August 27, 2020

Fortune is an American melodic rock band that formed back in the late ’70s, and has had a career that is more off than on with several changes in musical direction and even more in line-up. Formed by the Fortune brothers, Mick on drums and Richard on guitar, they released their first self-titled album in 1978, but by 1982 it was virtually a different group and they released their second album in 1985 – which, confusingly, was also self-titled but a totally different record – and it only generated modest sales mainly due to appalling promotion from the record label. However, both albums are now retrospectively acknowledged as melodic rock classics and really should be more widely available. Their label then went into bankruptcy, which led to the demise of the band until being reformed as a trio by the Fortune brothers in 2006, and in 2016 they fully reformed for several festivals. It was on the back of these that they were picked up by Frontiers Music and this led to the release of the mighty fine Fortune II in 2019 with a line-up of Mick Fortune on drums, Richard Fortune on guitar, Larry Greene on vocals, Ricky Rat on bass and Mark Nilan on keyboards.

Despite the passing of the years and lack of activity, the band produced another melodic/AOR classic similar in style and scope to the like of Styx, Foreigner, Toto and Survivor. To celebrate the new album, the band travelled to Italy to play at the Frontiers Rock Festival on April 27 2019, which has now led to the release of this impressive CD/DVD set. The performance is relatively short at only 54 minutes, but the band powers imperiously through ten tracks of carefully selected and superior AOR with five tracks from the 1885 album and four from the new II album, and it is pleasing to see that the new material was received just as well as the older classics. The only non-album track is Through The Fire, a song by Larry Greene which featured in the Top Gun film and soundtrack – which is something neat to have on your CV. It is most probable that Fortune is a name known only to a few given their lack of activity, sporadic output and rather chequered history but they remain an essential and impressive stadium rock band and this live album really does show how good they are, and it is a great pity that the band does not have more recorded material in the locker.

However, it is quality rather than quantity that counts and in that the band scores very highly. The guitar work of Richard Fortune is soaring and at the root of everything that is good about the band, while in Larry Greene they have an outstanding vocalist with a perfect pitch and range and is everything that a melodic rock singer should aspire to be; being both emotional and strong enough yet sufficiently soul infused and refined to seamlessly blend between the rocking tracks and the powerful ballads. The interplay between the musicians is incredible, and they exude a vibe and an excitement that draws you into their music and keeps you transfixed throughout. No extras on the DVD, just the option of stereo or 5.1 mix for the sound, which I must say is exceptional. The stage is small and intimate and the video picture is great – but suffers from the usual issue with Frontiers videos in that the shots change every two or three seconds, which is far too much and quite disorienting. Multiple angle shots are fine in themselves but I wish that the Frontiers video producer would not keep changing the shots so frequently and let us really look at the band! Gripe aside, this is a great package of a band that should be huge – so please hurry up with the next studio album…

Track list: Thrill Of It All (4:54), Don’t Say You Love Me (5:03), Bad Blood (4:14), What A Fool I’ve Been (4:42), Through The Fire (5:06), Deep In The Heart Of The Night (5:15), The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter (5:42), Shelter Of The Night (5:00), Dearborn Station (4:59), Freedom Road (6:27)

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