Renaissance – Capitol Theatre, Passaic, NJ (1978)

FrontCover1Renaissance are an English progressive rock band, best known for their 1978 UK top 10 hit “Northern Lights” and progressive rock classics like “Carpet of the Sun”, “Mother Russia”, and “Ashes Are Burning”. They developed a unique sound, combining a female lead vocal with a fusion of classical, folk, rock, and jazz influences. Characteristic elements of the Renaissance sound are Annie Haslam’s wide vocal range, prominent piano accompaniment, orchestral arrangements, vocal harmonies, acoustic guitar, bass guitar, synthesiser, and versatile drum work. The band created a significant following in the northeast United States in the 1970s, and that region remains their strongest fan base.

The original line-up included two former members of the Yardbirds, Keith Relf and Jim McCarty, along with John Hawken, Louis Cennamo and Relf’s sister Jane Relf. They intended to put “something together with more of a classical influence”.

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Renaissance was born, and the band released a studio album in 1969, and another in 1971. Subsequently, John Tout replaced Hawken on keyboards, followed by a period of high turnover of musicians until the “classic line-up” of Annie Haslam, John Tout, Michael Dunford, Jon Camp, and Terry Sullivan was established, although none of them were in the original band. They were assisted with lyrics on many songs from Cornish poet Betty Thatcher-Newsinger. From 1972 to 1979 Renaissance released seven successful studio albums, toured extensively, and sold out three nights in a row at Carnegie Hall with Tony Cox conducting the New York Philharmonic.

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The 1980s were a lean time for them, with personnel changes, and two relatively unsuccessful studio albums, leading to disbandment in 1987. Two different offshoots of Renaissance existed at the same time at one stage in the mid-1990s. The band re-formed in 1998 to record Tuscany, which was eventually released in 2001; however, they disbanded again the next year.

2009 heralded a new line-up for Renaissance, led by Haslam and Dunford, and since then the band has continued to record and tour. Dunford died in November 2012. Later, Haslam stated that the band would continue touring. The current line-up is not as English as the band’s early period, with five U.S.-born members and one English-born member who lives in the United States. In 2013, Renaissance released the studio album Grandine il Vento, re-released the following year under the title Symphony of Light. (wikipedia)

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This is one of the best boots from this amazing band. Features some rare recordings from some later albums plus the normal stuff.

I remember hearing this on WNEW-FM; this was a very hot day and I recall Annie speaking about how hot it is several times throughout the show. An interesting point about this concert, this is quite a rarity because (as far as I know) this is the only recorded performance that I know of where we have Terrence Sullivan’s excellent drumming/ percussion skills on display instead of the customary John Camp’s bass solo. Also, this is probably the longest gig Renaissance did (in 1970s at least). And Annie’s voice was just out of this world on that sticky night. (Henry Urbach)

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Personnel:
Jon Camp (bass, vocals)
Michael Dunford (guitar, background vocals)
Annie Haslam (vocals)
John Tout (piano, synthesizer, background vocals)
Terry Sullivan (drums, percussion, background vcoals)

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Tracklist:
01. Can You Hear Me? (Camp/Dunford/Thatcher) 15.52
02. Carpet Of The Sun (Dunford/Thatcher) 4.03
03. Things I Don’t Understand (Dunford/McCarty) 10.23
04. Northern Lights (Dunford/Thatcher) 5.06
05. Mother Russia (Dunford/Thatcher) 10.38
06. Day Of The Dreamer (Camp/Dunford) 11.31
07. Midas Man (Dunford/Thatcher) 5.26
08. The Vultures Fly High (Dunford/Thatcher) 3.36
09. Running Hard (Dunford/Thatcher) 10.35
10.  A Song For All Seasons (Camp/Dunford/Thatcher/Tout/Sullivan) 12.24
11. Prologue (Dunford) 9.40
12. Ashes Are Burning (Dunford/Thatcher) 22.30

Alternate frontcover:
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More from Renaissance:
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The official website:
Website

Michael Dunford

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