Pallas, September 26th 1998
Hedon, Zwolle, The Netherlands

By A. Russo


Even in the absence of the oceanic audiences of IQ and Arena, to greet the return on the stages of Pallas after 5 years there were 250-300 people, enough to fill the venue.

You could breathe a feeling of celebration at the 'Hedon' for a band that belongs de jure to the small group of the first heroes of new British progressive rock, since when - at the start of the eighties - they found themselves fighting against punks and new wavers with moogs and jesters. The magic of that period can be rediscovered today thank to the reissue in a CD-format of the mythical first album Arrive Alive, preparing the way to what should have been a luminous career.

Unfortunately it didn't go that way, but the spirit of Pallas has been preserved for all this years, through the early triumphs, the later disillusions and the oblivion for a band that has never made real 'false steps'.

After the opening set of Odyssice, an instrumental Dutch band moving in Edhels-Camel co-ordinates with mastery and a good arrangement quality, but slightly monotonous compositions, it is the turn of the band of Aberdeen Scotland.

The first part of the show is almost entirely dedicated to the new album Beat the drum, presented in a special edition for the occasion. The new tracks are good, direct and well structured with a fair room for Ronnie Brown's keyboards. The best (Ghosts and Hide and Seek in particular) take us back at the atmospheres of The Knightmoves. But the audience wants to listen to the old material, and the band serves The Executioner, Rat Racing (the best pieces of the most "recent" repertoire) and most of all the great Crown of Thorns, a never forgotten classic.

But the best is yet to come. Alan Reed announces in the general enthusiasm the integral execution of the Atlantis Suite, putting together many pieces of Pallas' masterpiece album The Sentinel. Between flashlights and whistles of Fairlight, the bass played by a monstrous Graeme Murray (for his skill and for his stage presence) opens the way to epics like Rise and Fall, East West, and March on Atlantis, to conclude with the homonymous piece.

There's also time for the encores with a very intense Sanctuary and for Arrive Alive practically sung by the fans, in a medley with Led Zep's Kashmir and the final section of Cut and Run.

Among the audience's ovation and in a climate of general commotion (mostly by Graeme and Alan) the band thanks everyone for «giving Pallas the strength to survive» and promise not to wait other 13 years for the next chapter of the Pallas saga. It was a real celebration, and we must salute the return of one of the most important bands of contemporary symphonic rock.

Setlist:

Call to arms
Wilderness years
The executioner
Beat the drum
Rat racing
Crown of thorns
Hide and seek
Ghosts
Blood and Roses

Atlantis suite
Sanctuary
Arrive alive / Kashmir / Cut and Run (finale)

 

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