Renaissance Celebrates Fifty Years

November 1st, 2019 by The Professor


Annie Haslam captures a moment of magic for posterity

by Radio RockonTour host Timothy Tilghman

Renaissance is experiencing its own renaissance. The storied band has reached a milestone of five decades as a recording and touring unit. Joining Renaissance on stage as a guest musician was Jim McCarty original founding member and longstanding drummer with The Yardbirds. The Saturday, October 12, 2019 concert was recorded as a live performance presentation on BluRay, DVD and CD to be released next year.

Renaissance in 2019 are Annie Haslam on vocals, musical director Rave Tesar on keyboards, Mark Lambert on guitar, Geoffrey Langley also on keyboards, Frank Pagano on drums, and Leo Traversa on bass. Renaissance was accompanied on stage by the Renaissance Chamber Orchestra, ten musicians handpicked by the band for their individual musicianship.

The extended entourage of musicians clearly respect the musical legacy of Renaissance and the proficiency confirmed in this performance will persist for posterity. Haslam’s vocal range was exhibited in the material selected and revealed she enjoys sharing her musical gift. Individually, each musician had a moment to demonstrate the command of their instrument on stage.

The majesty of Renaissance was embellished by the RCO joining them on stage. As a progressive rock ensemble, Renaissance has cultivated a loyal audience throughout its extensive career. Complex musical themes segued from a cornucopia of sounds and instruments like an auditory patchwork of melodies and lyrics.

Haslam was relaxed and interactive with her capacity audience. This came in handy when two technological glitches arose during the live recording process. When the ensemble returned from intermission, the band had to perform “Running Hard” a second time. Then later, a keyboardist had to stop and begin “Day Of The Dreamer” a second time.

Have no fear, after editing when the final product is released in Spring 2020, Renaissance will appear flawlessly post production. Renaissance had reached out to its fanbase with a crowd funding campaign proposal to record this appearance at the Keswick Theatre in Glenside, PA. Renaissance fans responded and contributed to this wonderful evening captured for enduring enjoyment as Renaissance celebrated its Fiftieth Anniversary as a symphonic rock group.

With thirteen studio albums to their credit, the membership in Renaissance, like all groups who have succeeded upon reaching their fiftieth anniversary, have undergone personnel changes. Haslam’s artwork was showcased throughout the performance as images projected above the band onto the stage backdrop which helped to complement the mood of musical suites.

Renaissance was originally formed by drummer Jim McCarty and guitarist Keith Relf who had departed The Yardbirds in 1968. In Spring 1969, they formed Renaissance along with vocalist Jane Relf, bassist Louis Cennamo and John Hawken on keyboards. Haslam sang “Island” at her audition to join the band and warmly welcomed McCarty at Glenside to perform this song on stage.

Bonnie Dubrow 56 from Mooristown, NJ, attended this fine performance. Her older sister had turned her onto Renaissance when she was a teenager in the late 1970s. This was her third time seeing Renaissance in concert. Dubrow commented, “Her voice and just the beauty of the music; it just touches you. How is it possible to sing amazing and the caliber of the musicians she has with her?”

Philadelphia 10/12/19 setlist: Carpet Of The Sun * Ocean Gypsy * Running Hard * Midas Man * Island * intermission * Running Hard * Opening Out * Day Of The Dreamer * The Mystic And The Muse * A Song For All Seasons * Encore: Ashes Are Burning




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