BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST FEATURING LES HOLROYD WITH PRAGUE PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA : CLASSIC MEETS ROCK
Label : Kultopolis
Released : June 20, 2007
Venue : Galaxie, Amnéville, France
Recording Date : April 6, 2006
Length : 120 minutes
Aspect Ratio : 16:9
Review (AllMusic) : Barclay James Harvest split in 1997 and subsequently the two main songwriters in the band, John Lees and Les Holroyd, each continued working with their own version of the band. Up until this recent release of Les's version, each had issued one studio album and one live recording. However, Les's band has been significantly more active, regularly touring extensively in Germany and other countries in Europe, where the band`s core fan base has been situated since the late 70s. With this hard work, Les's version of BJH have themselves established significant popular support on the continent, so their confidence has grown, to the extent that they have recently taken that most daring of steps for a rock band - touring with a full orchestra. For those of us not lucky enough to have witnessed one of the concerts live, the band have now released a DVD and CD to record the tour. This is an excellent rock album. The warmth of the large audience comes over well and the sound is excellent, the orchestra integrating effectively with the band, enhancing the music, and Les's singing voice holds up remarkably well given the punishing tour schedule the band has been undertaking. It's easy to see that this band has played often together, they play well and do full justice to the excellent songs, drawn from BJH's entire history. Mike Byron-Hehir puts in some storming guitar work, including on old classics, that will please all Barclay James Harvest fans It is a strong set! From 1971`s "Mocking Bird" to 2002's "January Morning" and "That Was Then This Is Now", Les and BJH take us on a journey via some time honoured songs like "Rock `n' Roll Star", "Berlin", "Life is for Living", "Play to the World", "Hymn" and others. The band injects pace into the show at all the right moments and you are left wanting more at the end of the two hours. If you are a fan of the band but with a leaning towards the John Lees/Woolly Wolstenholme side of the split, I would still urge you to give this CD, or the counterpart DVD, a go: you won't be disappointed in either the quality of the songs or in Mike Byron-Hehir's guitar work - this really is a strong performance all round.