Sunday 7 October 2012

Dead Can Dance - Cirque Royal/Koninklijk Circus, Brussels, Belgium - 29.09.2012 (Flac)

Photo: ianmacd

And we start the Dead Can dance dedicated week with a very recent recording, again by ianmacd, that as usual makes an excellent written introduction to the recording. A huge Thank You to him for taping and sharing his recordings.

Original Info File:


Type: Audience master, recorded from seat in dead centre of 9th row,
      approximately 15 metres back from suspended PA.

Source: Factory-matched pair of Schoeps CCM 41V microphones (DINa mounted) ->
    Marantz PMD661 recorder with Oade Concert Mod
    (-18 dB gain/44.1 kHz/24 bit WAV)

Lineage: Audacity 2.0.2
       * applied varying amplification for consistency
       * attenuated applause
       * added fades
       * split tracks
       * converted to 16 bit
     -> FLAC (compression level 8) [libFLAC 1.2.1 20070917]

Taper: ianmacd


At this point in the tour, I'd like to thank the band for scheduling a rest
day after every gig. Whilst I'm sure that I never crossed their minds when
they were making their plans, my family and I are nevertheless very
appreciative of these moments of respite, allowing me sufficient time to
return to Amsterdam between gigs and not be an entirely negligent father and

After a busy Saturday morning spent ferrying the children around to their
various activities, there's just enough time to grab a bagel before I have to
head out with Niek for the drive south to Brussels.

The Belgian capital is a little less than 2½ hours away by car, so it's a good
opportunity to temporarily stem the tour-induced haemorrhaging of cash by
avoiding the rupture that an overnight stay in a hotel inflicts. If travelling
by train, it wouldn't be possible to return the same evening, so we opt to
journey by road instead.

We arrive at the venue at 17:45, just in time to see David Kuckhermann getting
out of the tour bus, is parked at the kerb of the stage door.

I look around for a car park, but find none in the surrounding streets.
Checking a parking meter, I discover to my great surprise that we can park on
the street for free after 18:00. Gratis parking in the centre of a European
capital? It would appear so, and my day is already well on its way to becoming
a success.

We settle on the inauspiciously named Titanic restaurant for some much needed
food and an even more urgent evacuation of the bladder.

While we are eating, Dead Can Dance drummer Dan Gresson enters the restaurant
with his wife/girlfriend and takes a seat at a nearby table for dinner.

A few minutes later, I spot Jules Maxwell through the window, apparently also
deliberating whether to eat in this establishment. He and his wife/girlfriend
decide against it, however, and head elsewhere.

If this keeps up, Brendan may soon appear in the doorway. That could prove
interesting. No further band members materialise, however.

We finish dinner and meet up with Saskia and a friend of hers from Paris. I've
got their tickets, so we trade cash for concert currency and then make our way
into the venue.

Thankfully, the Cirque Royal is managing the arriving punters much more
efficiently than did Le Grand Rex in Paris, enabling us to take our seats well
in advance of the support act this evening.

The seats are wider than Le Grand Rex's, but beyond uncomfortable to sit on.
Before the evening is out, my arse bone will feel as if it is trying to drill
its way out of my buttock in protest at its inhumane treatment.

On a more positive note, though my seat may not be comfortable, it is located
in the middle of the ninth row, an absolutely ideal position from which to
listen and record, forming an equilateral triangle with the left and right PA
stacks. I have high hopes for the sound this evening and my capture of it.

David Kuckhermann takes to the stage around 20:00, but there's a significant
difference from the previous two performances I've witnessed. Tonight, he's
joined by Siberian multi-instrumentalist, Vladiswar Nadishana.

