It became quite clear that Pär Lindh was a faithful follower of Emerson, Lake & Palmer style after having edited his albums at studio "Mundus Incompertus", "Gothic Impressions" and "Bilbo" (never tried to hide it anyway: the group acronym P.L.P, are fairly evident). We just needed to confirm whether he was going to be able to keep up the strength and quality sound live. The result, there it is: a double CD recorded during their American tour that will be the delight of those lacking of the high doses of adrenaline which Keith Emerson was well capable to transmit to us.
The festival "Progday" in Chapel Hill (North Carolina) in September 1998, was the chosen location to record Pär Lindh Project first live album. Apart from P. Lindh also take part: Magdalena Hagberg (singer, violin, and keyboards), Nisse Bieldfield (drummer, percussion and vocal), Marcus Jäderholm (bass) and Jocke Ramsell (guitars). In such festival they were awarded best group, Pär best keyboarder and N. Bieldfield best drummer.
The album is a double CD which lasts 94 minutes on the whole. The tracks arrangement makes the first CD easier to assimilate, with more simple and varied themes. The second one would overpower its instrumental part which can became quite hard to listen to the none lovers of E.L.P. live music.
We find on the whole a great record, which makes out of P.Lindh one of the best instrumental musicians and composers of our time. He is accompanied superbly by a team of people willing to follow the dynamic established precisely by himself, where keyboards are definitely the main instruments, however they never intimidate, showing a great maturity. I would however point out the work of the drummer (his house is surely full of C. Palmer pictures) and the bassist Marcus Jäderholm. In the same way this has been a great acid test for Magdalena, of whom I particularly have been quite let down. You can actually tell she does not quite reach where she aims with her voice and therefore uses falsettos (her voice actually gets overshadowed at the studio recordings). Even so, she still contributes with that special spell to the music of this band.
In the amazing interpretation of "Baroque Impresión Nº1" (7:19), the concert opens with an ambient introduction of the keyboards, which are violently interrupted by the entrance of drums, that will not give way to a break any more. This theme belongs to the first album of the group "Mundus Incompertus". It is followed by two themes of "Gothic Impressions", "The Cathedral Part I" (5:53) and "The Cathedral Part II" (9:30) with its lyrical starts in the voice of M. Hagberg. One of the surprises could be "Jerusalem" (2:37). It is less classical than the E.L.P. version with a more similar ending to the festive folk. For those ones used to such version, the voice of G.Lake is very much missed. It is linked directly to the superb "The Iconoclast" (5:09), in which once again, Magdalenas interpreting is far from good.
The peace comes with "Green Meadows Lands" (6:34), which belongs with the one before to "Gothic Impresions". Bela Bartoks "Allegro Barbaro" (2:57), played on the piano and "The Crimson Shield" (5:43) where recorded in Macae (Brazil). Both belong to "Mundus Incompertus" where the acoustic guitar becomes the main instrument and a very pleasant duo take place thanks to M. Hagberg and N. Bieldfeld.
The 2nd CD begins with a instrumental version of a selection of themes from "Bilbo", "Bilbo Medley (The Mountain Path Beorn- Running Towards the Light )" (5:53). Followed by "Rondo" (10:49) where it is possible to identify amongst others the "Sorcerers Apprentice", the "flight of the botfly", the "Candles Vals", the "Turkish March" and the "Tocata and Get Away" which reminds too much of the electrifying Rondó E.LP.s closing theme at the Royal Albert Hall concert in London in October 1992. Although with a slight difference. According to A. Algora, Pär cannot fully control his fingers on the keys at that speed. "Mundus Incompertus Part 1" (9:38) y "M.I. Part 2" (13:04), still show signs of the great quality of this group, alternating instrumental pieces, where the electric guitar comes out with bigger impact than it did up to now, with vocal pieces of great lyricism.
It finishes with Kings Crimsons "21st Century Schizoid Man" (8:44) superbly instrumentally interpreted but unfortunately once again, failing in its vocal interpretation by the drummer of the group.
To sum up, a great live album that will satisfy the lovers of the "emersonian" music, as well as those enthusiast of the keyboards. It definitely proves that Pär Lindh Project is one of the main groups to be considered in this new decade.