Eloy - Reincarnation on Stage

Eloy Reincarnation on Stage cover
Eloy
Reincarnation on Stage
Asr/Soulfood
2014
I still remember me circa 1987... as an 8 year old kid, still rather short, trying to reach the LPs on the medium shelf, just to browse and being particularly intrigued by the really psychedelic cover of Eloy’s “Ocean” that I had inherited… a year later, as I was more into Greek folk music at the time, I was intrigued but as my command of English was lacking still and my overall exposure to foreign cultures, was still I suppose not fully at its peak, I actually didn’t revisit the middle shelve until half a year later.
 
When I actually decided to play the album, my mind “exploded”… having just heard Pink Floyd only days previously, these Germans, spaced out, style, totally blew my mind… through the years, I obviously became an ardent fan… and pretty much a follower of the band.
 
With some, I guess, 18 or 19 albums to their credit but only really ‘78s “Live” release, until recently and a few sporadic bonus live tracks available as bonuses on the remasters of the albums, the recent DVDs and “Reincarnation...” are a beautiful memento that manages to capture the band’s triumphant and long overdue, return to the stage, after a long, long time… some 15 years maybe?
 
With a great sound, a big production, including 2 keyboard players augmenting the dual guitars and 3 female singers as a choir the possibilities on stage are great and the band manages to interpret a great wealth of material from the back catalog covering pretty much most bases... glaringly omitting the first three releases and performance in favor of the most “popular” eras...
 
I suppose “Ra” & “Destination” are also omitted, but those were Eloy albums mostly in name, rather than “band” efforts. Obviously there’s no doubt that Frank Bornemann is Eloy but… both those albums featured a very minimal line-up and everyone was featured/credited as a guest musician, so in a sense one could also think of them as more of a “solo” venture.
 
After the “mysterious intro” of “Namaste” where Frank welcomes as a mystagogue the attendees to the mystical celebration that is the “Reincarnation” of Eloy “On Stage”, “Child Migration” from “Colors” breaks in with its rocking riff... the first of a few tracks from the said album... superb rendition of a great song… one will figure out almost instantly that this “live album” is a “frankenstein” pieced together by a lot of performances from different nights, with performance quality being the key in the selection of the “takes”... but worry not about the “flow and continuity” of the disks, as rarely do you feel that there are any fades… most of the mixes are seamless and you feel that the whole show is continuous and culled from the same venue, which is not the case really…
 
The groovy “Paralyzed Civilization” from “Ocean 2” isn’t bad at all, as it sort of nicely segues in there... but “Mysterious Monolith” with its German spoken intro (I have no idea what it’s all about, probably introducing the track really and saying it’s from “Planets”) is way more fun! I was one of those who really enjoyed “Visionary” the band’s “latest” and “greatest” achievement, which seems to keep things pretty much as we knew them, maybe with a few flourishes of “folk” here and there...
 
“Age of Insanity” is a nice example and here the female backing vocals are pretty strongly audible… a bit of a “single”... but it’s “The Apocalypse” from the “Silent Cries and Mighty Echoes” clocking at an impressive eleven plus minutes that is the real epic here. Probably one of the two “big” highlights on the first CD, I guess… although, it’s a stupid thing trying to look for “highlights” in this cosmic flow of stardust and particles… oh and those ethereal vocals… unbelievable!
 
