Concert Review: Nektar (50th Anniversary Tour) @ The Linda, 03/09/2023
Progressive space rock veterans Nektar made a triumphant return to The Linda Thursday night, almost a year to the day since they had last played at that venue.
It was night 2 of The Linda’s self-styled prog festival “Mardi Prog 2”, and kudos to the WAMC’s Performing Arts Studio for showcasing that much maligned but endlessly inventive and rewarding sub-genre of rock.
Nektar are the perfect prog ambassadors. Formed in Hamburg, Germany, in 1969 by 4 Brits. Astoundingly, two of the original members are still enthusiastically treading the boards – bassist and vocalist Derek “Mo” Moore and drummer and vocalist Ron Howden. Neither has lost a step, combining to drive the band with real power. Numerous lineup changes occurred over the years until the band’s home base relocated to the States in 2018. Since then, the personnel has remained constant; Moore and Howden, along with Randy Dembo – on guitar and bass, Kendall Scott on keyboards, lead singer and guitarist Ryche Chlanda, and backing vocalist MaryAnn Castello.
This was a much more confident and assured performance compared to that of a year ago. The sound mix was far superior, highlighting each musician’s contributions, in particular Scott’s fine organ and synthesizer work. Chlanda, too was much improved, handling the original frontman, the late Roye Albrighton’s lead vocal and lead guitar parts on the classic material adeptly and really shining on the selections from the newest album, 2020’s “The Other Side,” which features his own compositions.
Nektar signaled their intentions right from the start, opening with the majestic power chords and keyboard swathes of the epic side-long “A Tab in the Ocean,” and didn’t let up from there, surging through an impressive set including the complete “Remember the Future” album, celebrating its 50th anniversary, and maintaining that intensity through to the buoyant encore closer “Good Day.” For their diehard fans in attendance, it certainly was.
Opening act Epic Tantrum from Syracuse delivered a short but enjoyable set of punchy prog fusion, with some meaty, metallic riffs and impressive solos.
- A Tab in the Ocean
- Dream Nebula / Drifting
- Sky Writer
- A Day in the Life of a Preacher
- Devil’s Door
- Remember the Future part 1
- Remember the Future part 2
- Look Through Me
- Good day
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