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Thread: Saga

  1. #51
    Quote Originally Posted by DocProgger View Post
    Interesting to see how perceptions of a band are depending on when people were exposed to them. Far from Saga being a "gateway" into prog, I had already been deeply into Genesis, Yes, ELP, Floyd, Kansas etc for years before Saga was on the scene. .
    Exactly. I've been into a similar situation. When I first got Saga's debut upon release, I've been already exposed to the classics of early 70s progressive rock + several german prog bands of the same era, so Saga went into what I considered an AORish aspect of prog. Up to this date I'm still keeping all their albums up and including "Worlds Apart" (they still make for a pleasant listen), but I think that the first is still the best they ever did.

    Prism never did it for me though...
    Macht das ohr auf!

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  2. #52
    Member Top Cat's Avatar
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    Yes I agree great post Robert, thank you for sharing your thoughts and new appreciation for Saga.
    I've been a Saga fan since the early 80's when World's Apart came out. Living in the suburbs outside of Detroit we received lots of Canadian music via the local stations in Windsor. It was there I heard Wind Him Up, and after that it was love at first listen.
    I went on to buy every backlog album I could get. Years later(before the internet) my wife and I would cross the Amabassador Bridge into Canada to go record shipping and often would look for Saga new releases.Or we'd go to record shows on the weekend looking for a golden gem, new Strawbs, Pendragon, and of course Saga. Their new releases were near impossible to find here in the States.
    I have every album and live concert.

    Saga has a unique sound(to me) which isn't necessarily prog but it's not mainstream either, it's hard to put them in any genre.
    It's hard for any band to stay together for over 4 decades, and Saga has seen it's fair share of diversity as well.
    There was the fated German tour when the drummer left towards the end of the tour, Jim Gilmour having to leave to have emergency eye surgery and then the tragic loss of Jim and Penny's son Will right before the Cruise to the Edge tour.
    I don't think Jim ever had time to face his grief. They kept busy touring and I think he did so to avoid confronting his emotions about losing Will.
    I think towards the end of the last tour, it finally caught up to him and I pray he finds peace.

    Then there was the late 80's which found Saga as a trio without Steve and Jim. We have the album Wildest Dreams (which I really happen to like) showcasing a different Saga sound with the use of a drum machine to replace Steve Negus and the addition of guest drummer Curt Cress.
    2009 we find Michael out of the band and new vocalist Rob Moratti with the Human Condition(I think it's a good album, but you can't help miss Michael).
    In 2012 Michael is back and their new release 20/20 followed by Sagacity.

    Personally I don't think they ever regained the footing they had with Trust and 10,000 Days and although ANY new Saga album is something I will enjoy, I don't think the last 2 have been as strong.

    It seems since Saga has stopped touring and taking a break and Michael is out doing all of these collaborations, festivals etc, the band through him is getting more exposure than ever before. Plus folks who may not be familiar with Michael's vocals are finding out what a powerful front man he is, and how really great his vocals are.
    It's a joy to see, at least for me, for Michael and Saga to all of a sudden be receiving the kudos they have long deserved.
    Through all the adversity, the changes in the music industry, trends, Saga has kept plugging away doing what they do and doing it perfectly. I've never seen them live but from the concerts I have, they will play until they or the audience is ready to drop from exhaustion. I usually refer to them as one of the hardest working bands in the world.

    While not hard touring anymore, I suggested to Michael a few ideas, one which could be like the Camel DVD The Opening Farewell, where they played to a small audience of family and friends and recorded it. Or something live in the studio filmed to video like Frost did with The Rockfield Files. It'd be a way of keeping their chops by still performing live(because Saga is I think at their best performing live) and also getting revenue.
    New album could be peformed same way.
    Soundcloud page: Open Window, musical meanderings https://soundcloud.com/precipice

  3. #53
    Member Paulrus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DocProgger View Post
    I still think it's odd they never became a more popular "arena rock" band in the US after the success of On the Loose and Worlds Apart, given the success of Asia and the arrival of MTV etc. They somehow never capitalized on that in the US, but for some reason did in Germany.
    It's not for lack of trying. I'd read in the past that they didn't have the best management over the years, plus I think being a Canadian band was a bigger hurdle to overcome back then.

    There was a brief period -- the very late 70s/early 80s -- where their type of prog-lite was getting played on the radio but it didn't last long. After that they seemed lost for a direction (which explains Gilmour and Negus' departures.) Albums like Behavior and Wildest Dreams are a bit confused IMO. There are nice tracks on them, but let's face it -- their attempts at ballads or tough rockers weren't great. They could have gone full hair-metal in the mid 80s but thank God they didn't! I just think that while they were great at writing Saga music there just wasn't that big a market for it after that brief breakthrough period.
    I'm holding out for the Wilson-mixed 5.1 super-duper walletbuster special anniversary extra adjectives edition.

  4. #54
    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    US musical success seems so much more based on "having a hit" than European musical success. I know it can go both ways, but I think in Europe (and probably Canada, and South America, etc.), people can be more into the whole oeuvre of a band, and not focus so much on hits. It might take a hit to start things off though (Marillion, for example).

