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Lana Lane - Return To Japan CD (album) cover


Lana Lane


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3.08 | 5 ratings

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3 stars Project Shangri-Live

Lana Lane is probably more popular in Japan than anywhere else in the world. At least if one goes by the band's official live albums, all three to date of which to were recorded in Japan. But unlike their latest live release 10th Anniversary Concert DVD and CD, Return To Japan is a collection of live recordings from several of Lana Lane's Japanese tours, rather than one full live performance. This is one of the factors that make the 10th Anniversary Concert package far superior. But it is not the only factor. The sound quality here is less good as well. Another difference is that while the 10th Anniversary Concert relies on 100% Lana Lane material, Return To Japan brings in a few (snippets of) Erik Norlander solo numbers, Rocket Scientists numbers, and (though not on my version) covers of other people's songs.

The first disc opens with an instrumental introductory medley consisting of snippets of Dark Water (originally a Rocket Scientists piece), Fanfare For The Dragon Isle (originally from Norlander's solo album Into The Sunset), Garden Of The Moon, and In The Hall Of The Ocean Queen. What follows is a nice selection of songs from most of Lana Lane's studio albums up to that point, including one number from the first Ballad Collection album. The disc closes with a rendition of the Astrology Suit. Surprisingly, they throw in a snippet of Redemption part II in between the Astrology Prelude and Secrets Of Astrology! (This reminds me of how Queen performed Friends Will Be Friends in between We Will Rock You and We Are The Champions on their A Kind Of Magic Tour in 1986).

The nature of the second disc is rather different from the first. Disc 2 is dominated by ballads, acoustic renditions, and covers, recorded live during various special events and one-off performances. Prog fans will perhaps be interested in the covers of King Crimson's In The Court Of The Crimson King and Marillion's Seasons End, but my version (downloaded through iTunes) sadly lacks these tracks. (A studio version of Seasons End was, however, included on the 2CD special edition of Ballad Collection.) Overall, this second disc of Return To Japan is enjoyable and interesting for fans, but not really essential.

While Return To Japan is certainly not without value, it is not the best Lana Lane live release. My advice is to start with the aforementioned 10th Anniversary Concert DVD. Also, Erik Norlander's brilliant live DVD The Galactic Collective Live In Gettysburg as well as his superb live album Stars Rain Down (both featuring Lana on vocals), are both better places to begin.

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |


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