Customer Review

15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the fog on the Tyne is all mine all mine, 23 Aug 2006
This review is from: Five Bridges [with 5 bonus tracks] (Audio CD)
I finally got this album following a bout of nostalgia for my native land and in particular for an area of the country where I frequented my youth.

Thirty seven or so years later, the album does not generate as much enthusiasm as it did in my younger days. While the expanded edition is a most welcome addition to the growing repetoire of the available music of the Nice, it really has not stood the test of time too well.

All the trademarks of the band are there in their glorious splendour while Keith Emerson towers as a colossus virtuoso against the others in the band who are no novices in the rock game themselves. However there is a gnawing sense of doubt against the project of group and orchestra in the Fairfield Hall. The music of the time stands as empty as a Tyneside shipyard today despite all of Emerson's skills as a musician. I find that the commissioned work is not a real reflection of the city either then or now. The city which has undergone a major renovation and has been transformed into a city of culture from a city of deindustrialisation and now presents a bold new face to the future.

In retrospect it seems to me that this is a vainglorious attempt at a novel approach for the arts in bringing a progressive rock band together with an orchestra via the mechanism of Emerson who clearly is a talented and gifted musician but who lacks the rquisite skills of composition to do a significant portrayal of the city of Newcastle.

Having said all of that the musicianship of this album is no doubt exceptional and certainly portrays the power and intensity of the Nice and the orchestra. It is a real pity that a DVD does not exist which would transform the aural experience to the multi-media event that a Nice performance was. One can almost see the daggers fly into the Hammond organ as one writes.

As another reviewer commented the additional tracks are a real treat. As I drove through a northern city in New Jersey the other day with America blasting out into the 86 degree sunny atmosphere, a driver called out to me at a traffic light that he had never heard such a rendition with so much life and gusto. As the lights changed I explained that this was music by a sixties English band called the Nice whom he had never heard of.

A very satisfying acclamation from a musical innocent. A good album no doubt, a grand project no doubt, the best album by the band? No I must say I prefer the three disc compilation with the live version of Rondo at Newcastle City Hall, but the Nice are always better live than in the studio which cannot be said to have captured their true essence.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 2 Mar 2011 21:46:01 GMT
P. Kennedy says:
Very accurate viewpoint of my beloved Newcastle.
I was at the City Hall (as a schoolkid) the night ELP recorded Pictures at an Exhibition, and eagerly bought this just a wee while prior with my pocket money !
The first albums NOT chart music I ever bought was Nice live at the Filmore, and Led Zep II
Loved both bands ever since -along with Family, Genesis, Gentle Giant, Van Der Graaf, Barclay James Harvest, Yes, etc - as so many Nice fans did.
Emerson was back near his old haunt at the Tyne Theatre last year. Missed him then through work. Apparently it was like going back in time !

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Mar 2011 14:12:27 GMT
Junglies says:
Thank you for your memories. I was never fortunate enough to see the Nice personally but they certainly made some memorable music. The North East, especially Sunderland and Newcastle, was a great place for music in those days.

Best wishes,

Gerry
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