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[Album Review] Concerto Moon - (1999) The End of the Beginning - 8.5/10
#1
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Artist: Concerto Moon
Release: The End of the Beginning: Concerto Moon Live 1999 and More (1999)
Rating: 8.5/10

Another great live album release by Concerto Moon, and this time around, there's actually a full set to absorb in its entirety. The problem with Live Concerto was its mixed list of songs on both the CD and the DVD. One song was only available on either of the two formats, so it felt rather incomplete. With this 1999 live album, however, you get the real deal, no matter if you've bought the CD or the DVD. I know that "Break It Down" was unfortunately omitted on the CD version. We have ten songs listed this time, with about half of them taken straight from Rain Forest. One interesting song is "King of the Judas", which was originally released as a song on the Time to Die EP that was released the same year. It's a steady, groovy song that has a Middle Eastern vibe, sounding a lot like classic Rainbow in many areas. Why it was never slapped on Rain Forest at the time of its release is beyond me, but at least subsequent reissues now contain that song as an additional.

Anyway, if you've heard Concerto Moon's studio albums, then most of the performances on this release are pretty close in accuracy, although this is definitely the whole band on fire. The only problem, I suppose, would be Takao Ozaki's vocal tracks mixed a tad low, just under Norifumi Shima's guitar tracks. Fortunately, you can hear the bass flawlessly, and the Ichiro Nagai's drumming cuts through like a knife. Therefore, not all is lost, just because of Ozaki's vocals not mixed as high as they should be. It's a shame that only two songs off From Father to Son — the title track itself and "Surrender" — were included as part of this set. I would've liked a bit more representation from that album, as it's really quite something. "Dream Chaser" and especially "Change My Heart" would've made the crowd go totally insane. Not even Fragments of the Moon got that much representation here. "Alone in Paradise" and "Take You to the Moon" do rule a whole bunch, but what about throwing in "Run to the Sky" for good measure? Either way, Concerto Moon delivered the goods on this one.

The End of the Beginning: Concerto Moon Live 1999 and More contains most of the essential Concerto Moon songs, especially with Rain Forest in mind, as I found the latter half of that album to be a little boring, so it's good to see that none of the duds were included on this set. There exist multiple pressings of this live album. I personally own the one with a cover of Shima playing his guitar. The European versions are cheaper, though, and some of them should come with a bonus VCD that you can watch footage of on your computer.

Before I wrap this up, I need to mention the exclusive studio song on the bonus disc. "When the Moon Cries" is great stuff, but as far as I know, it's ONLY exclusive to this release! Another fantastic Concerto Moon tune that has a bunch of great hooks in its mid-paced glory, regardless of being wasted on a live album. That actually reminds me of Dokken's Beast from the East, which included "Walk Away" towards the end, now that I think about it. Also, "Norman Island" is an OK instrumental. It's nothing to brag about, but it isn't bad at all.

Consider this to be the very last thing from the original incarnation of Concerto Moon, as their sound would be changing quite a lot over the years, sounding more and more like typical Japanese power metal. For me, Concerto Moon before 2000 is just so unique and magical, and I'd consider it their own signature sound.
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#2
I was aware that this show is part of their Rain Forest tour, so the tracklist has never bothered me. Smile

I bought the European reissue of this album by Limb Music; as you already mentioned, the bonus disc includes the video release of this concert, but in a shorter version (the running time is 53 minutes only, and "Rain Forest" was cut off from the tracklist). It's in mpeg format and unfortunately the quality is not so high.
The 3 bonus tracks were moved to the main disc, for a total of 13 tracks and a running time of 73 minutes.
Why Limb Music decided to change the artworks is a complete mistery for me.
Another interesting fact: in the booklet we can read "the story (of the band) so far"... too bad they didn't mention that Ozaki had already left the band at that time (this reissue was published in 2001) Rolleyes
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#3
(02-02-2018, 02:20 PM)embryo6 Wrote: Why Limb Music decided to change the artworks is a complete mistery for me.

They probably had a pretty strict contract with their own artworker. Either that or they thought the original versions would hurt the European sales. I can see that point being true for 'From Father to Son', to be honest.
If you can't get enough of me giving my opinions without having asked for it, you can read more of it on my Kevy Metal weblog.
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