Shane "Camel" Carlson
When thinking of the quintessentially English progressive rock band Camel and their decades of music, one can't help but be captivated by their never ending masterful ability and skill to reinvent themselves musically whilst at the same time remaining utterly true to their musical roots.
Camel are, and always have been, a band of world-class musical ability who, over more than 30 years of creating music, have managed to consistently please and continually surprise their loyal international bedrock of fans with their diversity of music to suit every possible mood and fashion.
Unlike many groups and solo artistes, and equaled by only a few, Camel are one of those bands that once you are in tune with them you are hooked for life. Often ridiculed and derided by those seeking easily obtained satisfaction from more commercial music, Camel have been accused of not having enough so called "edge". But for those who have listened to their music in it's various guises over the years, there is a depth of feeling that touches parts of the musical psyche that remains unearthed by other musicians and their offerings.
Although the band members have repeatedly changed over the years, the goal and outcome has always remained constant. Every fan has their favourite album but none of them would ever dispute that Camel's music touches their hearts, minds and souls like no other.
Live, Camel are quite simply brilliant. No staggering stage effects or costumes, no amazing light shows or lasers, neither too are there any unwanted pre-recorded "fillers" to boost the depth of sound produced on stage. What you see and hear is what you get indeed it's all there is. Usually four exceptionally talented musicians playing it like it is in the way that only they know how. The craftsmanship, instrumental skill and musical composition speak for themselves. The faces of the fans at a Camel concert, radiant in musical appreciation, are testimony to their love of this band and the music it generates. An unspoken etiquette prevails the fans are quietly in awe and only applaud at the right point during the set pieces as has become the custom over the years.
Sadly, 2003 will see the very last ever Camel tour. For lifelong Camel fans this is very tragic news. Camel indeed will be very sorely missed by live audiences around the world and it will sadly sound the end of progressive rock history. Andrew Latimer, one of the bands founder members - who has always thrived on live performances and (as Camelogue from the album "Single Factor" states) kept "going for the song and the road" - the decision to end touring has obviously been an extremely difficult one to make.
No doubt, the forthcoming studio albums will continue to drive Camel to new and exciting heights but, for sure, the worlds concert stages will be the poorer for not having Camel grace them in future.
as that well loved Camel anthem says - "Never Let Go." Somehow I have
a feeling we won't