After three regular studio-albums and "AcCult" (with demo-versions, remixes and unreleased material), here comes the obligatory live-legacy!
Even though VANDEN PLAS can be ranked among Germany's best Progressive Power Metal-bands (Bavaria's SIEGES EVEN had split up far too early...R.I.P.), their status in their home-country still is one of an underground-band, just why? The musical quality cannot be responsible for it, because only very few bands from Germany can claim to have only top-notch material on each of their albums.
It's rather the ignorance of the media, label and also the fans themselves, who still view the band as a cheap imitation of the theatre of dreams (what they most definitely are NOT)! That the band moved to neighbouring France to record their live-album comes as no surprise therefore and was only a matter of time. There the band are very close to super-stardom: Fanatic fans, annual tours and sold-out concerts, all features only one Prog-band can enjoy in Germany: DREAM THEATER.
"Spirit Of Live" has been recorded in the famed Elysee Montmartre in Paris during the "Far Off Grace"-tour in February 2000. The live-atmosphere has been captured and the sound makes you feel as if you stood in the midst of thousands of screaming Frenchmen and -women yourself. As usual the picking of the track-list is difficult, what do you have to have, what can be left out? Well, in my opinion they have found a healthy mixture of "Colour Temple" (the masterpiece "Soul Survives" and "How Many Tears") and "The God Thing" ("Rainmaker", with Patrick Rondat as guest-guitarist), while the last album "Far Off Grace" (with the DOKKEN-cover-version "Kiss Of Death", with master Don Dokken himself on vocals), of course, has the biggest part of the pie. With "Journey To Paris" (a keyboard-solo) and the break-ridden instrumental "Spirit Of Live" there also are two preciously unreleased tracks on the CD, which cannot keep the standard of the rest. For true VANDEN PLAS-fans essential and a must!