The Flower Kings, 17 April 1999
Herringthorpe Leisure Centre, Rotherham, UK
By Ian Oakley
I have been a fan of and involved in this type of music "progressive rock" since the early 70s. There are literally hundreds of
bands out there at the moment resurrecting this type of quintessentially white European 1970s L.P music. Now a very
large underground scene held together by the internet and the technology to cheaply produce, distribute and publicize
"home recorded" CDs.
However, when it comes to quality control and originality I feel that there are only two bands currently out there that can
call them selves truly world class - "Spocks Beard" and "The Flower Kings". These also only seem to be the two bands
that are pushing the envelope of "prog rock" to truly progress the genre further Spocks Beard By bringing back
beautiful sing a long melodies / superb musicianship without trying to be techno flash and The Flower Kings by again
beautiful melodies and also introducing jazz fusion / room to improvise and even dance within their performance As a
friend said The Flower Kings Prog with added "PHISH" and/or "ZAPPA"
This concert was the first time the band had played the UK since May 1997 and the concert was held in the same location
as then The Herringthorpe Leisure Centre Rotherham England. As last time, this was their only U.K concert. The band was
brought over by The C.R.S for which I will be eternally grateful for providing a regular venue for this music. The venue
itself is in usual use as a sports hall / gym. so is quite small and acoustically poor.
Being the only UK date people, including friends and myself, had traveled from all parts of the UK to the event. (We did
400 miles round trip). However, was initially disappointed that there were still only 170 people in the audience. In
addition to this we also seemed to be representative of the average age of the audience (late 30s early 40s)
. Is this the
real state of this genre of music ????
The support band Parallel or 90 Degs I will not comment too much on They were good if a bit uninventive and
naοve, passed a hour fine - But I was Waiting for a World Class act.
After an introduction from the man from CRS "This band are as good as any Yes or Genesis at their peak" I could not
9. 30 dead. The Flower Kings took the stage After a little tuning of instruments gently began then blasted their way into
the gig with There is more to this world followed by a very inspiring Retropolis which just carried me away to that lovely
situation where you feel your whole mind and soul is riding on the back of each guitar note and it carried on that way.
There were a few technical difficulties with keyboards / foldback and tuning along the way but none that spoilt the gig. I
understand that this was mainly due to the incapabiliity between the Swedish plugs and the UK electricity supply. The gig
lasted a total of two and a half wonderful hours with The F K giving us at least two tracks from each of their many CDs
Including, I think for the first time live, almost the whole of Garden of Dreams.
For people that only know the CDs The F .K live sound is a lot looser live with jams of and between numbers and a lot
heavier feel than indicated by the CDs. All the musicians are individually of world class quality and compliment each other
perfectly. In particular I noticed how the voice and guitar work of Hasse Froberg complemented Roine Stolt, with Hasse
taking more of the lead vocals and having the stronger, purer voice of the two and Roine using his more gravelly voice to
add emphasis to certain lines and phrases.
The only complaint I would have was that the house PA and the mix was not up to the high standard and quality of the
playing By the end of the concert the mix and volume had reached that "wall of sound state" where all instruments were
at equal volume whereas, at least CD wise, Stolts guitar should be the main leading presence That is what the audience
came for.. OK, the PA system was not very good but I would have appreciated less total volume and more thought given
to the mix. With the total volume set so high there was no where left to go to bring the guitar to the forefront- However, as
the gig was done on a shoestring budget it is understandable the F.K could not afford to bring their own sound engineer
over who would have provided a more sympathetic mix.
I am very loath to complain at all as the whole gig seemed to have been done on a very tight budget 170 x 10 GBP =
1700 GBP To bring the band from Sweden Hall hire PA Lights I know that a member of the audience had
actually lent his mellotron to the band Still I don't know how the CRS did it on the money made from ticket sales
I am just so appreciative that the CRS brought the band over in the first place.
I look forward to Spocks Beard on 1st October at the CRS.
There Is More To This World
World Of Adventures
Garden Of Dreams ( Pt 1-10)
Church Of Your Heart
JAM: incl. The man who walked with kings / Circus Brimstone/ Big Puzzle
In The Eyes Of The World
Garden of dreams ( Pt 16-18 )
Sounds of violence (incl. Bass solo)
The Flower King
Stardust We Are ( Pt 3).