|Photo by Esa Ahola|
As previously discussed on this site, longtime Renaissance singer Annie Haslam is a true survivor. Despite a recent half-decade of considerable setbacks (including the 2012 passing of guitarist Michael Dunford and ongoing personal health issues), Haslam remains determined to keep the group going after resurrecting the Renaissance name for a 40th Anniversary tour in 2009. As already evident of this year's extraordinary Symphony of Light album and made abundantly clear at the group's sterling October 30 performance at The Center for Arts in Natick, Haslam's talents and strengths are unshakable.
With past Renaissance keyboardist Tom Brislin (Yes/Meat Loaf) sitting in for current member Jason Hart, the band delivered an effortless overview of Renaissance’s best work, ranging from classics like “Mother Russia” and “Ashes Are Burning” to material from Symphony of Light. As strong as Haslam's unmistakable five-octave range was throughout the evening, her finest moments came when taking on new songs like “Symphony of Light,” “Waterfall” and “Grandine il Vento.” With good-natured between-song banter and onstage smiles throughout the evening, it was obvious that the current incarnation of Renaissance enjoys delivering this music to live audiences. Although Renaissance may not be a household name in the states, the members of their loyal following who gathered in Natick to take in the band's rich sounds were treated to an unforgettable experience.
Very few artists strive to top themselves after nearly 40 years in the business. In Annie Haslam, we see – and hear – an artist producing and performing her strongest work in the present tense.
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