“Shillouete” another “Colours” cut, is also perfectly executed and my childhood memories come alive to haunt me with “Poseidon’s Creation” another eleven plus minute brain salad tosh, expertly created, to make young boys lose their marbles… oh dear…. I am having such flashbacks… as I am writing this, the vinyl spinning around and me listening to those groovy spacey riffs, thinking my head would just fall of my shoulders… as I was trying to follow the spin of the record with my gaze… gee... Floyd, Eloy, Hawkwind, East of Eden and a few other bands have damaged me beyond repair…. in a good way… I don’t want to be repaired you know…
 
“Time to Turn” from the eponymous album is still full of fancy keyboards and stuff, but not as spaced out, as the track that precedes it, so it sort of manages to get things a bit back to earth... again, the female vocals, prove to be a masterstroke really... “The Sun Song” from “Dawn” is nice if not a bit of a throwback to a more “psych” sound, but it’s a beautiful song and a favorite of many and who am I to complain! I love it as well! Those fantastic “keyboard” sections that dominate it are “something else” really! To close the album in the best possible way there are 2 superb tracks, both from “Colours” “Horizons” followed by “Illuminations” and it’s just a fantastic way to conclude the first CD with those two great numbers... there’s both beauty, mystery, and a sort of silent force behind those tracks that’s very appealing! The crowd obviously is really appreciative of the fact too...
 
CD2, begins with “Metromania’s” “Follow the Light” which is superbly rendered and the exchange of male and female vocals is exemplary and ads a great dimension to the song. In the same ever flowing but rather pleasant style, “Awakening of Consciousness” from the “Ocean II” sequel, follows, nicely taking things forward. “The Tides Return Forever” from the album bearing the same name, that although, rather recently released, had become somewhat of a rarity, until the band rectified that, by offering a remaster, on their own company, to stop people from making crazy money from exploiting real fans, is offered next... it’s a rather peaceful number that numbly meanders through the corridors of its initial melodies, until it finds a much stronger footing a couple of minutes in and begins gathering steam, to reach an amazing crescendo just a few minutes later… only to come full circle like a tide would… really great stuff...
 
“Ro Setau” another song from “Ocean II” is next slightly lifting the spirits, with its more spacey feel and great melodies... the lamenting, longing vocal melodies, during the middle of the song have just to be experienced to be believed… “Mystery” lifted from the “Visionary” is another nice number, but my only objection here, is that the “sound” on this track, sounds kind of “different” you could almost tell it’s a different track... the mastering has pretty much made all of the rest of the tracks fit together almost perfectly, but this one, maybe sticks out a bit... at the end of it there's a bit of a “dead time” with chants from the crowd etc… signifying the end of the normal set…
 
The “First Encore” comes in the form of “The Decay of Logos” and “Atlantis Agony” both from “The “Ocean”… both mind blowing, earth shattering, space rocking, fantastic pieces of prog, that forever scarred a young 8 year old and still haunt him, 27 years later... floating back on earth… there’s a “Second Encore” one can hear “The Bells of Notre Dame” ringing as they did on “Power and Passion”... slow moving and magically mystical with its interwoven guitar licks and soft keyboards layers soothing the mind before its tubular conclusion. Last but not least, “Thoughts” from the “Visionary” seems quite fitting, both a recent piece of work, short but sweet and a perfect epilogue, to a great selection of songs that does well to represent this most excellent band and to celebrate their great legacy.
 
With a largely stable line-up in the past few years/decades (not that there’s been an awful lot of activity anyway, that have actually seen only the addition of musicians if I am not mistaken) this album really revolves around Mr. Eloy Frank Bornemann along with his long time Eloy partner Klaus-Peter Matziol on bass and Bodo Schopf on drums who seems capable of pretty much playing quite capably all of the songs with the proper feel. Michael Gerlach and Hannes Folberth both share keyboard duties and Steve Mann the most recent addition, probably because of FB’s accident also handles guitar duties. Ladies Anke Renner, Tina Lux and Alexandra Seubert are the ones that offer the female backing vocals as a choir.
 
It goes without saying that any fan of Eloy should just get this PRONTO! Ehm but also fans of prog music should really give in as well and people willing to blow their minds with the aid of music featuring some really mind bending and expanding arrangements which do not really require you to take chemical agents to feel that you’re flying high and that you’re out of this world floating out in the cosmos… among the spheres!
 
Superb! Long live Eloy! I hope that one day they may grace our shores too!