Saturday, 22nd April 2017
A MOM Kultrális Központban, Budapest, Hungary
Article By Owen Davies
Photos By Groholy Tibor and Völgyesi Zoltán
Ever since I
Attila Kollar for DPRP in 2015 and he told me of the bands
plans to present a live show based around many of the tracks which featured in
their much respected 1990 album,
I had been interested in attending.
In the end, I decided that the opportunity of witnessing the performance of Solaris'
twenty-four minute epic, Los Angeles 2026 that was the undoubted highlight of 1990,
was too enticing a prospect to miss.
It was not surprising that the gig was a sell out.
Solaris are held in high regard by prog fans in Hungary and the concert had attracted
a fair amount of media interest; members of the band had been interviewed on local radio stations and on TV.
The concert began as advertised at 7.00pm and over the course of the next three
hours the audience were treated to an impressive performance of fine musicianship
featuring Solaris own unique brand of progressive flute rock.
Everything about the gig oozed quality and it was obvious that the members
of Solaris had prepared diligently for an opportunity to create a truly memorable show.
By the time the show had concluded the band had arguably achieved even greater heights
than at their award winning performance three years earlier at
Budapest's MUPA concert Hall in October 2014,
or at their last gig and appearance at MOM Kulturális Kozpönt in November 2015.
The set list had a natural ebb and flow and the tunes chosen worked perfectly
to provide a fascinating blend of power, excitement and subtlety.
Bombastic tunes were interspersed with more genteel compositions.
In the second half of the show the chunky riffed menace of Apocalypse was perfectly offset
by the reflective and uplifting atmosphere of the gorgeous flute led melody of;
If the fog clears away.
On the occasions when the band had the opportunity to stretch out in pieces,
as in the impressive LA 2026, they did so with aplomb.
Seeing LA 2026 performed was one of the highlights of the show,
and it was made even more memorable by the inclusion of a
number of extended and unheard parts developed especially for this live performance.
There were several times when the shifting tempo of the piece created the chance
for different moods to be highlighted and explored.
The bands skilled ensemble playing was not only able to showcase the pieces
main motif and recurring themes, but was equally adept at
adapting the composition so that it was even more impressive in a live setting.
The lengthy composition has many distinctive parts,
but the concluding section featuring some overblown snarling flute
work summed up the quality that was on offer and why witnessing live music
can be such a rewarding experience.
A stunning collective approach was in evidence during the piece,
but solo flourishes on, keyboards, guitar and flute also abounded.
These had a full role to play and were seamlessly integrated into the bands overall sound.
Carefully constructed group sections and solo passages competed for
ascendency and rose and fell in intensity as different parts of the
composition segued into each other. The extended version of LA 2026 was
simply superb in every respect and I was so glad that I had made the effort to attend the concert.
The gig was also memorable for Solaris fans, as it gave an opportunity for
two tunes that have never been played live before to be performed.
The heart of the snake originally featured in the 1990 album and the Solaris
fan who sat next to me went into raptures;punching the air in excitement when it was played.
The other tune premiered during the performance was a recent
composition entitled Lonely Universe. It has recently been released as one
of two bonus tracks on a vinyl edition of Marsbéli Krónikák II.
The players all excelled at various points during the evening.
Bogdán Csaba is an expressive guitarist and his fluent playing possesses
an enormous emotive pull. From a place deep within him he summoned one
remarkable and memorable solo after another. His performance had just
the right amount of skill to impress but also contained more than enough
raw power to excite. Similarly, Attila Kollár has to be one of the best flautists of prog.
There were times when his guttural and spiteful flute lines rocked the venue;
alternatively there were occasions when his beautifully elegant and baroque
influenced tones created an atmosphere of contemplative delight.
Much of Solaris signature sound is centred on Robert Erdesz futuristic
array of effects and fine keyboard skills. His synth flourishes are as much a
trademark of Solaris as Kollár's flute and his dextrous jousting with both
the flute and guitar did not disappoint throughout the evening.
I was particularly impressed by the contribution of bassist Szendõfi Balázs.
In the delightful Duó the original acoustic guitar parts were transcribed for bass.
The flowing bass parts were superbly executed and offered an excellent counter point
to Kollár's exquisite flute work. At other times his tapping style gave an extra
percussive element to the band's bottom end and his punchy bass tones throughout
gave the music extra depth and added a robust and muscular sound to the impressive rhythm section.
Overall, it was a fantastic show; the whole concert experience was enhanced by
a kaleidoscopic laser light show designed and provided by GT laser.
The vivid colours, shifting light patterns, beamed effects and misty wrapped
layers of dry ice danced vibrantly and in accord with which tunes were being played.
This created an overwhelming and often superb multi-sensory experience
that fully complemented the music on offer.
The audience clearly enjoyed every aspect of the gig and showed their
appreciation with enthusiasm. The conclusion of each song was acclaimed with
sustained applause and a warm response.
The band clearly enjoys and appreciates the close relationship it has with its fans
and performed no fewer than three encores.
After a total of approximately three hours on stage, the curtain closed
for the final time. Once again the band received a standing ovation and the
crowd were still asking for more as the house lights came on.
If you were unable to attend this concert, or if like me you would like
to have an opportunity to experience the show again, you
can take comfort in the fact that the gig was filmed.
Numerous cameras were in evidence and Solaris have stated that if things go
according to plan then a DVD and CD of the event should be released sometime next year.
Robert Erdesz: Keyboards
Attila Kollár: Flute, Recorders, Keyboards
Bogdán Csaba: Guitars
Gömör László: Drums
Szendõfi Balázs : Bass
Seres Attila : Bass
Hámori Máté : Guitar
Archive video Tóth Vilmos : Drums
Raus Ferenc : Drums
The Viking Returns
The heart of the snake
Los Angeles 2026
Wizard of Oz
If the fog clears away
The Viking Returns
Solaris official Website
A MOM Kultrális Központban