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ARENA/Paul Menel/The John Young Band
Assembly, Leamington 16 November 2012
gig at The Assembly in 2011 right at the end of their last tour, Arena
have returned to the venue this time at the start of this trek, as with
their previous show this was a value for money night with two support
bands supplying a night of Prog Heaven in front of a good sized
The John Young Band, John on keyboards and vocals is well known to
Prog and Rock fans having worked with amongst others Asia, Fish and The
Scorpions and his set of well played melodic
material went down very well, the likeable Liverpudlian interacted well
with the audience including announcing with tongue in cheek that this
would be a greatest hits set.
number for me a beautifully poignant rendition of 'When I Was Young',
and also impressed with the rocking 'Open Skies' introduced as a song
about aliens and Man Utd, among John's band guitarist extraordinaire
Robin Boult (Fish, Howard Jones and so many more) played a blinder and
this was a fabulous set to get the evening started.
Next up and
also making a return to the venue superb rock vocalist Paul Menel
(last here supporting Pendragon) well known for his years with IQ, his
band included another top guitarist on stage this evening Steve Harris
and keyboardist Martin Orford.
enjoy in this powerful set of intelligent thought provoking Progressive
rock including a dramatic 'Common Ground' and a stunning, stirring, full
of emotion rendition of 'She's Up On The Chair Again' a real show
stopper with Paul taking to the acoustic guitar, talking of guitars
Steve Harris had plenty of moments to shine including during the upbeat
'Nothing at All' from Paul's days with IQ.
are still promoting their superb latest album 'The Seventh Degree of
Separation' an epic piece of heavy Prog at it's very best and most of
that (sure to be destined classic) album was performed at this gig,
after house lights down and sets of search lights roamed the stage it
was straight into that album's killer opening rocker 'The Great Escape'
a riff filled leviathan.
'One Last Au Revoir' is a pure delight, clever, dynamic, witty, with a
top quality chorus and just about perfect for singing along or just
bouncing along to, adding extra spectacle to the performance was a
superb stage lighting display, on stage props from the latest albums art
work and a succession of clothing and head gear changes by vocalist Paul
onstage garb changes the most dramatic being for the darkly atmospheric
'The Ghost Walks' with the numbers spoken part performed by Paul wearing
a magnificent skull mask the Phantom of the Opera would kill for !
Arena are a
real Prog Rock super group and joining Paul their powerful, charismatic
and real showman of a vocalist on stage, on the keyboards (loved his
rotating set up) Pendragon's Clive Nolan, on drums from Script-era
Marillion Mick Pointer, on guitar from It Bites John Micthell (stunning
on guitar all set) and last but not least one of the best bass players
to grace a stage John Jowitt.
oldies in the headline set as well and highlights including an intense
'Ghost In the Firewall', the epic 'The Butterfly Man', a magnificent
'Ascencion' and best of all a stirring, passionate 'Enemy Without' with
exceptional axe work by Mr Mitchell.
A full on
set by a band that seemed to have added a heavier touch to their sound
recently while still retaining that epic, melodic, progressive edge,
with two strong supports this was a fantastic evening of music and
photos by Andrew Lock
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