I was lucky enough to be in attendance at ProgPower USA XV, when SEVENTH WONDER played their classic album Mercy Falls in its entirety for a sold out crowd. This is one of my favorite albums, and hearing it played live was an amazing experience that I will never forget. The cameras were rolling that night, and after a long two year wait, they are finally releasing this show as the Welcome To Atlanta – Live 2014 2CD/2DVD set (out September 23rd on Frontiers Music).
If you haven’t visited Mercy Falls before, I suggest that you start with a listen to the original recording – the story is a beautifully crafted narrative of a man who lies in a coma and envisions himself in the town of Mercy Falls (which he has created in his subconscious), while his family grieves and struggles with the situation in the outside world. It’s one of the more emotional and involving concept albums that I’ve ever listened to, and it maintains a regular spot in my listening rotation.
The live performance is sonically gorgeous – the band spent a lot of time practicing to make everything right, and the end result is a great-sounding album. The audio recordings sound awesome and true to the original work, yet with enough variation and adaptation to make the experience fresh and new. The video work is raw and mostly unpolished, in a good way – there aren’t many set pieces or choreography, so the feeling of being AT the show really comes through. The stage lighting is simple and doesn’t distract, and for the most part, the band ignores the camera, with the exception of the once or twice that Tommy Karevik (vocals) looks into the pit camera and points.
One of the personal highlights of this show was on the song “Tears For A Father” – when Tommy stopped singing, the collective voice of the crowd filled the space, singing along in one voice in one of the most beautiful moments I’ve ever been a part of. The setting for “One Last Goodbye”, with Heather Musgrave portraying the Wife onstage, sitting and mournfully pulling the petals from a rose one by one as the Man slowly slips from this world, is so touching and well done that it makes my eyes well up with tears every time I watch it.
Overall, this is an excellent release, and not just because of the main show. The second DVD includes the Saturday morning VIP/Gold Badge show, which had a selection of some of the best songs from SEVENTH WONDER’S previous albums, including “Alley Cat” and “King of Whitewater”. There are also two CDs, which contain the two live performances and complete an excellent package.
This is an outstanding DVD release, whether you experienced it live and are ready to return to Mercy Falls to relive it, or if you enjoyed the album and want to participate in the great moments that were captured. I can’t recommend it highly enough.