Saga over a 28 year span have created what could be called the ultimate concept album, Chapters. Even though all 16 “chapters” weren’t played in order, it made fans such as myself were curious if they’d ever do them in order, whether as a remix type album or a live album. Well in 2005, InsideOut Music released Chapters Live. Now all Saga fans can hear the concept album from start to finish in consecutive order, especially those lucky enough to witness it in person.
Saga recorded the “chapters” in a random order on each album up until the Worlds Apart in 1981 then resumed the story on 1999’s Full Circle. To be honest I wasn’t sure what the story was really all about aside from something about Einstein. For those like me, the story is basically involves Einstein’s brain being transplanted into an alien body, which is the creature that graced many Saga albums. The songs deal with everyday issues seen through this alien. I’m sure there’s some deeper meaning to the lyrics but I feel that each listener should take home different things. It’s almost like explaining a movie in great detail to someone before they see it. It takes the fun out of the musical expedition the artist creates for us, the listener.
The thing I found interesting that the band put all these songs together in such a manner that probably was originally conceived. The good thing I hear on this live album which is different than most modern live recordings, is you hear the flaws as they were heard at the time of the recording. Too many artists today, especially within the prog world, goes back in and “touches up” flaws. Thus spoiling the “live” situation, well at least for me it does.
What I like about Saga is that they’ve always been a band that appealed to both the AOR and prog fans alike. They incorporate the best of both worlds. This is one of the very few “live” albums that will get repeat listens over the years to come. With that being said, I’d highly recommend this to long-time fans as well as those interested in hearing how the Saga machine sounds.
Reviewed by Ron Fuchs on February 28th, 2006