Camel – Curriculum Vitae – 2003

We bid our final, found farewell to Peter Bardens whose musical contribution to Camel is immeasurable. He will forever be our “Spirit of the Water”. All alone and all together

“Every day, come what may
By the time we find each other
We can alive, we can die
And nothing stops the river as it flows by
Nothing stops the river as it flows by”

Peter Bardens (1944-2002)

I don´t know if the human avalanche formed after Camel´s farewell show in Spain ran to the merchandising shop because of the heat of the moment or because of the end of a wonderful show. But there were more people than in other shows buying t-shirts, records.. Among all the stuff there was a DVD that impressed me a lot. It had an attractive cover, an appropriate title, but incomplete information about the contents. There was slight references to what we could find inside but no information about lengths, songs or shows.

The first joy appears after opening the box and looking at the very comprehensive booklet included with information about all the members of the band along its whole career, with quotes about their lives, their previous bands, solo careers, etc.. Simple but interesting.

The second joy appears after watching the menu. The DVD is divided into the following chapters:

1. Opening Titles/Lady Fantasy
2. Beginnings
3. Arubaluba*
4. Never Let Go*
5. Mirage
6. Rhayader
7. The Snow Goose*
8. Friendship*
9. Rhayader Goes To Town*
10. Moonmadness
11. First Light*
12. Metrognome*
13. Breathless*
14. I Can See Your House
15. City Life*
16. Lies*
17. Reflections
18. The Single Factor
19. Stationary Traveller
20. Dust And Dreams*
21. Harbour Of Tears*
22. Drafted*
23. Three Wishes*
24. Fox Hill*
25. Lady Fantasy (Reprise)
26. Squigely Fair/End Titles

But the happiness becomes sadness when you notice that all of the promised content is not as long as you wanted. All the tracks aren´t entirely performed. I mark with a * all of those with the band performing them in studio or on stage because in the rest you can only listen to the songs as a background while the band´s members have been interviewed. The total length is around an hour (1:05). Finally, you can understand that the images taken from the early years haven´t a great quality, but it´s unacceptable that the images taken from last tour´s shows seem to be recorded by an amateur cameraman.

Camel´s history is introduced by the words of its most important members: Andrew Latimer, Peter Bardens, Andy Ward, Doug Ferguson (voice in off) and Colin Bass. Unfortunately there´s no subtitles, even in english. I think that the labels that release DVD should take care about this, because the subtitles can put the musicians closer to the fans.

As bonus material there are 11 minutes that introduce the reborn The Brew (Latimer, Ward & Ferguson) with some interviews –finally you can see Doug Ferguson´s face here- as well as a couple of songs/improvisations, one with Dire Straits´ influences, and the second more acoustic (a la Paul McCartney), but both of them far from Camel´s influences. Anyway I can´t give a strong opinion after listening to two songs only.

Well, in short an interesting document for those who love the band, but I can´t say it´s a must. Some issues could have been improved (quality of the image, subtitles) and some very important moments of the band´s history have been forgotten.