Blu-ray Review: Saga - Spin It Again! Live In Munich

Prog rock veterans return with an excellent concert Blu-ray.
  |   Comments

Canadian prog-rock veterans, Saga, have always had a strong relationship with their German fans. It's no surprise then that the band completed their sold-out tour for 20/20 -- their first album since reuniting with original lead vocalist, Michael Sadler -- in Munich. The crowds were enthusiastic and, fortunately for Saga fans, the shows were filmed, comprising the Blu-ray Saga -- Spin It Again! Live In Munich.

A lush keyboard intro with pre-recorded background vocals sets the mood as the band takes the stage to perform "Anywhere You Wanna Go," from their 20/20 album. Sadler, singing in unison with drummer Mike Thorne during the verses, is a bit buried in the mix at first, but his vocals soar during the song's melodic chorus. The band locks into a hypnotic groove on the track, with fine lead guitar playing from Ian Crichton. The up-tempo "Mouse In A Maze" follows, with Crichton and keyboardist Jim Gilmour playing in unison during the song's impressive intro. Sadler gives a dramatic, powerful vocal over a keyboard backdrop on a song that mixes heavy with the ethereal.

The band goes back to their first album for "The Perfectionist," another track that mixes light and hard tones, showcasing a ringing guitar line from Crichton. On "You're Not Alone" and the instrumental "Corkentellis," the band flexes its prog muscles, showing off their virtuosity with fast unison runs and elaborate time changes.

Gilmour takes vocals on "Scratching The Surface," a pretty piano ballad that offers a change of pace from the heavy rock of the rest of the show. The band gives a heavy reading to their signature "On The Loose," with strong vocals from Sadler, while "Wind Him Up" features full audience participation. Throughout the show, the audience is enthusiastic, singing along to every track.

Their enthusiasm carries until the end, with the crowd chanting for, and getting, show-closer "Don't Be Late (Chapter 2)." The song mixes menacing vocals from Gilmour with melodic responses from Sadler. A fine solo from Crichton helps make this an excellent closing number.

The video is presented in 16:9 Widescreen and is well filmed. Many shots linger and the video incorporates split screen shots focusing on the playing. Audio options include Stereo PCM, 5.1 DTS HD and 5.1 Dolby Digital. There is a bonus behind the scenes feature included as well.

By all accounts, Sadler's return to the band was a successful one. The band released a critically acclaimed album and toured before packed houses in Europe. The enthusiastic crowds they played for help make Saga -- Spin It Again! Live In Munich a worthy keepsake for Saga fans.