1. Through the moods [13:28]
  2. First communication [8:56]
  3. Dialogue & random [0:57]
  4. Laila [10:03]
  5. In the silence of the morning sunrise [4:41]
All music composed by Agitation Free.
Live in Cologne on February 2 1974.
Solar Music Live, eat your heart out! Okay, so maybe I shouldn't go that far, but the fact remains that Agitation Free's archival volume, At the Cliffs of the River Rhine, is one of the most mind-numbingly awesome live albums in the progressive rock genre.
Taken from a concert given by the band in 1974, the album replaces one of the most sought after bootleg recordings around, but this time with impeccable sound and a lengthy, full color booklet to boot. The results are astounding. Taking material mostly from their Second release, the group gives all the pieces a swift kick in the ass.
As if that album weren't already an unequivocal classic, this time around the added energy level, searing group intensity, and lively interplay catapult River Rhine in the stratosphere.

If any complaint can be made whatsoever, it's that the band plays its ace card early. "Through the Moods", a piece not found on either of the band's studio recordings, simply burns. Beginning softly, even unassumingly, the listener is merely relieved that the sound quality is okay after all, excellent even. By the time six minutes or so elapses, astonishment begins to set in. The grooving, amorphous basslines, choppy, mid tempo rhythmic pulsing, twin guitar melodies cascading and wrapping around each other. And it only gets better. The intensity of this track builds to an unbelievable, cathartic level. By the end, the lead guitars tear into a single note motif with such ecstatic fury, that the sudden, halted end of the piece brings one crashing down to earth with the bitter after effect an opium dream. The thunderous applause does manage to cushion the fall, however.

"First Communication" is next though, and you all know this one, well at least you should -- the sublime opener from the Second album. While I was initially worried that the show's energy level had reached an early apex, the pure majesty of this version renewed my state of bliss. So I was a convert already. The rest of the album? It fucking rips. This is one live release that has it all; differentiation, even superiority, over the studio counterparts of the respective pieces, excellent sound quality, and a fantastic performance. One of the very best German progressive rock groups at their peak. What more could you ask for?

Greg Northrup September 2002