We all know who Alan Parsons is and that his contribution to the world of progressive rock has and continues to be simply phenomenal; if you are unaware of him there where exactly have you been living? He has come a long way since being the engineer for Pink Floyd on DSOTM and this alone would have afforded him a place in rock history even if he had simply been content to rest on his laurels, but he used it as a springboard and launched a highly successful career in prog and one that continues to flourish today. As we all know, our Alan loves a project or concept and few are his equal when it comes to producing magnificent epics, and whether it is bonkers concept or a work of genius then he always carries everything off with aplomb whilst bringing delight to his hoards of fans. I guess Alan Parsons is not considered very cool but I also imagine he cares not one jot as he continues his quest to bring us tales of mystery and imagination (see what I did there?) that always thrill and delight in equal measure.
It appears that The Alan Parson Project is no more and we now have Alan Parsons the solo artist, but he continues to work with some of his long standing colleagues, so whether it is Parsons or the Project it doesn’t really matter as we just know that we will continue to receive perfectly written, superbly delivered and impeccably produced soft rock that incorporates gentle progressive rock with a hallmark of class and quality stamped straight through the middle of the music. The output of Parsons over the last 20-years or so has hardly been prolific but he has still delivered some wonderful albums including The Secret and Try Anything Once and these are still as welcome as his older material.
The NeverEnding Show was recorded on May 5, 2019 at the Tivoli in Utrecht, Netherlands and sees Alan and his quality band delivering a blistering set that was fully appreciated by those in the audience lucky enough to get a ticket. Parsons contributes lead and backing vocals, acoustic guitar and keyboards with fantastic support from some well known names with P.J. Olsson being his usual imperious self on lead vocals, acoustic guitar and percussion with Todd Cooper on vocals, sax, recorder, acoustic guitar and percussion and some most impressive guitars and vocals from Jeff Kollman and Dan Tracey. The line-up continues with Tom Brooks on keyboards and vocals, Guy Erez on bass and vocals and Danny Thompson on drums and vocals. Remarkably, every musician sings but this being Alan Parsons then there is always a place for another singer and Jordan Asher Huffman also provides guest vocals. The standard of musicianship is off the scale which is what you would expect from the band and the multiple singers gives the music a much more diverse sound and the scope for vocal harmonies is incredible.
It is quite incredible to think that Parson didn’t play live for many years but he seems to be making up for lost time and we now have a couple of live albums that showcase just what a songwriter he is and how tight and with it are his band. The set list features many of the expected tracks that have also appeared on the earlier live albums and that is exactly what the fans want to hear but then half of the set selection remains fluid as the band delight in bringing selected tracks from the back catalogue to our attention. The NeverEnding Show also features three tracks from 2019’s The Secret, his first studio album for 15-years, which are well received but the audience is here for the earlier material and, as usual, tracks like Eye In The Sky and Prime Time bring the roof down and show how highly Parsons and team are regarded.
As is now usual, the music is available in multiple releases and can be bought as 2CD+DVD, Blu-ray, 3LP and digital download so all bases are covered and there is a version specifically designed just for you. Take a look at the set list below and you will see that all was designed to showcase the 45-year career of a remarkable musician and a British national treasure. The video picture is wonderfully clear with multiple camera angles and the sound is exceptional. Parsons and the band make well use of the large stage set up for them in the Tivoli and this allows them to put on a spectacular show for the large and most enthusiastic audience. There is an added bonus in that the final track is a newly recorded song, The Never Ending Show, which is a perfect Parsons soft rock ballad and is a sneak preview of the next studio album which is due sometime in 2022. This song appears on the DVD as a bonus so it does not interfere with the flow of the concert and based on this one track then I can confidently predict that the new album is going to be a peach.
The 2CD+DVD package is beautifully put together and is both audio and visually perfect which makes this another prime example of Alan Parsons and his band at their best.
The NeverEnding Show – Live In The Netherlands
- One Note Symphony (4:49)
- Damned If I Do (4:47)
- Don’t Answer Me (4:28)
- Time (5:51)
- Breakdown + The Raven (Medley) (5:44)
- I Wouldn’t Want To Be Like You (5:06)
- Psychobabble (6:22)
- Luciferama (5:07)
- Don’t Let It Show (4:44)
- I Robot (5:48)
- Limelight (5:05)
- Standing On Higher Ground (4:48)
- As Lights Fall (4:09)
- I Can’t Get There From Here (4:48)
- Prime Time (10:18)
- Sirius + Eye In The Sky (Medley) (6:47)
- Old And Wise (5:23)
- (The System Of) Dr. Tarr And Professor Fether (3:51)
- Games People Play (4:43)
- The Never Ending Show (New Studio Audio Track) Bonus Track (3:57)