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In Words: Arena

- Clive Nolan & Mick Pointer - April 2001 - Claudia Ehrhardt -

Arena live 2001 in Cologne
© Claudia Ehrhardt

Clive Nolan & Mick Pointer
- Cologne (Germany), April 8th 2001 -

Last fall the British prog rocker been on tour to support their 4th studio album Immortal?. Now they are back on the road to open up for Canadian legend Saga. In Cologne I had the chance to talk to the band about the tour, touring in general and the live album.
So what happened since the Immortal? tour..... "At the tour we recorded in Amsterdam our live album“ Mick Pointer explaint. Breakfast In Biarriz is already in the stores. "After the tour we finalized the live album." The club tour was very successful for the British and now it was time to take the next step. "We got the offer to support Saga. Actually we hadn't planned to come back that fast, but the offer was too good!" Clive Nolan said. "It's the first time we do support, but we can reach more people that way." But they are limited to 45 min.! On their club tour they played 2 hrs. and more.... "On our web page we ask the fans for their favourite tracks, but didn't said what for. The result turned out the way we expected it and we worked out a set list for the shows with Saga" guitarist John explaint. On their club tour they had two set list which at the end they mixed up a little. "It makes it more interesting for us and for the fans, but as support you have to keep your time limit. We rehearsed for a while to work out a 45 min. program."
Even if they have just 4 albums there are songs they have to play every time... "Yes, that's right. It wasn't easy, because we have some long tracks. We could have make a set of 3 songs and reached the time limit..." Clive mentioned. It seems that they chose the right tracks. "When we enter the stage it takes a song or two to catch the attention of the audience, but they are quite fair and at the end they applause." And John added " long as they don't buh or leave for a beer, it's okay. After the show some Saga fans came and talked to us, so it seems to work out." After the tour the band will return to Eng­land and start to work on new material. The studio they will enter later this year. "Out 5th studio album will be released early next year" Mick told me. This summer the band won't play any festivals, not that they don't want to, but they haven't got offered... They still have to fight that fans stick to their musical past. "That's like a spell sometimes. I haven't been in Marillion as long as I'm now with Arena, but some still stick to that." Mick complaint. In some countries, like the USA, it might be helpful, but in many parts of the world the people know about Arena and it ain't necessary anymore. People always try to cathegorize bands, so where do they see themselves... Symphonic rock, prog rock or prog metal? "Arena is the way of doing things!" Brilliant last words from Clive Nolan!

Claudia Ehrhardt


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