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Camel - The Paris Collection

Camel - The Paris CollectionRecorded live in, you guessed it, Paris on the 2001 tour, this being a single CD naturally does not cover the entire set but is nevertheless a welcome edition to the Camel Official Bootleg series.

Some folk, non Camel stalwarts that is, may question the need for yet another Camel live recording but for those of us lost in the Camel dream and who have had the pleasure of ‘being there’ over the years can explain.  Camel is one of those few bands whose live performance adds just a little something to the studio version, something that always more than warrants the purchase of yet another live recording.  Admittedly it helps to love the music and the emotion that flows from Andy Latimer’s guitar through the band and, finally, through the listener but every version of Ice, Lady Fantasy etc. offers something different.  It is the different emphasis on the many performances that, strangely, opens up new interest in old well known tracks – acoustic versions on one tour, hard rocking versions on another, jazzed up versions on yet another – somehow, whatever the style adopted, the emotion just oozes.  Not many fans can admit in all honesty to being able to avoid the odd tear in the eye or lump in the throat whilst attending or listening to a Camel performance.

This collection opens with that beautifully emotional track, Ice, from I Can See Your House From HereChord Change, from MoonMadness, is performed pretty close to the studio version with some fine performances from Denis Clement on percussion and Guy LeBlanc on keyboards not to mention Colin Bass on bass.  Fingertips, from Stationary Traveller, is rarely performed live and is delicately delivered in this version.  Slow Yourself Down, from Camel the first album, follows next in a funky format but reappears as a bonus ‘late night version’ track at the end of the CD as a laid back version.  Next, Sahara, is the only track here from Camel’s most recent studio album, Rajaz.  Personally, I think it is a great shame that more Rajaz tracks were not included as it is a terrific album.

Mother Road and Little Rivers And Little Rose leading into Hopeless Anger, all from Dust and Dreams come just before the classic Lady Fantasy (from Mirage) which is appropriately performed with verve and passion.

I have read comments from other Camel fans regarding this Paris Collection and I think it is fair to say that although there is a general disappointment that the Rajaz album hardly features and that Camel’s A Live Record is an all time favourite live album, this recording is of good quality and offers new variations of oft played tracks.  A little more subdued than others in the Bootleg series but what would be the point of releasing similar live recordings each time.

I missed the 2000 tour due to long term illness and hope I will be fit enough to attend the proposed 2002 tour. (will they ever play Manchester Apollo where I can sit???).  In the meantime I will let the Paris Collection whet my appetite.  Thank you Andy.

Jem Jedrzejewski


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