  5. #55
    From Wiki:
    "In 1981, the band's 4th album Worlds Apart was released. The lead single "Wind Him Up", finally broke them into the Top 40, peaking at No. 22 on the Canadian Charts in January 1982. A second single, "On the Loose", also fared well with the help of its music video receiving heavy rotation on MTV, and in December 1982, proved to be their breakthrough in America where it peaked at No. 26 on the Billboard Charts in March 1983. "Wind Him Up" became the second single in America, peaking at No. 64 on Billboard the following month. Eventually, Worlds Apart was certified Gold in the USA in 1983. The band opened for Jethro Tull on their North American tour in 1982."

    On the Loose certainly was big enough to qualify as a breakthrough hit. No 26 single and a Gold album, heavy MTV exposure, opening for Tull. All the elements were there for at least a run of AOR success in the US given the musical climate of the early 80s.
    They needed a follow up album of comparable quality to keep that momentum going, and maybe more aggressive touring in the US, and they didn't do it. But the Germans loved them.

  6. #56
    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    ^ I meant that even in Europe, it still requires a hit. In the US, I think it requires (or required) frequent hits.

  7. #57
    Quote Originally Posted by ronmac View Post
    Saw these guys open for Jethro Tull on the "Broadsword and the Beast" tour, when "On the Loose" was in the charts. They were very good.
    I'm curious, did the Tull crowd pay attention to them and respond positively, or were they ignored like a lot of opening bands? I missed that tour but I don't recall hearing about them playing live in the 80s after that, at least in my neck of the woods.

  8. #58
    Member Paulrus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DocProgger View Post
    They needed a follow up album of comparable quality to keep that momentum going, and maybe more aggressive touring in the US, and they didn't do it. But the Germans loved them.
    That's probably part of it. They could have ground it out touring the states but it seems like their first impulse was to run to the security of Germany and other already friendly markets.

    But I thought Heads or Tales was a reasonably solid follow up to Worlds Apart. A couple songs off that one also got decent radio play in the states as I recall.

    Again, part of the problem was that this was when MTV really began to exert an influence on the business, but as we've seen Saga's attempts at videos were so-so. To top things off they were also on a pretty piss-poor label.
    I'm holding out for the Wilson-mixed 5.1 super-duper walletbuster special anniversary extra adjectives edition.

  9. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3RDegree_Robert View Post
    Also, there's a bunch of songs where their bassist just plays synth bass for an entire song. That's...different.
    Cam Hawkins, from my second favorite Canadian band FM, actually plays more synth bass than bass guitar. Oddly enough, he plays most bass lines with his RIGHT hand and chords with the left, unless he's also playing a synth solo.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paulrus View Post
    Yeah, that "Countdown" solo is the one to hold up as Geddy's finest moment as a synth soloist. Almost makes you wonder if they brought in someone to play that for them.
    It's a nice little melodic solo, but not technically challenging. I learned it when I was 18, and I'm not even a true keyboardist. I remember in an interview Geddy saying that would be the last time he attempted something like that.

    Quote Originally Posted by JKL2000 View Post
    Great post, Robert!
    Yes, this! ^^^

    Quote Originally Posted by DocProgger View Post
    I'm curious, did the Tull crowd pay attention to them and respond positively, or were they ignored like a lot of opening bands?
    That was my first real exposure to them as well. I honestly don't recall what the crowd response was like. They seemed a little "commercial" to me at the time, but they were definitely intriguing enough to hold my attention.

    I recently friended Michael Sadler on Facebook, and he seems like a genuinely good guy. I'd definitely go see him or Saga if they ever come to Chicago.

  10. #60
    Member dropforge's Avatar
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    Looks like a lot of people aren't that familiar with Saga's 1999 CD Full Circle. That was their "comeback" album, which is I like a lot better than House of Cards.

  11. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by gearHed289 View Post
    Cam Hawkins, from my second favorite Canadian band FM, actually plays more synth bass than bass guitar. Oddly enough, he plays most bass lines with his RIGHT hand[…]
    IIRC, so does Jim Crichton.

  12. #62
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    A Saga fan posted this video to the Saga Facebook Group which was later shared by Michael Sadler.
    Soundcloud page: Open Window, musical meanderings https://soundcloud.com/precipice

  13. #63
    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Top Cat View Post
    A Saga fan posted this video to the Saga Facebook Group which was later shared by Michael Sadler.
    Thanks for posting that. I've recently been enjoying "reaction" videos. I think they're an interesting phenomenon, and they can show us a more diverse audience for prog than we sometimes see, which IMO is an excellent thing. Mainly, it's just fascinating to see someone react to a piece of music we already know, and get to hear it through their ears. It seems you can search for almost any song or artist and the word "reaction" and find a reaction video.

