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The Flower Kings, Oakwood Centre, Rotherham/Mean Fiddler, London, 9th & 10th October, 2004

The Flower Kings again hit our shores for two shows, and the UK leg was sandwiched between a jaunt across Europe. Billed as the 10th anniversary of the band, this review is easy to write as the set was mainly the latest album Adam And Eve (see album reviews).

Now to the two venues; the band had more stage space in Rotherham, thus allowing bassist Jonas Reingold and keyboardist Tomas Bodin to be placed on platforms joining height wise drummer Zoltan Csorsz, but it had to said there were more punters at Rotherham too. It is hard to compare both shows as they were equally as good, but the lighting was slightly better in London.

The joss-sticks were lit as the before show music set the scene, a laid back jazz CD with female vocals was to be heard from the P.A generating much comment!

The intro music came on, a sort of bass keyboard type thumping sound as the band took to the stage, a big cheer erupted as the band moved passionately into the opening number Compassion from their first double opus Stardust We Are. From that, the sextet moved effortlessly into Drivers Seat from Adam And Eve. It had to be said, the vocals of Hasse Froberg on this were outstanding, as he belted out the final part of the song.

The band of Roine Stolt, Tomas Bodin, Zoltan Csorsz, Jonas Reingold, Hasse Froberg and now established 'new' member Daniel Gildenlow were soon in their familiar groove as the next song Cosmic Circus was next. As on the album, the Tomas Bodin gem of Babylon followed Cosmic Circus, but in Rotherham he looked the part with the Christmas Tree style fairy lights as Roine Stolt pointed out around his keyboards.

Next Daniel Gildenlow took to the mic surrounded by his equipment of guitars, percussion etc to perform A Vampires View. Daniel's distinct vocals and screams took control, as he is a first class vocalist, and Tomas played his part too with fine keyboard sounds. The harmonies on this were outstanding too, with Roine and Hasse providing those. Then Tomas ended it off with Days Gone By, a little piano solo from the album.

Next up, a classic non-Flower Kings song from the sixties, a fantastic cover of The Beatles I Am The Walrus, with the band and crowd in perfect harmony on the 'woooooos'. This was a great version with all the band enjoying themselves playing it, along with Roine taking lead vocals. Daniel again showed off his vocal ranges on title track Adam And Eve, again the band were in perfect sync
with each other, with Jonas and Zoltan shining through on this one. On the London show, Jonas and Zoltan had a drum and bass battle, with Zoltan starting off with his solo, then Jonas challenged him with his bass. It was a nice exhibition of instruments.

Following this, the opening and closing tracks from the album were the set closers in Love Supreme and The Blade Of Cain. The acoustic guitars of Hasse and Daniel on Love Supreme were a delight, as again were Hasse's powerful vocals. His voice again shone through on the closing section before Roine took control on the final piece. Once again the three vocalists were outstanding in the harmonies on Blade Of Cain.

The band then left the stage only to encore with many peoples new Flower Kings favourite The Truth Will Set You Free from previous studio album Unfold The Future. Take nothing away from the new album, but this track for me was the highlight of the two nights, played perfect as you would expect. On the screens we had images among others of The Beatles and classic instrument pictures appearing and fading.

These two shows were a fine example of great progressive rock music as it is today, and for those of you who are reading this who haven't seen the band live, you will not be disappointed at all. Just a few more Euro dates remaining, I will be at two of them. [see photo galleries below.]

Danny Mayo

The Flower Kings

[click on photos to see full size picture]

Rotherham

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London

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