Heads Or Tales Live

Saga

Any album from the Canadian prog quintet Saga is always welcomed. In this case, a live album from 2010, during the brief time that Rob Moratti replaced lead vocalist Michael Sadler (who has since, reportedly, returned). Performing their 1983 Heads Or Tales album in its entirely, we get a pretty pitch-perfect and tight 10 songs with Moratti’s vocals soaring over all the stop-and-go that this band is known for.

Opening with his signature pull-off, guitarist Ian Crichton gets “The Flyer” flying after a march-like key introduction of the aptly named “Intro.” “Cat Walk” is about as heavy as Saga gets — it’s actually a little noisy, but Moratti’s great pipes smooth everything out. He has a definite easier enunciation than the biting word play of Sadler, an enigmatic frontman in his own right.

“Intermission” sees the band in high melodic form with Crichton seizing the occasion with his leads, blistering through pyrotechnic-like runs, which he does a little often. “The Vendetta (Still Helpless)” sees some nice piano work from main keyboardist Jim Gilmour. Bassist Jim Crichton plays keys as well as bass on this one as well. “Pitchman,” a song short on decent lyrics but long on spectacular playing, ends the album, once again showcasing those blistering fast keys and locked-in arpeggios the band is known for. Even without Sadler, Heads Or Tales Live is a hot rockin’ document of a band in temporary transition, but still very true to their roots.

~ Ralph Greco, Jr.

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