  14. #64
    Quote Originally Posted by 3RDegree_Robert View Post
    Well, since seeing Michael Sadler I got the 2 boxed sets and then moved on to find all their albums on CD except 10,000 Days which is impossible to find right now for some reason. I didn't want to buy mp3s and since they have nothing available on Bandcamp I had to get CDs. I've heard all but 3 albums at this point-many times.
    What is the second box set you refer to? I have the box set which collects the first 4-5 albums, which I actually decided to get before ProgStock since I only had Worlds Apart and a few DVDs. I don't see a second box set of albums beyond that, but their discography is so scattered maybe I missed something.

  15. #65
    I read a book about Saga that was very interesting. They made it big in Germany well before "Worlds Apart" came out. They would headline stadiums and arenas in Germany then go back to Canada and play a high school dance. They were virtually unknown in their own country until "Worlds Apart".

  16. #66
    Quote Originally Posted by the winter tree View Post
    I read a book about Saga that was very interesting. They made it big in Germany well before "Worlds Apart" came out. They would headline stadiums and arenas in Germany then go back to Canada and play a high school dance. They were virtually unknown in their own country until "Worlds Apart".
    Yeah, Germany and Puerto Rico both caught on real fast with Saga.

  17. #67
    Member moecurlythanu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by the winter tree View Post
    I read a book about Saga that was very interesting. They made it big in Germany well before "Worlds Apart" came out. They would headline stadiums and arenas in Germany then go back to Canada and play a high school dance. They were virtually unknown in their own country until "Worlds Apart".
    Is there a chance that that's what the " Worlds Apart" title refers to?

  18. #68
    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DocProgger View Post
    What is the second box set you refer to? I have the box set which collects the first 4-5 albums, which I actually decided to get before ProgStock since I only had Worlds Apart and a few DVDs. I don't see a second box set of albums beyond that, but their discography is so scattered maybe I missed something.
    Good question! I think I found them both on Amazon:

    https://www.amazon.com/5-Original-Al...JWYZSCMJDMR8PD

    https://www.amazon.com/SAGA-5-Origin...XRPBZ50FMV6WH3

  19. #69
    Quote Originally Posted by JKL2000 View Post
    Welp, that must be it. I probably missed that because it must be oop. Not really as interested in that one, since I already recently ordered the 2nd album.

  20. #70

    Saga

    If you get those two boxed sets you have everything up to 89, their first live album and one unecessary compilation.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  21. #71
    Quote Originally Posted by 3RDegree_Robert View Post
    If you get those two boxed sets you have everything up to ‘89, their first live album and one unecessary compilation.
    Yeah, I was'nt really interested in the late 80's albums, as I understand they went in a poppier direction on those records. I was able to find Images In Twilight and Heads Or Tales relatively cheap on the Amazon Marketplace (though, apparently, at least one of them came to me from...SURPRISE! Germany), so I went that route for those two.

  22. #72
    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    Yeah, I was'nt really interested in the late 80's albums, as I understand they went in a poppier direction on those records.
    I just listened to Behavior from 1985 and as I thought ten years ago, not interesting. I also listened to Full Circle from 1999 and while better, not up to the great period from Marathon (2003) to Human Condition (2009).

  23. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by the winter tree View Post
    They would headline stadiums and arenas in Germany then go back to Canada and play a high school dance.
    great analogy. i always go to this video for further elaboration … one of canada’s most innovative bands, performing their butts off yet merely amounting to nothing more than sonic background nuisance for some beach bummers and country fayre dwellers


  24. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by JKL2000 View Post
    Thanks for posting that. I've recently been enjoying "reaction" videos. I think they're an interesting phenomenon, and they can show us a more diverse audience for prog than we sometimes see, which IMO is an excellent thing. Mainly, it's just fascinating to see someone react to a piece of music we already know, and get to hear it through their ears. It seems you can search for almost any song or artist and the word "reaction" and find a reaction video.
    I agree, not long ago I came across one of two obvious hip hop guys who listened to a Dream Theater song(don't remember which one), but as the song progressed they were really getting in to it. I think it's a reminder how music can cross cultural and ethnic lines and be a universal communicator.

    Quote Originally Posted by yamishogun View Post
    I just listened to Behavior from 1985 and as I thought ten years ago, not interesting. I also listened to Full Circle from 1999 and while better, not up to the great period from Marathon (2003) to Human Condition (2009).
    I think there is a difference for those of us who've been life-long Saga fans and those who discovered them later in their career. Many of the albums people say they don't care for I love, such as Behavior is one of my favorites, as is Wildest Dreams for example. I think it may be due to having lived through it's release and played it when it first came out, and of course there are always nostalgic memories included with each album. Whereas people who listen to them later are listening when Saga was writing and recording in a different time and so your impressions of it will be different.

    Quote Originally Posted by iguana View Post
    great analogy. i always go to this video for further elaboration … one of canada’s most innovative bands, performing their butts off yet merely amounting to nothing more than sonic background nuisance for some beach bummers and country fayre dwellers

    Wow! thanks for posting this. I don't think I've ever seen any good quality live stuff from the Marathon era, and Michael with blonde hair??? they sound quite good here. Thanks again, I think I'll lift this one and share it with Michael on FB.
    Soundcloud page: Open Window, musical meanderings https://soundcloud.com/precipice

  25. #75
    Well someone certainly has a Sadler mancrush, lol.

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