Transatlantic
Bridge Across Europe Tour 2001
November 10th, The Astoria Theatre, London, UK
November 12th, 013, Tilburg The Netherlands
November 17th, Music Hall, Berlin, Germany

By Charlie Farrell, Bart Jan van der Vorst, Martijn Semmelink, Andreas Vogel & Petr Lux


November 10th, Astoria, London, UK, by Charlie Farrell

Chatting with people in the pub before this gig revealed that the Oxford gig the night before had included a long extended Beatles Jam, so it was with a certain sense of "expecting the unexpected" that I joined the long queue snaking around the venue. Upon entering it was clear that the venue (capacity 3000) was not quite sold-out, but the attendance was still very creditable and the place felt 'comfortably full' rather than packed.

After a much longer wait than anticipated, the band came on stage to huge roars and took their positions as for previous gigs. Mike Portnoy's 'reduced' kit was stage-right, Neal Morse stage-left, with Roine Stolt and Pete Trewavas in the middle and 'hired gun' Daniel Gildenlow of Pain of Salvation, stage-centre behind Roine and Pete. Unfortunately as they launched into Duel With The Devil from Bridge Across Forever, it became clear that all was not well sound-wise. With no support there should be no excuse for the sound being as bad as it was, but Pete's bass seemed to be interfering badly, producing an annoying boom and both Portnoy and Morse were gesticulating wildly to the stage-hands. As the number came to an end, both made it very clear that they were unhappy with the sound through their monitors as well.

As the moved into My New World, it became clear that the problems were being solved and by the end of the number the sound was great. As on disk, Roine handled the main vocals, with help from Neal and Pete, but there were several points where all five voices combined together quite beautifully. SMPTe's We All Need Some light followed, with Neal playing some acoustic guitar and Pete changing to a white Rickenbacker-shaped bass. With the sound problems behind them, the band were clearly playing with great enthusiasm and this was being matched by the normally reserved London audience's response.

Following introductions of all the band members, it was back to the Bridge Across Forever album for Suite Charlotte Pike, during which volume gremlins affected the mics used by Neal and Pete, reducing their volume but thankfully not making them completely inaudible. Besides sharing the vocals with Roine, Neal Morse spent most of the number playing electric guitar and contributed a fine solo, leaving you wondering just what instrument this man can't play well. Just as the crowd sensed the number was about to end, Neal announced "We're not done yet" and they moved semmlessly into a medley of Beatles tunes mixed with extracts of their own songs. Carry That Weight was the only Beatles tune that I recognised, but there were others and during this part Daniel was allowed to sing a couple of lines solo. There were big cheers too for Pete's little bass solo and Neal's further cameo at the end. It was certainly a big crowd pleaser.

Neal then announced the final number "The best song that we've yet written as Transatlantic", he said as the other members nodded in agreement. A further 20 minutes of bliss followed as they ran through Stranger in Your Soul and departed the stage to huge cheers. Of course the audience weren't going to allow they to get away with playing just the 5 songs, so they returned and played SMPTe's All of The Above after which there could be no complaints from anyone in the audience. The big grins across the faces of many in the audience matched those of the performers on stage and were ample testament to the pleasure that the band had given during the 2hrs plus long concert. I haven't seen the audience for a 'prog' concert as satisfied as this in a long, long time and I think that speaks volumes for the band and the quality of their material.


November 12th, 013, Tilburg, The Netherlands, by Bart Jan van der Vorst

You could say it becomes predictable. After being the most anticipated project of 2000, Transatlantic's first album SMPT:e became 2000's most popular album (according to our reader's poll at least) only to be followed by the most anticipated follow-up album of 2001. Right? So surely when the band announced that this time they would support this new album with a short European tour, for me this became the most anticipated concert of 2001. And, to say that the most anticipated concert of 2001 also became the most satisfactory concert of 2001 would be a mere understatement.