The set they play is a mixture of pieces that David has been playing on this
tour, enhanced now by Nadishana's contributions, a solo piece by Nadishana on
the Jew's harp, and perhaps a composition not aired the first two times I saw

It's a brilliant set and I record it for posterity. The production line here,
however, is currently running at full capacity just to stay on top of the
recordings of Dead Can Dance, so it's going to be a few days yet before I can
catch up and prepare the Kuckhermann sets from Utrecht and Brussels for

The lights go down at 21:00 for Dead Can Dance. The band are greeted by
rapturous applause which fades into the opening strains of 'Children Of The

The sound is, indeed, fantastic this evening. It's mixed to perfection every
evening, to be honest, but tonight we really are seated in a superb location
and experience the whole concert with optimal sound.

Musically, the band are tighter yet than in Paris. Apart from an obvious
mistake in 'Amnesia', the two hour performance is flawless to my ears.

The audience, too, are incredibly respectful this evening. For example,
there's very little of that annoying phenomenon of cheering over the start of
a song in recognition of what is being played.

The band seem completely at ease. In fact, everything about this occasion is
relaxed. It was very easy to get here, very easy to park, dinner was
unhurried, taking our seats was without fuss, and now the band seem completely
calm and relaxed.

I keeping meaning to mention, but keep forgetting, how much I love David
Kuckhermann's frame drum introduction to 'Opium'. Those finger rolls he does
over the canvas satisfy the senses much like a cold drink quenching one's

I must also mention Astrid Williamson, who is not only a delight to behold as
her fingers stroke and glide over the keys as if performing some carefully
choreographed routine, but adds a significant new dimension with her backing
vocals. Providing a background layer to Brendan's deep croon is one thing, but
she also succeeds in augmenting Lisa's unique vocals. No mean feat.

There's a rich bass sound in the house tonight, too. In particular, the
numbers on which Richard Yale plays bass guitar come booming through, but
never overpower. On the contrary, it's a very pleasing enrichment of the
sound, a case of not knowing what one has been missing until it is suddenly
and emphatically pointed out.

Set highlights are, of course, 'Sanvean', 'The Host Of Seraphim' and 'Dreams
Made Flesh', which all go down a storm here, as at every other venue on this

On Brendan's side, I would have to say that his cover of 'Song To The Siren'
trumps all others sung by him this evening. It might not be his own
composition, but the song could have been written for him. Though it may count
as blasphemy in some quarters, for my money, Brendan's rendition reduces
Buckley's own to the status of 'good effort', equalling and perhaps surpassing
even Liz Fraser's definitive reading.

Of the songs on the new album, 'Anastasis', the most impressive are those sung
by Brendan. 'Opium' is probably the album's highlight, but it's the final
track, 'All In Good Time', where Brendan's passion comes afire and his most
emotive vocal performance is delivered. Every live rendition of that song is
sung as if it's the first time.

Three encores are the standard for these shows, but tonight, both band and
audience earn each and every one of them and there is no sense of their being
mere performance cliché.

The deep, rich bass I spoke of is nowhere more in evidence than on 'The
Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove', whose thundering undercurrent powers the song like
a nuclear reactor and perhaps elevates it this evening to the status of
definitive rendition. Truly, it has never sounded better.

The whole recording of the Brussels concert is sublime and it is, perhaps, the
best of the four I have so far made of this tour. Its full bass sound and
near-flawless performance set it apart from the others. Take your pick,
though. It's very hard to choose favourites, as all four recordings sound
excellent to my ears.


01. [07:56] Children Of The Sun
02. [06:52] Anabasis
03. [06:15] Rakim
04. [08:40] Kiko
05. [00:46] [banter]
06. [04:59] Lamma Bada
07. [06:27] Agape
08. [06:43] Amnesia
09. [05:18] Sanvean
10. [04:49] Nierika
11. [05:47] Opium
12. [06:38] The Host Of Seraphim
13. [04:44] Ime Prezakias
14. [05:07] Now We Are Free
15. [06:56] All In Good Time
16. [02:39] [encore break]
17. [05:45] The Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove
18. [04:11] Dreams Made Flesh
19. [03:00] [encore break]
20. [04:32] Song To The Siren
21. [07:26] Return Of The She-King
22. [01:40] [encore break]
23. [04:26] Rising Of The Moon

Total running time: 121:35

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