There is something incredibly special about seeing one of your favourite bands perform one of their most important and captivating albums in its entirety. Witnessing perfection animating from the minds of five incredibly talented musicians performing for what seemed a fleeting burst of time.
Caligula’s Horse did just that in Melbourne (August 2018) for the first time playing their latest and most incredible album In Contact in its entirety. I was privileged to be at that show and see one of the best live performances I have ever seen. I have written about that previously and you can find the link here – https://heavymag.com.au/caligulas-horse-at-howler-melbourne/
Due to the incredible response from their In Contact Tour, the band must have gotten the grand idea to perform both their The Tide, The Thief & The River’s End and Bloom albums in their entirety for their devoted fans. And what a grand idea it was!
Over the course of the three shows in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne a special intimate acoustic support was chosen to open and for Melbourne, we witnessed Ben and Ted from prog rock/metal band Circles to warm us up. Aside from a few minor technical difficulties at the beginning, the pair played an obviously subdued repertoire from their catalogue but let it be said that being subdued in no way undermines the musicianship and artistic brilliance of Ben and Ted. Circles vocalist Ben Rechter has easily one of the greatest voices in this country and in an environment such as this, he seemed to be on another level, in another realm being able to articulate and cut through any amplification showing the crowd how truly beautifully captivating his voice is. Perfectly accompanied by Ted Furuhashi, this half of Circles was clearly a rare and special moment, an evening to share with them to have the honour of opening for C-Horse and I thank them greatly for gifting us the opportunity to witness them in this environment so open, raw and exposed.
So for the Caligula’s Horse double sets, I’m going to keep their performance of the evening brief and concise.
This band clearly without question sit at the upper echelons of as one of the best, world-renowned, revered and respected heavy progressive bands. This is undisputed courtesy of their album catalogue, touring supports and countless world tours.
Tonight was all about being in a perfect environment to hear two perfect albums thanks to one perfect Australian band. Of course from where we were standing, if there was a fault we heard none! All we heard was Josh, Dale, Adrian, Sam and Jim collectively known as Caligula’s Horse perform Bloom and …River’s End with such magnificent conviction their audience was transfixed and pulsating with each breath and note that emanated from the stage.
The joy and humility felt from Caligula’s having received the emotion that pulsated from their pedestal were as clear and heartfelt as their music.
Two clear and relevant observations that need to be stated is that main songwriter Sam Vallen had a grin on his face so wide that it was clear he was like a kid in a candy store performing for his audience. Vallen’s grins and smiles barely left his face the entire evening which made his performance a pleasure to watch plus ensuring his audience felt his purpose in music as art.
Now let’s admit it, Jim Grey has one of the most distinctive and best voices in not only this country but the world when it comes to heavy music period! Having seen Caligula’s Horse numerous times in the past two years tonight in Melbourne was without question one of his finest moments. Hearing him open Caligula’s night with the title track from Bloom, those of us present knew that we were in for something truly beautiful. So it continued throughout, “Marigold”, “Firelight”, “Dragonfly” continuing for the duration of the set, “Grey” held his enamoured audience in the palm of his hands… BUT, during set two of …River’s End for the last four songs “Old Cracks In New Earth”, “Dark Hair Down”, “Thief” and closing the evening “All Is Quiet By The Wall”, Jim just found another level of perfection in his vocal delivery and audience captivation.
Words can not describe what truely took place this evening.