After the consistent flow of top drawer albums where Focus unleashed their self styled brand of Humorist progressive rock with a baroque and jazz leaning the Focus At The Rainbow album came across as a bit of a disappointment. When listening to a live album I want to hear the buzz and excitement of the band that have just begun and are building up momentum and energy as they move through the concert, but this is not what I get when listening to the album opener "Focus III". I felt a little lost and something of a gate crasher. The performance is good but the overall recording/production is somewhat muted here and there and the song arrangement for this listener sound uncomfortable and not at ease what so ever, almost as if the band themselves were at odds.
The album versions of the tracks that appear on this live set are far more superior to this recording, but I was lead to believe that Focus At The Rainbow was a storming album which may have some sway at how disappointed I am with it as it lacks a serious vibe and ambient. That is not to say that Focus Live At The Rainbow actually poor, but the electricity and energy is missing in action and as I previously stated muted.
"Hocus Pocus" which opened up the the excellent Making Waves album sounds trite and unconvincing. Akkerman's guitar sounds swallowed up in a melee of a poor guitar and amp set up and nowhere near as brash and edgy as the studio album counterpart. "Sylvia" gets lost in the sandwich that is the "Hocus Pocus" and its reprise at the end as the album more or less falls flat. I may even come back in time to have a different view on this album but usually a Focus album has me converted right away, but they were a band full of surprises. For me this is just another one. Disappointing and not a recommendation of what Focus could do with the talent they had in Jan Akkerman and Thijs Van Leer on board who sound a little off on this recording.
01. Focus III
02. Answers? Questions! Questions? Answers!
03. Focus II
04. Eruption: a. Orfeus; b. Answer; c. Orfeus; d. Answer; e. Pupilla; f. Tommy; g. Pupilla.
05. Hocus Pocus
07. Hocus Pocus (Reprise)