Caravan

Live

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This disc features a performance by progressive rockers Caravan from a 1990 show filmed for British television -- most specifically ITV network's Bedrock Series -- which is also available on DVD. This reunion includes the classic lineup of the band. If the inspired performance on Live is any indication, the group is as jazzed by the sounds they were making as the audience most noticeably is. It is almost as if they hadn't been away -- in this incarnation at least -- for over a decade and a half. The set list, although diminutive, stretches an hour in total running time, revealing both enthusiast favorites ("Headloss" as well as a "For Richard" of epic proportions), deep catalog cuts ("Winter Wine" and "Nine Feet Underground"), and even a track from their 1982 reunion disc Back to Front ("Videos of Hollywood"). What the running order does not intimate is the jaw-dropping power of the quintet, featuring notable contributions from Jimmy Hastings (flute/sax). The band adeptly revived themselves by playing into the music in much the same fashion that graces their pre-Cunning Stunts live efforts during the mid-'70s. By way of accurate comparison, however, it should be noted that this original incarnation of the band never issued any live material -- apart from a few one-off reenactments for the BBC. The raunchy guitar-driven rock of "Headloss" sits surprisingly well when juxtaposed against the decidedly mellower and more recent "Videos of Hollywood." The shorter pieces -- "In the Land of Grey and Pink" and a reworked "If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You" -- are no less enthusiastically derived; in fact, the opposite is arguably the case. Although newer enthusiasts will inevitably want to add Live to their collections, it is the more seasoned fan who will be most overwhelmed by the prog rock fury on this extremely worthwhile investment.

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