BIG BIG TRAIN
Supreme live set captures last year’s high spot.
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.