Thursday, 12th November 2009
Anfiteatro Sambil, Caracas, Venezuela
Article by Andrés Mansueti
Since their first visit to Venezuela back in 1983, Saga became quite a popular act here.
No other rock band has visited the country so many times like they did, always performing sold-out shows in large venues.
This was the fifth time they were playing here, being the last one during the House Of Cards Tour in 2001.
Back then, they put out their best show ever, playing a well balanced list of songs focused mainly in their early albums
but sparkled with several newer tracks from House of Cards, Full Circle and The Security of Illusion, and people just loved it.
That concert was the last they played in Caracas with the “classic” line up, so the expectations around this visit with both a new drummer and singer were high.
The opening band, a Queen tribute band from Argentina called God Save The Queen, offered a nice show,
looking and sounding much like the real thing, with an excellent sound,
a nice approach to the audience and a set list plenty of Queen hits that made everyone sing along, turning the temperature up.
When Saga entered the stage the audience was very excited, but things didn’t start well for the boys.
The sound was terrible.
As they were playing The Human Condition followed by Wind Him Up and Careful Where You Step
the drums and the guitar were way too loud while the keyboards and the bass were inaudible.
Fortunately, after a while things started to get better and they finally got the right sound.
But there was something else disturbing the quality of the concert, and that was Rob Moratti’s voice.
Trying to be objective about his performance I can only say that it was mediocre.
He seemed to be more interested in being accepted by the audience than in actually doing his job.
It was like he didn’t have control over his voice. Sometimes he sang out too loud, sometimes too low.
Sometimes he was out of tune and sometimes failed to reach the higher tones, most notable in songs like The Flyer and On The Loose.
He didn’t connect with the audience, except for the people on the front rows, spending half the concert posing for photographs,
shaking hands with the guys and getting kisses from the girls there.
But beyond that line he didn’t reach anybody else.
About the rest of the boys, I have to say that they were fantastic.
Brian Doerner is a great drummer; he plays with both power and precision giving the songs a much harder edge.
Ian Crichton was, as always, incredible with his guitar, so flashy and intense, a real guitar hero.
Jim Crichton provided a solid base like he always does and kept himself animating the audience all the way.
And Jim Gilmour proved that he is one of the greatest keyboard players on rock scene. His fantastic solo,
followed by an emotive rendition of Scratching the Surface gained him a stand up ovation.
That was, in my opinion, along with the performance of Corkentellis, where the band really shined, the highlights of the concert.
About the set list, it was focused around the last four studio albums.
I was happy to hear songs from The Human Condition, Trust, 10.000 days and even Network, but not that many.
The audience wasn’t familiar with those songs.
The last Saga album that was easily available in Caracas was House of Cards because they don’t have a good distribution here,
so a lot of people didn’t knew most of those albums.
And, of course, they wanted to hear more song from the early days.
They only played six “classics”. No one could believe they didn’t play, at least, a few “basic” Saga songs like Humble Stance or You Are Not Alone.
So, at the end, people got bored, and considering the price of the tickets (around $100) they were quite disappointed to the point of leaving the venue
even before the encore.
If they had played at least four other tunes of that era the attitude of the audience would have been totally different.
I have mixed feelings about the concert.
On one hand, it was good to hear and see that Ian, Jim and Daryl are in such a good shape with a perfect companion in Brian.
But, on the other hand, I felt very disappointed about the new singer.
I really missed Michael Sadler that night.
The Human Condition
Wind Him Up
Careful Where You Step
You Were Right
On The Air
Book Of Lies
Crown Of Thorns
Jim Gilmour’s Solo
Scratching The Surface
Let It Go
Time To Play
Don’t Be Late
On The Loose
Saga Official Website
DPRP's Review of It Saga's "The Human Condition"