German band RPWL have been a going entity since 1997, and are celebrating 20 years as an active band this year. They have half a dozen studio albums to their name so far, as well as a number of live CD and DVD releases. “A New Dawn” is the most recent of the latter, and is set to be released in mid-July 2017 through their own label Gentle Art of Music. One should perhaps note that this is a review based around a digital, streaming advance promo of the DVD rather than the physical product itself. As such, there are aspects of the DVD itself I am unable to comment on.
It’s been a few years since RPWL released a new studio album, with their latest CD of original material dating back to 2014 and the album “Wanted”. The live DVD “A New Dawn”, which will also be issued as a live CD, was captured in the tour the band made to promote that album. For anyone that saw the band live on that tour, one should note that this performance was from the final date of that tour, and that the band made that specific event a rather extravagant one, a performance rather more elaborate than what had been the case in the previous dates of the tour.
This two hour long show is about much more than a mere concert. Songs are played obviously, and there is a theme involved too, one that revolves around personal freedom and growth as well as the inhibitions on those aspects due to blind faith and the fear and obedience this has on the thoughts and actions of man. The theme is brought to life and alive however, in a manner not too many bands of this stature ever will take on I imagine. One aspect of it is that some songs are played out in the manner of a rock opera, where vocalist and main man Yogi Lang acts out a role when performing. The other and rather more spectacular aspect of this concert is that it plays out in a more theatrical role as well. Actors take on roles and bring topics and themes from the songs alive: I understand a grand total of 50 persons were involved in this aspect of the production. Multimedia sections further emphasize the themes and messages explored as backdrops, and it all combines into a seamless totality, up to and including a narrator that takes the stage to reflect upon certain messages throughout the concert. A special mention goes to the manner in which the band manage to present a god, presumably the Christian one, as a dead and hollow shell controlled by humans.
The image quality appears to be of good quality throughout: The images are sharp, the color balance holds a good quality though, although you will never escape the presence of the colored stage lights and how they will tone images on occasion. A good number of cameras have been in use, and as a visual experience we have good motion and fluent shifts of images throughout. Some effect filters have been applied here and there, which in my view wasn’t really necessary, but it is not done to the extent of having any detrimental effect.
The audio is of the quality one expects in this day and age too, if further treated and enhanced in the studio after the fact I cannot tell, but it does come across as accurate so if any doctoring have been applied it’ll most likely be to treat more subtle details. The performance comes across as a good and tight one too: This show is the final date of the tour and everything appears to gel just about perfectly throughout. The theatrical aspects of the performance obviously elevates the total experience in this context too, as there is quite a bit more to watch than merely a band playing on stage.
For those unaware of this band previously, their brand of progressive rock is one that revolves rather heavily around a foundation comparable to late 70’s Pink Floyd. At times sounding markedly similar to that band, but also allowing themselves to reach beyond those confines and as such establishing a stronger identity than being merely a band to be described as Floydian.
All in all “A New Dawn” comes across as an excellent production, combining aspects of the theatrical play with the rock opera and a concert performance, and in a most excellent manner too. The very nature of the show captured makes this live DVD rather different from any of their previous live DVDs, in addition to this production obviously revolving around the material from their latest studio album. As far as live DVD’s go this one should appeal to most people fond of rock operas I would guess, and those who treasure a concept being brought to life on stage should also find great pleasure in seeing this production for themselves. The obvious conclusion for me is that this is a DVD that is recommended for the reasons stated above, and then in particular to existing fans of RPWL as well as to those who tend to treasure the sounds and atmospheres similar in nature to what Pink Floyd did in the late 1970’s.
My verdict: Highly recommended
Prologue*, Revelation, Introduction*, Oh Hapless Man*, Swords And Guns, This Ancient Formula*, A Clear Cut Line, Wanted, Like To Like*, The Fisherman, Sound Of Loneliness*, Hide And Seek, From Paul To Saul* , Disbelief, Misguided Thought, Still Asleep, Home Shopping*, Perfect Day, Terror*, The Attack, The Eternal Recurrence*, A New Dawn, Revelation Reprise