Today it’s been 10 years since the massive voice of Mike A. Baker, vocalist of Shadow Gallery was silent forever. A heart attack at 45 – as Bruce Dickinson sang “Only the good die young, while the evil seem to live forever”.
I remember buying the first two Shadow Gallery albums right away when they were released in the early 1990s. The production of especially the first one wasn’t flawless, but the music, the vocal harmonies and the great voice of Mike Baker really made me a fan from the start. Shortly afer, from mid 90s till 2005, I had a period of about 10 years during which I lost interest in the music that I grew up with – rock and metal. However, there were a few bands who’s albums I kept buying during that period, although a lot I only listened to first after 2005: Ayreon, Rush, Dream Theater, and Shadow Gallery. Every single album of the band has something magical and unique – although Digital Ghosts lacks Mike’s voice.
With the first self titled album, I fell in love with the flute in Dark Town and the mystery carried by Mike’s vocals in the Queen of the City of Ice. On the second one, Carved In Stone, the brilliant Crystalline Dream, and the epic Cliffhanger and Ghostship were added.
And so, the story continued, and Mike was always there. In recent years, long after his untimely death, there is however one album that has a special place in my musical heart – Room V. After another untimely death, that of my Arianna’s mother, the track Comfort Me became one of our cherished tracks – both to comfort Arianna and to remember her mother. If he was still here, I’d send a thank you message to Mike, likely on the Facebook page he never had – now I just post it here.
Thank you, Mike Baker, voice of memories and comfort. Rest in Peace in the musical havens.
Your touch to comfort me
Just comfort me
Your sheltering soul not a moment too soon
You’re a sweet tourniquet
For my soul lies rife with open wounds
And yes I thought as I closed my eyes
I saw phantom apparitions dance
And are we really safe on our own
Or are they out there watching
Right now I don’t want to care at all