The DVD 'Kings and Queens' captures live filmed footage of the band Renaissance in its earliest formations. Arising out of the ashes of the split of the legendary Yardbirds in 1968, Renaissance was originally assembled by Jim McCarty and Keith Relf. Renaissance’s hallmark was an inspired blend of classically influenced rock. The band would go on in the 1970s in a later form to enjoy huge success with vocalist Annie Haslam.

The first two clips of the DVD come from German TV and are the only known performances captured on film of the original line up of the band. The first two tracks are both taken from Renaissance’s self-titled debut album released in 1969.

The original band recorded two albums and then fragmented apart. The band’s original line up captured here, includes in addition to Relf and McCarty, Jane Relf, Louis Cennamo and John Hawken.

The first track 'Island' possesses an easy late 1960s vibe. The feeling is idyllic as singer Jane Relf puts forth a lovely vocal, “I know there’s a place waiting for me… I want to be there for the rest of my life.”

The second track here, 'Kings and Queens', includes classically inspired keyboard work and some free form instrumental jamming. The band gets to really rocking as the tune progresses. The lyric of “fantasy turning into truth” repeats.

The second piece of footage, previously thought lost, provides a link between the original band and the later more successful line up from the mid to late 1970s. This line up lasted a mere three months and included John Tout, Mike Dunford, Neil Korner, Terry Slade and vocalists Terry Crowe and Binky Cullum.

The band plays a number of songs from the second Renaissance album, 'Illusion'. While the second line up was perhaps not quite as magnetic as the first, they were nevertheless very capable. 'Golden Thread' features classical vocal harmonizing: “The thread is tugging hard… The deal is much too good to miss.”

Also present is a video montage of the second line up, including close-ups of the band members out in nature.

The remaining footage also features the second line up with Terry Crowe and Binky Cullum on vocals. It was taken prior to Annie Haslam, and after Keith Relf and all of the original members had departed.

'Mr. Pine' includes a mix of classically influenced rock and melodic instrumental jamming. The combination of male and female vocalists brings to mind Jefferson Airplane, as does the bluesy rock feel. 'Face of Yesterday' is melancholic and at the same time moving.

'Widdicombe Fair' is a rock version of an old English folk song. The number turns into an all out jam, with some innovative guitar work and some heavy drumming.

In the end, 'Kings and Queens' is a fine video document of a talented and classically inspired rock band.












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