Since the beginnings RHAPSODY live was at first a very rare thing (meaning there were no gigs) and then when they finally made it on stage, a pretty two edged thing. Why? Well, for one the extremely bombastic Power Metal of the Italians is extremely hard to realise live, which is why all choirs, classical instruments, such as strings and everything else comes off the computer, which does not exactly help the live atmosphere. And that almost automatically leads to the question, how much of the perfectly played music also might come from the can, but knowing the instrumental prowess of the Italians I really want to give the Italians the benefit of the doubt.
Everything was recorded in Metal mad Montreal, which gives almost any live show the right surroundings, we get eleven songs and there is another point of criticism – the choice of songs. Surely the emphasis lies on the last album “Symphony Of Enchanted Lands – Part 2“, but to leave out the whole legendary debut “Legendary Tales“ is almost sacrilege, at least “Warrior Of Ice“ is a must! What really surprised me, though, was the fact that Fabio Leone does most of his talking in French, he definitely has worked on his foreign languages and also vocally he live seems to be a lot stronger than in the early years.
Ever since their demo I’ve been a huge fan of RHAPSODY and I have each release of the Italians, so I might not be able to really give a very objective view of this thing, because I love the music and can live with the above-mentioned “flaws”, also knowing that you could only pull this off with “real” musicians with a huge budget, fans of the band will get the album anyway, who does not know them so far, should rather try out a studio album.
The CD also comes with a DVD, which gives a short lookout on the coming live DVD, with some background information about a RHAPSODY show/tour (unfortunately only a few minutes), everything with a very strong Italian accent, plus the concert again in audio form.
In the end it’ll be up to you, if it is worth your money, I’ll stay out of it… (Online February 7, 2006)