Concert Review Archive

 

Solaris

Saturday, 22nd April 2017
A MOM Kultrális Központban, Budapest, Hungary

Article By Owen Davies Photos By Groholy Tibor and Völgyesi Zoltán

Solaris

Ever since I interviewed 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.

Solaris

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.

Solaris

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.

Solaris

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.

Solaris

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.

Solaris

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.

Solaris

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.

Solaris

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.

Solaris

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.

Solaris

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.

Solaris

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.

Solaris

 

The Performers

Robert Erdesz: Keyboards
Attila Kollár: Flute, Recorders, Keyboards
Bogdán Csaba: Guitars
Gömör László: Drums
Szendõfi Balázs : Bass

Additional Performers

Seres Attila : Bass
Hámori Máté : Guitar
Archive video Tóth Vilmos : Drums
Raus Ferenc : Drums

Setlist
The Viking Returns
The heart of the snake
Eden
Hungarian dance
Los Angeles 2026

Lonely Universe
Bonus Game
Drum solo
Duó
Night exhibition
Counterpoint
Wizard of Oz
Mickey Mouse
Apocalypse
If the fog clears away
Undefeatable
E-moll concerto

M'ars poetica
Solaris
The Viking Returns

Links
Solaris official Website

A MOM Kultrális Központban

 


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