If there is one composer out there that may be best described as a workaholic, it's Motoi Sakuraba. The man produces music for so many games every year, and then he also manages to produce all sorts of arranged albums. In this case, Mr. Sakuraba's second live album is a full concert devoted to Valkyrie Profile 2.
Though not every track on the album is from VP2, and indeed, some songs have crossed over from Star Ocean and back due to their popularity, the album was named aptly as a Valkyrie Profile 2 album. Considering the high quality of the VP2 music, I wasn't at all surprised to find myself enjoying this album.
Anyone who knows Sakuraba knows what to expect on this album. The band consists of piano/organ, guitar, bass, drums, and a few other surprises. In other words, it's a jam/rock band a la Genesis, but without vocals. There's even a 20 minute track with lengthy drum and bass solos to fill up the time.
What I appreciate most about this live album is the difficulty in performing rhythmically complex pieces. Whole sections of songs will have the drummer doing nothing but extremely complex high-hat work while the rest of the band does its best to keep up. To me, that's a mark of true modern musicianship.
Sakuraba himself is the front-man, and he's in charge of all the keyboard stuff: piano, organ, what have you. I am always fond of a good piano solo, and Sakuraba delivers said solos more than once on this album.
I also feel that the choices of songs performed at this live concert were great. I don't know why we had to hear Confidence in the Domination twice, but otherwise, I really enjoyed everything offered on this concert album.
Those that wanted the album probably already bought it. If you were interested but skipped it, don't let it pass you by! Even I, a known skeptic of Sakuraba's work, was impressed by the technical prowess of the musicians.
Reviewed by: Patrick Gann