A plane crash in New York that afternoon seemed to ruin it for the evening, but, as tonight's gig was going to be filmed for a DVD release, the band's management had wisely decided not to tell the band untill after the show. Tranatlantic - Bridge Across Europe promo samples No, fortunately tonight's show was nothing but plusses. It already started when entering the venue, when people were handing out free cd-samplers. Everybody entering received two cd's, both released by Inside Out in conjunction with Theater Of Dreams, the Dream Theater fanclub. The first sampler is one packed with tracks from the Inside Out catalogue (Spock's Beard, Flower Kings, Pain of Salvation, Planet X, etc etc). The second one is even more interesting, a special, limited edition tour edition sampler of Bridge Across Forever. Completely in the tradition of Transatlantic none of the four tracks on the cd are under ten minutes. Even the 'special edit' of Duel With The Devil still clocks in at 11.30. The other tracks are Dream Theater's Learning to Live, recorded live in New York, The Flower Kings with Road to Sanctuary (from The Rainmaker) and the Spock's Beard epic At The End Of The Day (from V). Not entirely surprisingly there is no song by Marillion on the sampler. Even though there would have been enough room left for either Interior Lulu, or This Is The 21st Century (to stay with epic proportions) - I guess I'd better not get in to this.

The 013 venue was absolutely packed. I've never seen it so busy. People were even standing in the hallway, watching the concert through half-opened doors.
The stage was set up similarly to what they had done last year, at the short US tour. Neal Morse and Mike Portnoy on small elevated platforms on either side of the stage, and Roine Stolt and Pete Trewavas in the middle. Extra touring member Daniel Gildenlow (of Pain of Salvation) was situated a bit further to the back, but still in a prominent position, as to make clear he was an extra member to the band, rather than an additional musician.
The intro tape to Duel With The Devil started and one by one the band walked onstage and picked up their instruments. Neal Morse was wearing a NYC T-shirt (as a dedication to that city, as he would later explain) while Roine Stolt won the prize for most outrageous stage-outfit in his glitzy pink and flowery sixties-style retro outfit.

The band kicked in and played an excellent version of the first track of their new album. 25 minutes later, one epic down, Morse introduced the bandmembers to us and jokingly explained to us: "This was the first of many epics... many, many, many epics..." To which Mike Portnoy replied: "nothing but fucking epics!" The band joked around with this for a while, "if you were expecting short songs, you're in the wrong place!" - "Yeah, short songs is down the hall!"

Epic number two came off the SMPT:e album and is my fave of that album: My New World. Stolt mumbled his way through the lines, not quite seeming to remember them, and the rest of the band managed to get through the song without too much troubles. A pity though how one of my favourite tracks could be the biggest disappointment of the night. However, after this things only got better and better (and better).

Morse introduced the next track as a dedication to the people of New York and a cry for peace and freedom. The sugary sweet We All Need Some Light followed and it was a great and emotional sing-a-long ballad, where Portnoy was directing the audience when he wasn't drumming. Great stuff.
We All Need Some Light is also the only song they played that night that is under 10 minutes long. Actually, it's the only song under 15 minutes!!!

"Here's where we're going to have some fun" said Morse and the band started a loose jam that turned into the intro of Suite Charlotte Pike. This track, or medley as I prefer to call it, is modelled after the second side of the Beatles' Abbey Road. Therefore I wasn't surprised when after the first bit, If She Runs, the band turned into Mean Mr Mustard. However, the band had managed to incorporate the entire second side of Abbey Road into their medley, alternating their own bits with the songs of Abbey Road, stretching the song to almost half an hour.
Heresy this might be for some, but as I've never been much of a Beatles fan myself, I found myself really enjoying this medley. And all the members sang bits and pieces of the songs, even Daniel Gildenlow, who proved to have an excellent voice.

After this excellent piece of entertainment, which seemed to go on and on forever (including a drum solo and even a bass solo) Morse announced -this is getting boring- yet another epic. The "epic to end all epics" as he called it. This was of course the fantastic Stranger In Your Soul off their last album. A great track on the album, this one's even better live. Again we were treated on some 26 minutes of excellent musicianship. At one point, during the guitar solo that follows Lost and Found pt 2 Morse joined Portnoy behind the drumkit smashing cymbals and toms hard as he could, adding to the chaos that is so present in this part. He had to run back to his keyboard stack (all the way at the other end of the stage) to be back in time to sing (and play) the fast "whatever you looking for" bit. Fantastic.

