On the fantastic new concert DVD "A Show Beyond Man And Time" German progressive rock giants RPWL bring their latest concept album to the stage in it's entirety in a multimedia event; complete with multi-screen front and rear projections, state-of-the-art lightening effects, and for the first time lead singer Yogi Lang dons an array of costume changes - ala Peter Gabriel era Genesis - to assume the various characters in the presentation.
I reviewed the album "Beyond Man And Time" in great detail here at ProgNaut on April 10, 2012, calling it a progressive rock masterpiece. In my opinion "Beyond Man And Time" is for RPWL what "Dark Side Of The Moon" was for Pink Floyd, "Close To The Edge" for YES, and "Selling England By The Pound" and "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway" was for Genesis. The complete review can be found in the ProgNaut CD Review Archive. This review of "A Show Beyond Man And Time" will focus solely on the DVD concert performance which was filmed at the Wyspianski Theater in Katowice, Poland on February 22, 2013. And marked the final performance of the tour.
The band had toured extensively through Germany and Europe, improving their already expansive sound with a quadraphonic sound system.
The original members of RPWL (from which the name is derived) Phil Paul Rissettio, Chris Postl, Karlheinz Wallner, and Yogi Lang has changed since the release of their first studio album "God Has Failed" (2000). Thankfully the name did not. Otherwise the current line-up on "A Show Beyond Man And Time" would be JTTWL to reflect the current personnel: Markus Jehle (keyboards), Werner Taus (bass), Marc Turiaux (drums) and mainstays Kalle Wallner (guitars) and Yogi Lang (vocals, keyboards).
Keeping within the framework of the storyline Yogi assumes the characters of the Keeper, the blind man, a scientist, a deformed hunchback, a black clad shadow figure, a prophet, The Creator, and a fisherman. Renown for his vocal prowess and possibly one of the most soothing voices in progressive rock, Yogi also displays quite a knack for acting. Whether emoting the spiritual aura of a holyman, the dangerous visage of a creeping shadow, the manic wide-eyed stare of the mad scientist, or the pathos of the ugliest man in the world - his characters are all quite compelling and pulled off with panache. He even had the chutzpah to perform a lengthy portion of one song backstage, leaving the audience to watch his performance on the main screen.
A large center stage screen projected picturesque landscapes and wild and wondrous images behind the band while two narrow vertical screens on either side of the stage are backlit to silhouette the guitar and bass player as they stand behind them. The screens can then magically flicker to life with projected images of choreographed dancers in free-flowing primitive garb or bizarre imagery as the musicians step from behind the screens to create a mesmerizing feast for the eyes. Everywhere you look there is something interesting going on. And topping it off you have Yogi Lang gliding across the stage decked-out in some theatrical costume. And in a humorous moment guitarist Kalle Wallner pauses to pull out a lighter, feigning to light the cigarette dangling from the mouth of his projected image playing guitar alongside him. The crowd loved it as his projected image soon bursts into flames.
At the conclusion of "Beyond Man And Time" the band closes out the evening with a special guest appearance from Ray Wilson (x-Genesis) and a spirited performance of the track "Roses" from the band's 2005 album "Through My Eyes".
With a running time of just over 115 minutes the performance as well as DVD production is absolutely flawless. The sound beautifully blended and mixed with the audio option of either 5.1 or 2.0 stereo, and a third audio option featuring commentary from band members Yogi Lang and Kalle Wallner.
Additional supplemental features include an interview with Lang and Wallner, alternative language version of "Transformed" the concert opening narration, photo gallery, desktop images, and discography.
"A Show Beyond Man And Time" is an absolute must-have for RPWL fans or a perfect introduction to the band for newcomers.
Reviewed by Joseph Shingler on January 11th, 2014