BIG BIG TRAIN

Supreme live set cap­tures last year’s high spot.

Prog - - The Musical Box - CR

Last au­tumn Big Big Train played three shows at Lon­don’s Cado­gan Hall, where those of us present wit­nessed to­day’s most ma­jes­tic prog ensemble hit­ting their finest stride. As their moun­tain­ous set came out of the sky, of­fer­ing melody, post-rock, folk, the­atri­cal­ity and above all emo­tion, ev­ery­body in the house silently mused, “I very much hope this comes out on record next year.” Lo and be­hold, here it is, on a triple-vinyl boxed set or a two-CD di­gi­book. It’s a doc­u­ment of an un­qual­i­fied tri­umph. With 13 peo­ple on­stage (when the brass quin­tet are in­volved), in­clud­ing gui­tar guile from Rikard Sjöblom and Dave Gre­gory, Rachel Hall’s vi­o­lin made of heart­strings, Nick D’Vir­gilio’s deft drum­ming and David Long­don’s stoic yet be­seech­ing voice, BBT are al­most lu­di­crously am­bi­tious yet reach their goals with grace to spare. If forced to trace their her­itage to one of prog’s big six you’d have to plump for Gen­e­sis, but they bring their own beauty and bravado to that el­e­gant, English sense of nos­tal­gia. The show­stop­pers are The Tran­sit Of Venus, Victorian Brick­work and the eu­phoric cen­tre­piece East Coast Racer, but this sub­lime show goes on­wards and up­wards. Glo­ri­ous.

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