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Icon - 'Urban Psalm' Hot

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Written by Central Electronic Brain     January 16, 2018    
 
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A great package and diehard fans will definitely want to purchase it, and I'll be at the front of the queue.

The late and sadly missed John Wetton and his partner in crime Geoff Downes recorded this concert at the iconic St Mary-le-Bow church in London in 2009. Attendees were all given a copy of the DVD at the time. 'Urban Psalm' is the first in a series of definitive re-releases from the band's catalogue, although, only the DVD part of this package has been previously available, albeit on the aforementioned limited basis; I can already hear the cynics piping up with "cash in" and "lack of respect". In the band and record label's defence, the re-release(s) had been planned well before Wetton's untimely passing.

The two audio discs of this 2CD/DVD set includes all sixteen tracks from the original DVD, whilst also adding three which were not included on it, therefore completists will be truly pleased. The show features songs by Asia, King Crimson, The Buggles, and of course iCon. It begins with Asia's 'Countdown To Zero' which is a somewhat laid-back version as opposed to the 'Astra' album track. 'Go', from the same album, is up next and is a decent representation, however, I was slightly disappointed with the guitar solo from Dave Kilminster who is a superb musician in his own right; he has played in Roger Waters' band for many years and with Keith Emerson.

'I've Come To Take You Home' from Wetton's 2003 solo record follows and he sings his heart out showcasing his rich, melodic voice. Hugh McDowell of ELO fame adds some nice touches on cello. 'Twice The Man I Was' is the first track not included on the original DVD and it's a rousing version from the band's third album, 'iCon 3', which was released around the time of the concert. On the whole, the DVD footage is decent, though not brilliant so this may be a reason for this track being omitted. Kilminster redeems himself with some fantastic guitar work. Downes then shows off with some fine keyboard work on The Buggles' quirky 'Elstree'.

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'To Catch A Thief' features Panic Room's Anne-Marie Helder beautifully performing a duet with Wetton, while the highlight of the concert is undoubtedly the rendition of Crimson's 'Starless'; Wetton's voice sounds superb and his intricate bass work is brilliant, as is Kilminster's guitar playing. It's Prog heaven... and I'm gutted I wasn't at the show! A special mention must be made for Pete Riley's drumming too.

The second half of the show (and second disc) continues with 'Paradox/Let Me Go' and it sounds superb, especially Wetton's impassioned vocals. 'Raven' is another duet between Wetton and Helder with Downes on piano and is a lovely song. Asia's 'True Colours' is given a rare outing and Wetton continues in fine voice. The crowd are slightly audible on the classic 'Heat Of The Moment', but generally you can hardly tell that this is a live album. This is an acoustic version and this format once again highlights how strong Wetton's voice was. 'Don't Go Out Tonight' from 'iCon 3' and 'My Own Time' from Asia's 'Alpha' are the other two tracks which were omitted from the DVD and it's great to finally hear these versions.

The band really Rock it up for 'Days Like These', while 'In The End' features the final duet between Wetton and Helder (the original track from iCon's debut had Renaissance's Annie Haslam taking the vocals), this rendition sounds simply majestic and McDowell's cello plays a big part. The show ends with a barnstorming performance of 'Astra's 'Rock And Roll Dream', and before you know it, this two hour awesome show is over.

Overall, this really is a great package and diehard fans will definitely want to purchase it, and I'll be at the front of the queue! Wetton fans will appreciate this release for many reasons and will no doubt be looking forward to the rest of the iCon re-releases.

Az Chaudhry

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