Why aren’t Panic Room huge? Watching this live performance captured in London, October 2016, that question’s impossible to answer to anyone’s satisfaction. It’s great to see the group moving up venues from the snug Borderline to the Islington Assembly Hall and they readily rise to the occasion. With 19 tracks on the main disc, plus three extras and two from soundcheck on the bonus DVD, this is a feast of PR’s finest moments. Anne-Marie Helder has one of the best voices in prog – and her band aren’t shabby either. Opening with Into Temptation and Freedom To Breathe, they’re instantly soaring.
Nestled in the middle of the set, Firefly is breathtakingly intimate with Helder nailing the loftiest of the high notes with ease, accompanied only by Jonathan Edwards on piano and Dave Foster on acoustic guitar. Yatim Halimi brings a deep sense of groove to his bass lines and on drums Gavin John Griffiths can be delicate in the quiet moments of Tightrope Walking or kick up the volume in the unbridled Hiding The World. The sound quality is impeccable, the mix exquisitely balanced. Stuff this – and the CD – in the Christmas stocking of your favourite music lover, it’s brilliant.