Journey To The Other Side: Live At The Dunellen Theatre June 10, 2023 by Nektar

Release date: May 10, 2024
Label: Deko Entertainment

This 2-CD / 1-Blu-Ray set consists of Nektar’s sold out performance at New Jersey’s Dunellen Theatre on June 10th, 2023. It was originally a movie theatre that was built in 1920 and opened in May of 1922 which contained vaudeville acts and motion pictures. It went through various changes in 1932 for a brief time as “Dunellen’s Cameo Theatre” before it became the Dunellen Theatre.

Last year marked not only the 50th anniversary of Nektar’s magnum opus Remember The Future, but it was also the last time drummer Ron Howden performed with the band before his passing on September 29th, 2023. Both Ron and bassist Derek “Mo” Moore lead up the performance with keyboardist Kendall Scott, guitarists Randy Dembo and Ryche Chlanda, and visual environmentalist Mick Brockett.

Not only they performed tracks from Journey to the Centre of the Eye, Sounds Like This, A Tab in the Ocean, Recycled, Down To Earth, but songs from their latest album that came out four years ago on the Esoteric Antenna label, The Other Side. The music still holds up years later with its futuristic beauty.

There are some incredible moments between the symphonic strings rising from the keyboards that Scott creates with ‘The Light Beyond’ to the McCartney-sque roar on ‘Skywriter’ they still got it in their blood to capture their legacy in New Jersey by proving themselves how much Nektar were way ahead of their time.

 

The live version of ‘I’m on Fire’ beats out the studio version which has them galloping into unknown worlds, carrying the torch of fellow Italian prog maestros Premiata Forneria Marconi while Chlanda goes into a killer improvisation on ‘A Day in a Life of a Preacher’ to show his intensive fretboard exercise. You can feel the spirit of Roye Albrighton in Ryche’s vocal work. Yes, it’s different, yes, it’ll never be the same without Roye’s vision, but Ryche knocks it out of the park.

There’s a soulful texture in his voice which speaks of Darryl Hall, but once Scott goes into his Organ-driven motorcycle ride, it becomes a free-for-all between those two before setting up the drive to light-speed, paying nod to The Doors’ ‘Waiting for the Sun’ from their 1970 album Morrison Hotel.

Then, they head into the darker worlds on ‘Dream Nebula’, followed by the high-praising bow of the ‘Fidgety Queen’, and coming back to Earth with some Shaft-like funk and progressive wonders on the two-parter suite that got audiences cheering for ‘Remember the Future’ and closing up the performance with the Jazzy-like waltz turned gospel approach good-bye on ‘Good Day’.

Nektar’s performance at the Dunellen gives the band a chance to let Howden spread his wings and soar off into the heavens to greet his fellow comrades. The new line-up is tight. There will be however a dividing line in the sand, but that’s for another time. For 55 years, Nektar are a band that’ll never die.

And while they are working on their next forthcoming trilogy on Mission to Mars and starting off the tour in early June this year at the Dunellen, it’ll be great to see what the next chapter will be for them on the other side of the ocean.

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