There are some things that should need no introduction, such as Robert John Godfrey and his band the Enid. The fact that their fans paid for the filming and production of their new DVD, Live at Town Hall, Birmingham, says it all. Although they have been producing opuses where classical meets progressive rock since the 70’s, this live performance shows no signs of weariness or slowing down. The Enid produce a stellar performance with Live at Town Hall, Birmingham.
Basically, what we get is an amazing journey in 2 parts. The first half of the concert is most of The Enid’s latest album, Journey’s End. Whether you’re in it for the classic rock or an epic orchestral feast, this one’s got both. I will tell you right now that “Malacandra” will absolutely knock your socks off. It’s got everything from classical and film-score-ish-Elfman-Batman-esque (is that an adjective or what?) to huge vocal harmonies to will absolutely make you grin from ear to ear. They close this part off with the second to last track, “Shiva,” an uplifting epic that takes you through several twists and turns and ultimately leaves you feeling great. I’m not gonna lie, I was pretty disappointed when Robert Godrey lets the audience know that they would hear the final piece of the album on their way out of the venue that night. I wanted it right then and there in my living room. Oh well.
Please allow me to briefly comment on the very intimate and personal feel of the concert, due to band taking advantage of a number of moments to talk about songs and band history. They are very interesting people to listen to, something that I had previously realized from hearing Mr. Godfrey talk about composing the piece “Fool” from Region of the Summer Stars (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zeTvaCDrpRo). Furthermore, the speaking parts lend the show an almost sort of a “reunion” feel, due to the inclusion of former band members during the second half of the set. At any rate, nostalgia never leads to tears of boredom, as the discussion and insights into the band’s history and compositions adds great depth to the performance.
Just as the first half of the set was truly enjoyable, the second half did not leave me disappointed. I was most pleased to see the inclusion and phenomenal execution of “Judgement,” the song that converted me to the Enid. There are a number of pleasant surprises during the second half of the show, including the participation of the Chandos Symphony Orchestra (which makes the Enid’s already large sound go from gargantuan to colossal), Francis Lickerish’s performance of “Childe Roland” and “Ondine” (lute!!!), and a divinely sensible solo of melancholy and joy by Mr. Godfrey himself, playing (you guessed it) “The Lovers.”
Just so that I don’t go on for too long, this concert and its accompanying interviews produce high levels of satisfaction. As Robert John Godfrey states in his interview, there were some people that wanted something radical and different but didn’t want punk. I am glad that he gave us the Enid.