Past and Presence

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The magical and mystical sounds of prog rock. There was a time when prog rock meant 30-minute long suites that seemed perfectly suited for ballet dance accompaniment. But for a spell in the '80s, prog had become streamlined, with a focus placed back on the importance of songwriting, rather than flatulent soloing. One such band that had no problem showing that they have impressive chops -- but that the importance of songwriting remained numero uno -- was (and remains) Pendragon. To celebrate the 21st anniversary of the release of their debut full-length, 1985's The Jewel, Nick Barrett and company booked a show on Halloween 2006 in Poland, whose set list was heavily based (but not entirely comprised) of tracks from their debut. And wouldn't you know it, the show was filmed too! The end result, 2007's Past and Presence, will undoubtedly please longtime fans of the band and also pop-prog admirers, in general. Bearing a musical resemblance to such then-thriving acts as Marillion and Asia, The Jewel is often credited as one of Pendragon's strongest releases, and the group has no problem handing in expertly replicated versions on-stage. And if the 15-track performance isn't enough, you get a few bonus bits, such as interviews and behind the scenes footage. They may not be as renowned as Yes or Rush, but Pendragon has been a proud prog soldier for decades now, and Past and Presence only further establishes this point.

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