The stage of the Toya Studios in Lodz, Poland is swathed in blue as Piotr Grudzinski’s guitar cuts the air like a knife. It sets the scene for Riverside one of the most impressive prog-rock bands currently on the European circuit.
They seize the opportunity and deliver a concert that helps underline their undoubted pedigree. Fortunately for us the night was filmed and has been released as a double DVD set, Reality Dream Live, now available on the ProgTeam Management label.
Warsaw based Riverside was formed in 2001 releasing their debut studio album Out Of Myself two years later. Second Life Syndrome followed in 2005, and Rapid Eye Movement appeared after a further two year gap. Since then we have also seen another studio album, the more urgent sounding Anno Domini High Definition, which was released in mid 2009.
This is, however, the first official DVD showing the band playing live. Shamelessly influenced by the likes of Pink Floyd, Dream Theatre, Opeth, Tool, and Porcupine Tree, Riverside deliver a set of their now trademark mix of atmospheric progressive rock along with the occasional foray into harder edged metal.
This type of performance has seen the bands reputation grow along with the size of venues. This development is on full view here as they launch into set opener “The Same River”.
The two hour concert, recorded in May 2008, consists of performances of the most important tracks from their studio albums up to that date. Attractively shot from various angles, which include many up close cameras, the DVD still manages to retain that ‘in house’ feel of an audience member.
With an impressive light show and characteristically artistic stage set, the band delivers a performance which more than underlines just why their reputation has grown to the extent that it has.
“Out Of Myself”, from their debut album ,“Volte-Face”, from Second Life Syndrome, lead nicely to “Rainbow Box”, and the excellent “02 Panic Room” from Rapid Eye Movement.
The dynamic “Reality Dream III” showcases the bands musicianship, whilst “I Turned You Down” eases it down with the always impressive vocals of bass player Mariusz Duda to the fore. Drummer Piotr Kozieradski, and keyboard man Michael Lapaj, who also adds backing vocals, both radiate quality throughout.
Some of the best, of course, is left to last and the dramatic pairing of “Dance With The Shadow” and the haunting “Parasomnia” demand attention. “Second Life Syndrome” receives instant recognition from the crowd before the band appropriately close with “The Curtain Falls” which winds down nicely with each member leaving the stage separately.
The second disc brings us the encore of “Before” and an epic “The Ultimate Trip.” Also included in this generous set are seven more live tracks recorded at various locations from Germany to Canada from 2006 through to 2008. These include “Lucid Dream IV”, “Reality Dream II”, and “I Believe.”
As if that wasn’t enough there is also a photo gallery and a fifteen minute bonus film by John Vis entitled Behind The Curtain. This captures the band relaxing in sound check as the stage is built around them.