The band took a bow and left the stage, leaving at some two-and-a-half thousand people going nuts. 110 minutes, and only five songs played!!
But of course the band had to come back for just the one, tiny encore. That one little tune they hadn't played yet - All Of The Above. Yep, another 30-minute epic!
Actually, this was the point where these epic became a bit of overkill. This track would have worked better as the last song in the set, with Stranger in Your Soul as the encore. But that's just a minor complaint about this excellent show. But, more was still to come!

This is where the show was supposed to have ended, but the audience clearly felt otherwise. The roof was literally blown off the house by the applause that followed the last notes of All Of The Above. And when the band left the stage, no one in the audience felt like doing the same, and instead everybody just kept applauding. The house-lights came back on, the music started, but the audience stayed put, and kept applauding. This was one of the rare moments that a Dutch audience allows itself to become enthusiastic at a gig - I think for some of the members in the band this was a new experience. Trewavas may have experienced it with Marillion (though not in recent years) and maybe Morse has had the same response after some Spock's gigs. But for Portnoy and definitely for Stolt, this must have been a new experience.
15 minutes later, we were still all staying put. Clapping our hands raw, shouting out till our throats were sore, and stamping our feet till it hurt. We would simply not leave. The roadies had wisely stopped the music and dimmed the lights a bit, giving us hope that we hadn't been waiting in vain.

And then the band came back, clearly moved by this response. Morse started a familiar sounding keyboard note and elaborated "we hadn't really planned anything else, but I supposed we could play this one. We're kinda making this one up as we go, so bear with us."
The keyboard sound became recognisable as Pink Floyd's Shine On You Crazy Diamond and the crowd went nuts. Stolt improvised his way through the opening and what followed was a surprisingly faithful rendition of this classic.
Trewavas and Portnoy alternated the the singing of the lyrics, as Morse didn't seem to want to sing anymore and Stolt was way too busy concentrating on his guitar playing.

The band played all parts of the track, although all the instrumental parts were improvised on the spot. At one point Trewavas walked over to Morse's platform and continued playing the organ, while Morse took over the bass parts - playing it while it was still strapped on to Trewavas. This was a very awkward sight, and the two were aware of this, as they were laughing and making fun like some children (this concert is being recorded gentlemen, so behave...)
Trewavas did a pretty good job of the organ solo and also Stolt stopped playing and walked over to the keyboard rig flipping some switches which made the organ produce a richer sound. Trewavas just played on and on, completely being absorbed in his own playing, until Morse tapped him on the shoulder saying "that's quite enough Pete...". Under a loud applause he went back to his spot.

The next solo was for Daniel Gildenlow, and for the duration of his guitar solo he was completely in the spotlights. After his solo it was time for some singing again and it was fun to watch Pete cueing Neal "you sing" and Neal replying: "No, YOU sing!" after which Pete worked his way giggling to the half-forgotten lyrics. This wasn't a flawless rendition, far from it, but it was a true, entertaining piece of music. Fantastic stuff.

The crowd still hadn't had enough, but Mike Portnoy explained: "we'd love to stay and play more, but this is all we've fucking got!" and as the band left the stage, the house lights and music were quickly switched on to make sure people would really leave this time. And some 2500 happy, smiling faces did so.

To me this was one of the best gigs of the year. A fantastic proof that prog-epics don't necessarily need to be serious and boring. The band was having lots of fun onstage and it sparked upon the audience. For some people there was a bit of overkill of epics, but I think the major part of the audience thoroughly enjoyed the performance.
It is also surprising how well this band plays together, taking in mind that they only have a total of about two months experience of playing together (two studio albums, the US tour, and now this tour). There is no denying the talents of the individual members, but four great musicians don't make a band alone. There has to be some sort of vibe when playing together, and that was definitely there. Only Stolt seems to be a bit of a loner in the band. I like his playing in the studio and his songwriting abilities (both for Transatlantic as for his own Flower Kings) but live he just couldn't convince me. About four times he messed up when singing his own lyrics and most of the time he seemed to be more busy following the cameras and pulling faces to them (especially to the one that was filming Morse) than playing his parts.
Furthermore it struck me that he was completely playing his own gig tonight. Whereas the others were constantly keeping eye contact, cueing eachother and in between the songs joking around, Stolt just seemed to be in a completely different world.
I have no criticism towards his musical abilities (apart from him messing up most of his vocal parts) but as a person he doesn't really seem to fit in the band. This became very obvious after the gig, when the other four were embracing eachother, taking a bow and enjoying the applause they received, and Stolt was standing on his own, a bit on the side, with a look on his face saying "can we go now?"

