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Rick Van Der Linden - 2003/2008 - "An Ekseptional Trace"

(87:35 DVD, Musea Records)


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TRACK LIST:                                 

Trace:

1.  King-Bird 6:11
2.  Sculpture-Bird 2:04
3.  Pathetique 4:27
4.  Surrender 6:45
5.  Medley 8:00

LINEUP:

Rick Van Der Linden - Mellotron, organ, piano, ARP, Clavinet
Ian Mosley - drums
Jaap van Eik - bass

Ekseption:

1.  Song For Life 4:28
2.  Dreamwish 3:30
3.  Angelsong For Jolease 2:41
4.  Just For You 3:08
5.  A Prayer 3:04
6.  The Fifth Symphony 3:41
7.  Fireworks 15:06
8.  Happiness 4:03
9.  Toccata 1973 4:08 
10. Fireworks Gaillarde 16:19 

LINEUP:

Rick Van Der Linden - keyboards
Inez Van Der Linden - vocals
Mark Inneo - drums
Bob Shields - guitar
Meredith Nelson - bass
Peter Tong - keyboards

Prolusion. Rick VAN DER LINDEN was a Dutch keyboard virtuoso, who sadly passed away much too early in 2006, at 59 years old. During his musical career he worked with numerous bands and artists, earned himself eleven gold, two platinum and one diamond album, achieved commercial success with the band Mistral in the Netherlands and was appointed as professor at the Harleem Conservatory of Music. Many will remember him best for two specific reasons though - his participation in the band Ekseption from 1967 until 1974, and his work with his own band Trace from 1973-78 - the last of these being a kind of European version of Emerson, Lake and Palmer.

Analysis. Rick Van Der Linden seems to have been a colorful character in the European music scene in the 70's. Although many study the church organ just as he did in his younger days, combining that knowledge with his previously acquired expertise of the piano in rock bands wasn't an everyday story back then. His particular background did make his contributions to the music scene special, as he brought a high level of knowledge with him when playing as well as composing. That the field he specialized in was compositions heavily influenced by classical music must have been a major advantage for him, that other tunes performed by the bands he was most active in back then were rock versions of classical pieces even more so. The first of the two major parts on this DVD is a live in the studio performance with his band Trace, shot for the German TV program Musikladen in 1977. And it's without doubt that Van Der Linden is the star of the show here, and he seems to be having the time of his life. Surrounded by towering majestic towers of various keyboards and synths, he seems totally immersed in the music and the playing, twisting and turning to reach the various keyboards, and does so with ease while his body language really shows how intensely he's into this. With long hair and beard flowing and colorful clothing, he looks very much like a free spirit in appearance as well as manner. The bonus material for this part of the DVD, a medley from the same live in the studio concert, basically is more of the same. The second major part of this DVD is a concert by a reformed Ekseption at a concert in 2003. Rick Van Der Linden is even more central in the footage here, but now he's obviously much older, which shows in many ways. He still plays with perfection, but now he's more concentrated on the tasks at hand, and even appears to be slightly nervous at times. The pure joy we see in the footage shot in 1977 isn't seen here, and the overall setting comes across as a much more solemn affair. The bonus material here adds a few extra dimensions, though. There's one tune here with footage from a live in the studio performance for the German TV show Musikladen, and here, Van Der Linden, although just as colorful looking as in the footage shot for the same TV show 4 years later with his band Trace, seems more isolated. He performs to perfection, but doesn't seem to be as immersed in the music as in the footage for Trace, neither does he appear to be as filled with the pure joy of the experience. As this is only 4 minutes of footage there's no basis here for drawing conclusions - but the contrast with the footage of Trace is striking. In the second bonus footage here, from a concert 6 days after the 2003 recordings that make up the major part of the Ekseption content here, Van Der Linden seems more immersed and joyful in the concert experience again - not at the same level as with the 1977 performance, but the seriousness and solemnity of the footage from 6 days earlier isn't by far as prominent here. The sound quality for these recordings is good, with the notable exception for those of the bonus material filmed on June 20th. It seems likely that the recordings done at this date really weren't intended for a DVD release, and thus are fitting to add as bonus material due to that. The movie parts of this DVD is more mediocre, the footage from the 70's comes across as just that - decent quality but nothing spectacular for the time, and less so 30 years later. The more recent footage is better in movie quality, but there are no bells and whistles here. You do get a lot of footage of Van Der Linden playing, which should probably be of interest to fans and keyboard players alike. The performance in the various footages here is good, too, with one notable exception. Inez Van Der Linden gets to do vocals on two songs here, and unfortunately time has not been kind to her voice. The vocal parts are limited though, so this doesn't disrupt too much of the experience. As for the DVD itself, there are not many bells and whistles on that one either. There's not much information about the concerts apart from date, place and year we don't even get to know if these are selected parts of performances or if this DVD contains the entire performances from 1977 and 2003. A short biography of Rick Van Der Linden is included, and we get to know that the footage from 1977 is previously unreleased, as well as a minor, interesting fact: the drummer playing here would later be a part of a band called Marillion.

Conclusion. This DVD comes across as a release that first and foremost will be interesting to fans of Rick Van Der Linden himself, although fans of Ekseption as well as Trace will find the content here to be of interest. Hardcore Marillion fans might want to get this one as well, due to the participation of Ian Mosley.

OMB: June 26, 2008
The Rating Room


Related Links:

Musea Records


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