Dead Can Dance In Concert - Review
Review by Jack Foley
YOU wait 16 years for a new album from Dead Can Dance and then a couple come along at once. In Concert follows the release of Anastasis and is largely comprised of songs from that LP.
It’s an epic listen and one that demonstrates just how good this band is live. If you love the sort of theatricality that accompanies the likes of Pink Floyd, then Dead Can Dance have it here, albeit with a sound that’s both cinematic in scope and ancient in inspiration.
And by ancient we mean music that takes its inspiration from the near-Eastern Mediterranean, from Greece and Turkey across to North Africa.
The focal point comes from Brendan Perry’s impossibly deep vocals as well as the more mellow tones of Lisa Gerrard, whose serene vocals will be best known to anyone who has heard her provide the epic backdrop for the score to Ridley Scott’s Gladiator or Michael Mann’s The Insider. It’s a nice mix of styles.
Highlights of this live set include Children of the Sun, which combines some wonderful instrumental arrangements with Perry’s vocals and lyrics about ancient civilisations, as well as the sparse Anabasis, which introduces Gerrard for the first time.
Non-album moments such as Lamm Bada have a striking quality about them, too, while Gerrard delivers quite possibly the album’s most beautiful moment with Sanvean, a song so stripped back that it’s virtually a capella for most of its duration. It’s during this moment that the power of her vocals really captivates and is laid bare.
Gerrard and Perry team up for Nierika, another striking moment that leans heavily towards African percussion arrangements, and which provides a nice contrast of vocal styles to capture the attention.
While All In Good Time has a brooding, pensive, beguiling quality to it that’s aided by Perry’s reflective vocals and lyrics (“when you reach the end of the rainbow” etc) and which, ironicallly, switches positions with Return of the She-King in live form.
On Anastasis, All In Good Time brings things to a close in somewhat quiet fashion, immediately following the far more lively Return of the She-King. In live form, however, the roles are reversed, thereby ensuring that the live performance ends on something of a high. It’s a good switch-around and one that delivers a fittingly towering climax.
Dead Can Dance do remain an acquired taste. But for devotees, this live offering is one to savour.
Download picks: Children of the Sun, Kiko, Sanvean, Nierika, All In Good Time, Return of the She-King