As for Daniel Gildenlow, that man deserves extra credit. Taking care of guitar, keyboard, pedal and vocal duties, he certainly has been a good choice as an extra touring member. If there ever is to be a next chapter in Transatlantic, they would do well inviting Gildenlow over as well.

In all, it was a highly enjoyable evening. Of course, they played long, over-indulgent stuff, but heck, that's what Transatlantic's all about, right? Can't wait for the DVD to be released.


November 12th, 013, Tilburg, The Netherlands, by Martijn Semmelink

After 2 studio albums and a somewhat strange early live-album release, superband Transatlantic headed to Europe to do a small tour. Off course they didn't miss Holland on this tour so yesterday I and somewhat 3000 other progfans where heading to 013 in Tilburg to witness this unique show.

Why unique would you say? Well, Transatlantic is a progrock project with the following members: Neal Morse (keys/guitar: from the #1 progrock band Spock's Beard) Mike Portnoy (drums: from American progmetalband Dream Theater, Pete Trewavas (bass: from the legendary Marillion in the days they were actually becoming legendary) and Roine Stolte(Guitar: guitarist of Swedish classic progband The Flower Kings)

10 minutes after we found ourselves a place left to the stage the intro-tape of Duel With The Devil (from Bridge Across Forever) started and the 3000 fans were going nuts. The first of many epics was a fact. Personally this song isn't my favourite since it is somewhat too long IMO, but hearing it live was a different story. Very well done! After this first song of the night clocking at 27 minutes Neal Morse introduced all the band members and a special 5th tour member Daniel Gildenlow from Swedish Pain and Salvation, playing some extra guitar and keyboard parts. Neal also warned us that if we came to the show with the intention to see short songs we should get the hell out of there. Or to state Portnoy: 'Nothing but fucking epics tonight!'. After this funny chat the intro to My New World (from SMPTE) started and the second epic was a fact! Roine had some difficulties remembering the lyrics. In fact, not only with the lyrics but also with his guitar parts. He seemed to be a little absent this night or maybe he is just this kind of guy.
What really impressed me next to the musicianship were the vocal harmonies during this song. Flesh creeps only flesh creeps, need no more to say.
Daniel also added a 5th voice here and then giving it an even more majestic sound.
The first balledish song was We All Need Some Light, dedicated to the New York people. This day the world heard the sad news that again a plane was crashed in New York because of an accident.
After this very emotional part of the night it was time for some fun with Suite Charlotte Pike. During the song they added some medleys. I was confronted with the fact that I was born 20 years too late J What the hell were they playing?
After this 20 minute half-Transatlantic-half-medley-epic the band played the epic of epics: Stranger In Your Soul! Wow, my favourite ultimate epic! This song contains everything that an epic should contain IMO. My evening was complete, without knowing that there was even more to come!!!!!

At the end of this 26+ epic mayhem the members thanked us again for being an amazing crowd. To mention: this show in Holland was filmed and recorded.
The band got off the stage for about 5 minutes and returned for the final opus All Of The Above (from SMPTE). Again 31+(!!!) minutes of epic were being played with the same enthusiasm as at the beginning of the show!

What was left was a full packed 013, with the light still out, no members on stage anymore but an immense crowd noise. Everyone was excited as hell and wanted more, more mayhem. After 15 minutes of screaming as loud as everyone could the band again entered the stage for yet another epic: Pink Floyd's Shine On You Crazy Diamond.
3 hours of pure music, how often can you witness that these days?
I think everyone had a feeling of satisfaction at the end of the night, sure I had!


November 17th, Music Hall, Berlin, Germany, by Andreas Vogel

In the multifarious layers of the art world today, there is a little area where musical endowment, wit, creativity, technical ingenuity, charm and resourcefulness occur in remarkably high concentrations. It is a cluster of separate constituents, each one contributing for what it is suited best. Sometimes the assembly dissolves for a while, but it recurrently solidifies to resume activity and roam the world. Where it comes, there is much rejoicing, and people want the group badly to stay longer. They call it Transatlantic.

