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Zitro View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Transatlantic - Glenside PA
    Posted: February 09 2014 at 17:08

3.5/5 to 4/5, a very good show with a lot of energy, enthusiasm, and impeccable musicianship.

I brought 'hearos' ear plugs which were essential because the volume of the show was too loud for comfort, particularly Mike Portnoy's drums (not surprised!). I depended on these ear plugs. 

I was impressed at the high level of technical skills of all players, particularly the multi-instrumentalist Neal Morse who I initially suspected as someone who only mastered keyboard playing. Yes, his keyboard playing is ambient, melodic, fierce, whatever is needed for the music. But his acoustic guitar duet with Roine Stolt was a highlight. Speaking of Roine, his playing was phenomenal all the way through. The drumming was adventurous and relentless, if somewhat overdone at times. Pete Trewavas was a great support to the drums and his bass lines were regularly complex and outside the box. There was a 5th member 'Ted Leonard' that covered for some of the musical gaps and stayed in the background. It was a good idea to bring a 5th member as opposed to pre-recording some musical textures, bringing authenticity to whatever you heard. Ironically, he was the best singer and it was a shame they didn't have him as lead singer. Egos? 

The negatives that prevent me from a 5/5 show (or even 4.5/5) include the exhaustiveness of back-to-back 'epics' (really long epics!) with epic riffs, and epic solos, and epic outros that sometimes last more than an average song. Given similar structures being used epic after epic, it can get tiring.

Also, the lyrics were often one-dimensional good vs evil evangelical type of christian dogma which tend to rub me the wrong way depending on how they're written as the 'evil' may not necessarily be 'evil' (not being Christian is not evil). The theme of ''things are terrible, but I'm good because I found God' which get repetitive after a while. On the bright side, they weren't preaching to us in between songs.

Anyways, Into The Blue (~25 minutes) from the new album was among the worst offenders in terms of my lyrical complaint, alternating hopeful passages about 'the dreamer and the healer' (who's that? let me guess) with 'evil' heavy rock/metal riffs and negative lyrics. However, the quality of the music helped tremendously and the 5th member had a great vocal moment in the middle of it. 

'My New World' (~15 minutes) from the first album followed and had none of the problems I have with Transatlantic. The band was firing on all cylinders and shifting between various moods and genres.

Neal Morse joked that 'Shine' (~7 minutes) is about his foreheard, then mentioned that it was written by the band in tribute to a sick person they know, but earlier on it was mentioned it was a Neal Morse leftover from his latest solo album (huh?). Anyways, the wimpy Christian Rock song with the repeated 'We want no one left behind' (it offends me as a non-christian) was more muscular and coherent this time around.

They then grabbed a few moments of the Whirlwind album and made a medley out of it (~25 minutes). The whirlwind main theme is not that great, but 'Rose Colored Glasses' was an outstanding and emotional moment, a deeper and better use of christian lyrical content (IMO) and it reached a great climax. 'Evermore' was energetic and it segued into 'Is it Really Happening?' with imagery of a hurricane obliterating a city. This composition built up from a minimalist mantra into the equivalent of a tornado ripping you to shreds. Really really lively (and destructive) music. Later, the main theme comes back and lyrically more of the same.

We All Need Some Light (~9 minutes) began with a great guitar duet, very tasteful playing that shows how talented Stolt and Neal Morse can be. The song is pretty much 'dreamer and the healer' or 'shine' melodies all over again, but I shouldn't criticize this one as it's from their first album. Also, I can't knock down the Christian lyrics here as they're harmless and mean well.

'Black as the Sky' (~6 minutes) was a shorter, highly energetic song that worked perfectly with memorable choruses and an instrumental section dominated by synthesizer, even the drums were following the synthesizer. I wish the band writes more songs like these in the future.

'Kaleidoscope' (~30-35 minutes) didn't seem to have a lyrical problem but it seemed a bit fragmented and overly long, and I started getting tired at this point. There's so much 'epic' one can take, but there's no denying that this epic, while somewhat weaker than their other ones, had an amazing instrumental section on the second half, some of their very best music.

Then we have an encore (~20 minutes) of ... MORE EPICS *sigh*, but given the epics we're talking about (pieces of 'All of the Above' and 'The Stranger of Your Soul'), it's obviously strong material and they nailed it, but the ending was drawn out once again.

 Given my snarky comments, I still believe it was worth the trip and the expense to see these guys. They're extremely talented musicians with great chemistry. I recommend seeing them, but I hope you like epics! I mean, I hope that you really really like epics!



Edited by Zitro - February 09 2014 at 17:09
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AlexDOM View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 09 2014 at 23:15
I like their lyrics.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 09 2014 at 23:23
Ted Leonard is on the tour because Daniel Gildenlow could not make it due to being sick, they always tour with Daniel. He stayed in Europe to get healthy for the prognation cruise later this month.
 
I like the lyrics too....
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 10 2014 at 21:17
Actually, I think Gildenglow should be made a full member already and asume lead vocals. Also a much better singer than any of the oficial members of the band.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 11 2014 at 00:09
I found Ted Leonard to be an asset to the band. I hope Gildenlow recovers soon.

Who goes to a Transatlantic show and doesn't expect epics?      I understand what you mean though. When you listen to this band you have to be ready for the long haul!
The world of sound is certainly capable of infinite variety and, were our sense developed, of infinite extensions. -- George Santayana, "The Sense of Beauty"
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 11 2014 at 15:47
"And epic outros that sometimes last more than an average song." LOL. Couldn't have said it better myself. (My review of the NYC show will be posted later this week.)
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