Renaissance: Live Review
Venue: Islington Union Chapel, London
“Haslam’s voice holds up stunningly well. It could still cut through canvas.”
“Let them know… Renaissance are back!”
Of course it’s the classics which bring a thrill of nostalgia to the reverent crowd. Annie has a nice line in self-deprecation, announcing, “This is one from Scheherezade And Other Stories – it’s not the one you want though… maybe next time,” before offering the lilting Ocean Gypsy. From the Turn Of The Cards album they masterfully reproduce Running Hard and, as a melodramatic set-closer, Mother Russia. The black-clad band (two keyboards, acoustic guitar, bass, drums) are US-based, including Rave Tesar, who Annie’s worked with since ’88, and Tom Brislin, who once played with Yes. “You’ve got to be good to play with them,” smiles Haslam.
The bittersweet Northern Lights is embraced by an audience otherwise starved of choruses. But it’s that Ashes Are Burning coda, with unapologetic long solos for the key men, which gets everybody on their feet and clapping. Renaissance, still uniquely uplifting, are living their name.