Mystery - Live In Poznań,
Just two years on from the release of their previous live album, ‘Second Home’, Mystery present us with another. It contains the same line-up, but only six of the fifteen songs on offer are on both albums. It was recorded on April 7th 2019 at Blue Note Jazz club in Poznań, Poland, during the first leg of the Live and Butterflies tour promoting their latest album ‘Lies and Butterflies’. Guitarist, founder and main songwriter Michel St-Père and I have been friends for well in excess of 20 years, and I have followed the career of Mystery with great interest as they have had more than just a few issues with line-up over the years, but Michel has been constant and they continue to grow and develop. It was always going to be hard to replace the guy who was also in Yes for the best album they released in many years (‘Fly From Here’),Benoît David, but in Jean Pageau they managed to do just that and by the time of this recording he was an established member of the band and full of confidence. Listen to the lush a capella vocals during “Delusion Rain”, which is the opening track, to see that demonstrated, as this is a brave thing to undertake in any live performance, let alone in the opening number.
Even before putting this into the player one knows it is something special, as the artwork from Tomek Zaczeniuk is majestic and also demands we ask questions about the back story. The same is true of the music, which demands we pay attention and listen to every element of what is going on. They combine together to create a majestic whole, but every musician is producing moments of excellence and finesse throughout. Michel St-Père and Sylvain Moineau have a strong understanding of each other, with lush harmonies and interaction. Antoine Michaud provides the perfect support whether it is piano or waves of synth, rarely taking centre stage. Then of course there is bassist François Fournier who continues to pin it down, which is just as well as drummer Jean-Sébastien Goyette can never be relied upon to keep a simple snare and hi hat rhythm as he needs to add his touch to everything which is going on. He does not over play but is a key part of the overall Mystery sound. Then of course at the front is Pageau, full of enthusiasm and confidence, and together the quintet produces some of the most majestic prog around.
They have come an exceptionally long way indeed since the first two albums back in the Nineties, and they keep growing as a unit with wonderful songs and performances. The Canadians have done good and let us hope it’s not long until the next studio album. 10/10