SAGA (Live)

at Rockefeller Music Hall, Oslo, Norway, November 8, 2004

Saga has been a productive unit the last few years, and they hit the nail right on the head with Network earlier this fall.

Michael Sadler, the Crichton-brothers, and mastermind Jim Gilmour are joined by a new drummer for this album and tour. Christian Simpson has replaced Steve Negus, or probably most important: live drums have replaced digital drums.

This has had a great impact on both the new album and their live set, and it was a pure pleasure to witness Saga with a real drumkit on stage. They seemed very inspired, running through an impressive amount of songs from their late 70s/early 80s heyday.

“On The Air” and the heavy “Keep It Real” from the new album opened the show. Then it was over and out for Network. Both “Careful Where You Step” and “Runaway” were great numbers before the crowd got the mighty World’s Apart album in full. And what a treat it was, with classics like “On The Loose,” “Wind Him Up,” and “No Regrets.”

Jim Gilmour got his own spot after the audience-pleasing World’s Apart set in full. “Scratchin’ The Surface” was, as always, brilliant, and Michael Sadler joined him on two Network numbers, including the great “If I Were You” in a superb stripped-down version.

Saga was definitely in a great shape when they played in Oslo this Monday. Not too many attended, but Michael Sadler impressed everybody with his ever so fantastic voice. Ian Gilmour’s guitar work was solid, and Christian Simpson’s drumming was particularly great.

After playing all the classic gems, including “You’re Not Alone,” “Don’t Be Late,” “The Flyer,” and an awesome sing-along version of “Humble Stance,” no one in the audience could have been disappointed. The two-hour show may have been Saga’s strongest performance in Oslo since the arena days, and that’s quite impressive — 26 years since their recording debut.


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