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Mona Lisa (France) - 2004 - "Live at ProgFest"
TRACK LIST: 1. Captif de la nuit 2. Le petit violon de Mr. Gregoire 3. Les sabots de Lena 4. Voyage avec les morts 5. L'echiquer de la vie 6. Les guerriers 7. Tripot 8. Les noces de cendres 9. Au pays des grimaces 10. Comme un songe All tracks: by Mona Lisa.
Prolusion. France's MONA LISA is an internationally well-known outfit, and they probably don't need a special presentation. They have six studio albums, five of which were released in the '70s, and here is finally their first DVD. The show was recorded and filmed at "Theatre Performing Acts" in La Miranda, California, during ProgFest 2000. Format: NTSC.
Synopsis. Oops, the contents of the DVD include only the band's live performance on ProgFest 2000. OK. Like in the case of the band's latest studio album, "L'Ombre et la Lumiere" (1998), there is only one real member of Mona Lisa in the lineup in this show: singer Dominique le Guennec. All the other musicians are from the 'all-nobles' band named after the legendary French town-palace Versailles: keyboardist Alain de Lille, guitarist, flutist and vocalist Guillaume de-la Pierre, bassist Martin de Goethals, and drummer Benoit de Gency. It's almost a fairy-tale with happy ending: the most consistent followers of Mona Lisa have once again become Mona Lisa themselves. Indeed, Versailles's music has very much in common with that of our heroine, which, in its turn, was always known for being a proponent of Genesis and Ange-styled Symphonic Progressive. While not of a high complexity, the music is Classic Art-Rock rather than Neo and is a mix of influences of all the aforementioned bands, i.e. it's definitely not without original ideas, though the vocals are probably the only completely unique component of it. Well, visually and by scenic behavior Dominique le Guennec, with his passion to array himself in various spectacular suits and masks (though without make-up on his face), rather strongly reminds me of the young Peter Gabriel, but his voice and his way of singing bear no resemblance with those of any of Genesis's vocalists, that's for sure. For the most part, the material has the vintage sound of the '70s, partly due to the frequent use of the Mellotron-related registers of synthesizer, and is interesting despite the fact that there is nothing new that would amaze the experienced listener.
Conclusion. Of course, it would've been better if there were additional sections in the DVD: perhaps some bonus tracks or an interview, at least with subtitles in English. Nevertheless, this is a worthy document capturing one of the classic French bands, which, moreover, has already become part of history. The visuals and the sound are very good, and Mona Lisa's vivid stage show speaks in favor of purchasing the DVD, especially regarding those liking histrionic Progressive.
VM: September 7, 2004
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