Product Reviews

Product: Erik Norlander - The Galactic Collective Live in Gettysburg
Date: 2012-09-13 

The Galactic Collective Live in Gettysburg

Erik Norlander is hardly a new name in progressive rock. As a keyboard player with Rocket Scientists he has become known as a real keyboard hero of the modern age. This reputation was cemented with his solo records and his contribution on Lana Lane’s music. Lately, he’s also put out a couple of DVD releases, including this live performance in Gettysburg, which includes a DVD and 2 audio CDs.

The DVD starts with an introduction by Michelle Moog-Kaussa, which is fitting since Erik is an avid supporter of Moog synthesisers and uses them for practically all his solos. Then the band goes into a set consisting of some of Erik’s best known pieces, either solo or with Rocket Scientists – pieces like Trantor Station, Into the Sunset and Neurosaur. Erik quickly establishes himself as a first rate keyboard player, especially on the Moog synths. The musical influences mostly come from other synth greats, like Rick Wakeman, Keith Emerson, with the mellower parts reminiscent of Rick Wright from Pink Floyd (even more so when the two vocalists add choral vocals and we get a Great Gig in the Sky vibe). I think it’s important to state that while Erik is a great soloist and a virtuoso, he is a very tasteful player and several older players could take a leaf out of his book.

At the end of this live concert you do feel a bit “Mooged out”, so to speak. You start missing solos on piano, Hammond and other keyboard sounds. Erik is a fabulous player and I’m sure fans of his music will enjoy this set. I know I have, but it might be best enjoyed in several sittings if you, like me, can handle smaller doses of all those swirly Moog solos. Besides Erik, there’s a whole cast of wonderful musicians on display here. The guitarist is another quick yet tasteful player, the rhythm section more than competent and the two vocalists work together wonderfully as well. Lana Lane also provides the occasional lead vocals, which is a nice “escape” from the “synth overdose”.

There’s much talent at display here and you can’t really argue against that. Erik is also a more than competent composer and arranger. My mouth starts watering at the prospect of the new Asia album (the John Payne version) and what he could bring to the table. For the time being, these DVDs will keep my expectations high. Live in Gettysburg is about as good as it gets in terms of live albums. Everything is spot on – the song selection, the performance, the sound and the crowd response is just enthusiastic enough.

And check out the dedicated Gonzo artist page for Asia featuring John Payne, and for Erik solo

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