Live In Atlanta - DVD

Seventh Key

Well, this DVD release proved to be a very good companion yesterday night. Picking up […]
By Grigoris Chronis
March 12, 2006
Seventh Key - Live In Atlanta album cover

Well, this DVD release proved to be a very good companion yesterday night. Picking up my pieces from a local tavern, I needed something genuinely reliable to roll the night indoors with. Seventh Key was the right choice, simply based on the presence of a Kansas man and the Frontiers logo. Sincerely, the collaboration of these two factors relieved my 'boozed' head (again).
I had the chance to see Kansas perform live in Athens, Greece last summer. I love all of the bands' works, not only the 'prog' ones. Thus, I consider 80's 'hits' like e.g. "Fight Fire With Fire to be beloved tunes in my Kansas collection. I especially applaused bassist Billy Greers' performance that night, since his onstage 'behaviour' did something to me. I also remember this wonderful Streets debut album back in 1982, Greer's band with Kansas mainman Steve Walsh and Mike Slamer. Well, Walsh returned to home-is-where-the-heart-is and Greer was capable (and lucky) enough to also be offered the bass 'position'. Every picture tells a story; Greer has his own exciting one (check his personal website) and, even if Seventh Key (as Greer's side project) breathes life for no more than 5 years, the Live In Atlanta DVD is the living proof of how well music's simplicity can dominate at times.
Seventh Key have released two albums so far - 2000's self-titled debut plus the sophomore The Raging Fire in 2004. The band has continuously rejected offers for playing live, thus the concert presented (as the main 'dish') was the first one for them; I think it's already been released as a CD album some months ago (don't ask me why there was no compact CD/DVD release, dunno...). Anyway, don't be surprised by the petite number of 'fans', since this show applied 'strictly' to family members, close friends and invitation-only people. Greer enlists his long-time friend Mike Slamer and Terry Brock (ex-Strangeways vocalist) on guitars and backing vocals, while drummer Pat McDonald and keyboardist David Manion complete the lineup.
Well, this excellent American AOR/Hard/'Southern' Rock music of Seventh Key surely is for a proper audience, and that's the only 'drawback' of this release, since you can't have a concert without a crowd interacting, that's all I can say for the moment. Apart from this fact, Seventh Key play a dozen of songs from their two albums, plus the Streets classic Cold Hearted Woman - penned by Greer's longtime associate Marty Conn (R.I.P.), to whom they dedicated it. Catchy tunes, with 'floating' passion, is all I can say for the band's songs. Someone should expect something mature from this guys, and here it is. It Should Have Been You is a slow tempo killer with wonderful vocal lines, plus Sin City proves to be a real hard rockin' cut and An Ocean Away depicts 100% on the prime-of-life for such artists.
Greer's voice strongly reminds me of Steve Walsh (a coincidence, you would say?) while all musicians are razor-sharp performers with an overflowing mood for a good evening. It should also be mentioned that both Kansas violin player Robby Steinhardt and brother Johnny Greer joined on an acoustic version of the song Forsaken, which was on the first Seventh Key CD. Now, as regards the rest of the DVD features, three videos are listed. All of them are rather low budget 'shots', still I really enjoyed e.g. Love Train, a Blackfoot-meets-Molly Hatchett clip with some beautiful female 'additions' for enhancement. Not to forget, there's some interview stuff also with Mike Slamer, Terry Brock and Billy Greer, while a good slide show and behind the scenes footage wraps up the disc's menu.
What kinda stuff does a man need at certain times? Well, Seventh Key - like it or not - can keep good company and, as long as you don't judge this release unfair, it's true that they offer a good deal of American hard rockin' AOR music. I remember some of Kansas, Survivor, Damn Yankees and Y&T letting the good times roll. Why not these pals? Loosen up and enjoy!

7 / 10


"Live In Atlanta - DVD" Track-listing:

The Sun Will Rise
An Ocean Away
It Should Have Been You
Sin City
Always from the Heart
You Cross the Line
The Kid Could Play
Only the Brave
When Love is Dying
Winds of War
Cold Hearted Woman
Concert Encore: Tribute To Marty Conn

Music Videos:
The Sun Will Rise
Love Train
An Ocean Away

Bonus Features:
Interviews with Mike Slamer, Terry Brock and Billy Greer
Behind-the-scenes footage
Making Of An Ocean Away Video
Slide Show

Seventh Key Lineup:

Billy Greer - Lead Vocals & Bass
Mike Slamer - Guitar & Background Vocals
Terry Brock - Guitars & Background Vocals
Pat McDonald - Drums
David Manion - Keyboards

Guest Musicians:
Robby Steinhardt - Violin & Background Vocals
Johnny Greer - Mantolin & Background Vocals

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