In 2017 SAGA celebrated their 40th anniversary. No I’m not talking about the organisation for elderly people, I’m talking about the Canadian rock band of the same name. On reaching this landmark anniversary, they set off on a farewell tour which came to an end in early 2018 and the band came to an end. One of the shows on the farewell tour was at Germany’s Rock of ages festival, and that was recorded and is now being released as a live album.
SAGA may not be well known in the UK, but have long been popular in Germany, so it makes sense that they chose a German festival to record and release as their final live album.
I have to be honest and say I’ve not listened to Saga before, and I’m not quite sure how I’ve overlooked them as listening to this album they’re a band that definitely appeals to me. I think it highlights the problem bands face in the modern world – the internet makes it easy for a band to reach a global audience, which sounds great, except because it’s easy then there are tens of thousands of bands all vying for our attention, and there lies the problem – it’s far too easy for great bands to be overlooked among the sea of bands trying to get our attention. I think that’s what has happened with Saga – while they have a solid fanbase in Germany, outside there (even in their home country of Canada), they’ve struggled to get the attention they deserve. It’s a real shame as this is a great live album and definitely suggests the studio albums will be well worth checking out.
The sound quality is excellent as is the mix with the more delicate keyboard sound never getting drowned out by the guitars, and everything is crystal clear. You get an idea of how important Germany was to the band by the fact that the between song bits where they talk to the crowd is all done in German – which is unusual for foreign bands.
It’s a great live album. Ok I’d have skipped the drum solo myself as they rarely work on a live album – they’re ok at the gig when you can watch them doing it, but on an album it just doesn’t really appeal. Other than that it’s hard to find fault with the album – it’s just a great album of a band doing what they love and doing it extremely well. Well worth a listen.
“So good so far – Live at Rock of Ages” will be released on 28th September 2018 on earMUSIC.
1. Take a chance
2. On the loose
3. Help me out
4. Keep it reel
5. Time’s up
6. Will it be you? (chapter four)
7. Careful where you step
8. Frog bite (drum solo)
9. What’s it gonna be