A while ago we had presented the live CD with the same title by Gamma Ray. As a matter of fact, this release came out also as a double CD/DVD but we get here is the pure visual aspect of “Skeletons & Majesties”. I have mixed emotions regarding this particular release and whether I should recommend it to someone. Despite the fact that the set-list is quite obscure –I actually embraced that band’s decision and I wrote it down in my review of the c.d.-, Gamma Ray is quite impressive on stage. After all, this is a well-known leverage of the German quartet. Personally, I reckon this line-up to be the most efficient that Hansen ever had in Ray’s almost 25-year career.
The performance of Hansen/Zimmermann/Richter/Schlachter (the latter plays although he’s got the flu and he is evidently affected by it) is unmistakable and flawless while Michael Kiske’s presence on three songs adds an extra quality to the overall release. These are the positive aspects of “Skeletons & Majesties”. Unfortunately there are a couple of negative points that should be noted here. First and foremost the venue itself! I cannot understand, for the love of God, why so many bands have chosen Z7 in Pratteln to record a live album. The place is small and miserable. Secondly, the Swiss people are by far some of the most “cold” fans in the world. I mean you have right in front of you Kai Hansen and Michael Kiske and you simply stand still while the band is playing “Future World”! What’s wrong with you, people?
My point of view is this: you should better buy the CD and leave aside the DVD. However, since this is a release aimed towards the die-hard fan, I think that this specific buying audience will buy both products.
Highlight: Let’s hope that the upcoming Gamma Ray studio album will find the band returning to the pre-Powerplant excellent form.