The Flower Kings
June 4th 2005
Calprog, Whittier, CA, USA
The Flower Kings came all the way to Los Angeles to play for a sold out crowd at the 'Calprog' festival and they did not disappoint.
IZZ played right before them and after playing a great set of their own material (including MANY very good new songs) opted to do Close to the edge as their encore. Needless to say the (very well executed) song went down extremely well, but left The Flower Kings a lot to follow!
The band hit the stage a little late around 9:45pm. They started off with the rather odd choice of Compassion which it took a few of us a bit to recognize, but it actually worked well as it builds to its climax. The band was the five piece version since Daniel Gildenlöw did not make the trip. I personally did not see the big difference, since Hasse Fröberg and Roine Stolt seem to handle the vocals without any problems.
Up next was the medley of Last Minute on Earth and In the Eyes of the World. As always the vocals of Hasse on the first song are incredible. The new drummer, Marcus Liliequist seemed very solid throughout the gig and his pounding away on In the Eyes of the World was tremendous. After saying hi to the audience Roine asked for requests! Fortunately someone said the correct song and the band started off on a set of songs from Adam & Eve by playing Love Supreme. This seemed a lot stronger than the album version with Tomas's synths being so upfront. They carried on with Cosmic Circus going into a decent drum solo from Marcus which Roine played along to with percussion. As soon as that came to a close Hasse started with the acoustic guitar of Babylon. A great instrumental! They then surprised us by playing Daniel's main vocal contribution A Vampires View, my personal favorite song on Adam & Eve. Roine did the vocals well and the song worked as well as I would hope, leading into the small delicate piano solo; Days Gone By as it does on the CD.
Roine then announced the next song as being "an old song we have not played for a while.." which was Church Of Your Heart. A wonderful song which went down really well, was great to hear this piece after so long! They then went straight into Blade of Cain from A&E, which was a real treat since I really had not expected to hear this and I think it is one of the stronger pieces on that album, the band reached some amazing highs in this song.
Then it was super epic time and we got The Truth Will Set You Free. This song, I have to say was very long and it strikes me as mind numbing that the new drummer played it so well! I do think it comes across much better live than the studio version, as proved on the Meet the Flower Kings set. I love the synth solos on this song and it was really good to hear them so clearly with the sound mixer doing such a good job with the bands levels.
Then Roine announced Jonas Reingold was going to speak. Mr. Reingold came across as very genuine in his love for his new child and dedicated his solo piece to her. He then played an extraordinarily melodic and beautiful song on the bass only slightly augmented by Roine. It brought a huge standing ovation (one of several that night). It led into the obvious closer Stardust We Are pt.3 , which of course had the place cheering for minutes as it ended.
As is the tradition at Calprog, the band finished with a cover of a famous prog tune (of the other bands at the festival: Spiralling had done Soundchaser, Bubblemath had done The Knife, Tiles did part of 2112 and IZZ did Close To The Edge) so Roine announced that they would carry on and play a song by "a band, a lot of whose back catalog has been played today already". They played a beautiful version of Soon by Yes. Roine's guitar was especially incredible given that recreating the Steve Howe's slide guitar must be really hard!
The band then closed with the wonderful I Am The Sun from Space Revolver. A very apt closing piece that brought another standing ovation from the crowd.
All in all a very solidly played, entertaining concert. The band is no doubt stronger live than in the studio. To also have the pleasure of meeting them and realizing what genuinely nice people they are could not add more pleasure to the whole event! I look forward to seeing them again on the west coast!!!
Last Minute On Earth
In The Eyes Of The World
A Vampires View
Days Gone By
Church Of Your Heart
Blade of Cain
The Truth Will Set You Free
Stardust We Are part 3
I Am The Sun parts 1 & 2