustic. Most of it is instrumental, but a few tracks include vocals. While most of it is played on guitar, there are a few numbers on piano. It's quite a solid release.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2020  Volume 5. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2020.

Track by Track Review
Reaper
Intricate acoustic guitar brings this instrumental piece in, but it's not a mellower number, but rather a rock tune. It works through a number of shifts and changes with some great instrumental work. There are definite elements that call to mind early Genesis here.
Which Way the Wind Blows
After an introduction this piece comes in with a balladic approach. Phillips had explained in that introduction that, while he's singing it here, the original vocalist on this was Phil Collins. I really love the fast paced guitar jamming near the end. 
Henry: Portraits from Tudor Times
This comes right out of the previous number, with a much more rocking approach at its core. The little knocks on the guitar body are a nice percussive touch. This is the epic of the set, though, and as the title suggests, it's a number of connected portraits. It gets into mellower zones as it continues. There are returning themes to the pieces that serve to ground it and hold it together.
Conversation Piece
Phillips introduced this as a song that had yet to be recorded. The intricate acoustic guitar stylings that open it are trademark Phillips. The track evolves nicely and gets pretty well powered up as it continues.
Flamingo
Starting mellower, this thing powers out into more rocking zones as it continues to drive onward, but then drops back down. The contrasts are rather stunning as are the musical passages. This is a dynamic and powerful piece of music.
Field of Eternity
More intricate acoustic guitar work is on display here. This is a pretty cut that is on the mellower end of the spectrum.
Sistine
Phillips introduces this piece. Then his chiming harmonics bring it into being. As it shifts to a more song-based structure, his vocals join. This is a pretty tune that is gentle and balladic.
Lights on the Hill
I love the way this instrumental piece grows and evolves. I love when it turns more rocking later. Of course, Phillips continues the contrasting element by switching between the louder and quieter passages.
Last Goodbyes
Phillips changes from guitar to piano after a spoken introduction to this pretty piece. This piano solo piece is pretty and quite classical in nature.
Collections
This piece seems to come out of the previous one. Although they don't join until late, this is another of the tracks with vocals. The music leans on the classical side, and the vocals bring a more grounding feeling despite the fact that they reach upward at times.
Sleepfall
Feeling like a continuation, or even resolution, of the last couple numbers, this is another effective piano solo.
Bonus Tracks:
          
Jaunty Roads

We're back to acoustic guitar with this intricate and rather folky piece.

Let Us Now Make Love
Another piano solo piece, this is pretty and rather classical in nature. The number is dynamic, working through quite a few different sections.
Lucy: An Illusion
This closing bonus track is another with vocals. It's played on acoustic guitar, and it has a real Genesis-like sound in a lot of ways.
 
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