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Alive On Planet Earth

music reviewmusic reviewmusic reviewmusic review  out of 4 Music Review: Alive On Planet Earth

Artist: The Flower Kings
Genre: Rock
Release Date: February 2000

Review by Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck
4 stars out of 4

"Alive On Planet Earth" is progressive rock heaven with some of the best "Flower Kings" music released over the last several years. Their studio work has been brilliant, offering their listeners strength, consistency, and a bounty of material without fail. All of their music is excellent, and this live performance lends further credence to their greatness. This is a live recording that's the next best thing to being there. I always wondered how they would sound on stage, now I have a good idea. I want to see them for myself some day to experience the beauty and passion of their music and performance. I want to take in every note so I never forget it for as long as I live. There are some groups that do something to you that you just can't explain; The Flower Kings are one of those groups. This two CD set was recorded in North America in 1998 (CD 1) and in Japan in 1999 (CD 2). It's a more than a worthy testament to their worldly magnitude and the supremacy of their music.

They do a version of the classic Genesis prog-rocker by Peter Gabriel "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" that would please and delight any to-the-core prog-rock enthusiast in a heartbeat. "Sounds of Violence" reminded me of the 70's version of Uriah Heep, complete with the grinding driving keyboard sound of Ken Hensley. "In The Eyes of The World" and "Big Puzzle" are highpoints, and rather memorable. I hadn't previously detected that on prior albums. At times you can hear the influence of Yes, particularly in Roine Stolt's guitar playing. Stolt ventures off to the fringes of jazz on several occasions during the improvisational segments of some of the songs. The live setting certainly encourages and prompts every band member to push it to the limit and change the way each song is remembered in the studio recordings. Of course this is the true test of a groups wherewithal and combined talents to make all of this work. I realize I always give a lot of credit to Stolt, and I should, he deserves it. Roine is very modest and humble, and he really appreciates his band mates so I do need to give proper credit to all. I would hear about it from him if I didn't! It does take more than one person to make a thriving and intense group like The Flower Kings work. Robert Engstrand (keyboards disc one) and Tomas Bodin (keyboards disc two) are hypnotizing on the keys and serve Hans Froberg's cause to help him bring his voice to another level. His voice is very strong and it never falters during any performance. He also adds his six-string experience to the mix. Michael Stolt (bass) and Jaime Salazar (drums) are a superb rhythm section that the rest of the group couldn't do without. This is a great example of the spontaneous musical magic of a group effort. With the Flower Kings it's always a few notches higher than anyone else.

If you were ever wondering if they could reproduce their studio work live, don't ever doubt it, they can, and with additional substance and excitement. They are every bit as good live as they are in the studio. And I would venture to say that they are better live, if you can believe that. I am still in total awe of this group; they are without a doubt one of THE greatest bands on earth.


Stephen Geysens - Engineer
Jaime Salazar - Percussion, Drums, Vocals
Tomas Bodin - Keyboards
Roine Stolt - Guitar, Vocals, Photography
David Palermo - Artwork
Hans Froberg - Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar (Electric), Vocals, Slide Guitar
Don Azzaro - Producer
Michael Stolt - Bass, Vocals, Synthesizer Bass
Robert Engstrand-keyboards

Disc One

1. There Is More to This World (Stolt) - 11:31
2. Church of Your Heart (Stolt) - 9:41
3. The Judas Kiss (Stolt) - 15:43
4. Nothing New Under the Sun (Stolt) - 4:13
The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (Banks/Collins/Gabriel/Hackett/Rutherford) - 9:17

Disc Two

6. Big Puzzle (Stolt) - 18:28
7. Sounds of Violence (Stolt) - 6:38
8. Three Stories (Bodin) - 6:05
9. In the Eyes of the World (Stolt) - 12:07
10. The Flower King (Stolt) - 11:26
11. Stardust We Are, Pt. 3 (Stolt) - 9:45



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