Last week, the group has stopped over in Berlin's Music Hall, a fine venue actually. I arrived early, just in time to witness the sound check from the outside. They played part of Shine on, and it sounded great. The walls were shaking and vibrating with the power from within, and I realized I was in for a mind-blowing show. The doors opened, and after each fan had been meticulously frisked (Weapons? Cameras? Anthrax?), the waiting began. The stage lay half-dark, with a few orange spotlights tastefully arranged. The air seemed a bit hazy, but not from cigarette smoke. And through the haze, every now and then mysterious gentlemen crossed the stage, for no apparent reason - perhaps to distract the crowd from the fact that the band was behind schedule. When after half an hour they kept playing piece after piece of piped music, the people grew seriously impatient. Angry shouts went up, urging whistles rang out, and- but there was a stir on stage! A figure stepped into the orange glow, and the mood changed abruptly. It was Mister Neal Morse, raising his arms triumphantly. A wave of applause engulfed him, and he smilingly enjoyed. He didn't say a word, but lowered his arms to trigger on his keyboard the cello intro to what was to become a smashing rendition of Duel with the Devil.

During the intro Pete, Roine, Mike and Daniel took their places (Daniel Gildenlöw, of Sweden's fine progressive metal band Pain of Salvation, served as a helping hand during the tour.). They joined, and within seconds the audience had transcended to some higher level - you just couldn't help being captivated by the composition, its sheer beauty and spirit, and the performance's enormous precision. The attention focused on Neal again when he started to sing. His personality literally invaded the hall, and if the word 'charisma' didn't exist, Neal Morse would prompt the world to coin it. Much has been said about his musical ingenuity, and indeed: a few minutes in his presence confirm even the most high-flown praise. It seems that if Neal cut his hand, he'd bleed music instead of blood.

Duel with the Devil came across much more forceful than it does on the CD, and the possibility to directly observe the members' individual contributions opened up a whole new way to enjoy the track. Some twenty-six minutes after it had begun the duel came to an end. The band introduced themselves and started to joke in a matchlessly casual manner - I understood something about underwear. Then Morse announced a song "penned by Mister Stolt": My New World, one of my personal favourites of 'SMPTe'. And along it went, flawlessly. Well, not quite. Mister Stolt took the liberty of forgetting a few lines of what he had penned. But he took it easy, lala-ed a bit and almost burst out laughing with it. Apart from this scene, Roine showed only little traces of emotion during the show. I guess he is that type of person, somewhat reserved, cool and deadpan most of the time. All his passion is expressed in the fabulous music he creates.

Roine and Neal partnered up for a mellow guitar intro which evolved into the rousing We all need some Light. I was struck by how frenetically the crowd sang along - as if the song was some thirty-year-old classic. And it's definitely got what it takes to reach such glory - let's wait and see. Great stuff at any rate. Following that, Morse announced, "It's time for a jam!", and the band broke loose for a full-blast Suite Charlotte Pike. The track's patchworky structure predestined it to include some playful cover bits, and its beatlesque attitude already pointed to the appropriate choice: Transatlantic worked quite a few 'Abbey Road' classics into the piece: You never give me your Money, She came in through the Bathroom Window, Golden Slumbers, Carry that Weight, and The End. The combination worked fantastically, and it was delightful to see the boys having so much fun while playing. When Neal departed for the first insert on his keyboards, he pretended to be surprised himself, looked down on his fingers and muttered, "I have no idea what that is.". Mike Portnoy joked about extending the song towards the epical length of thirty minutes, throwing in remarks like "We're almost up to twenty-two!" Speaking of Mike, I cannot help resorting to a couple of superlatives: he surely is the most impressive drummer I have come to experience, and he is also the most professional and gifted one. And the funniest. One instant you see him standing in his drum kit, not playing but joking and gesticulating, and the moment you think, 'Isn't he supposed to be joining the music now?', he's got a drumstick in his hand and strikes the cymbals with absolute precision. Masterly indeed. By the way, I think they made the thirty minutes in the end.

"If you gotta pee, go do it now!", exclaimed Mike, and the next track was clear: Stranger in your Soul! Being a track that reveals the more heavier side of Transatlantic, its bone-crunching parts surely affected the auditory nerves of those standing close to the speakers. During one of the frantic instrumental whirls, there was no holding Neal behind his keys; he streaked over to Portnoy's residence and joined him on the drums. Back on his keyboards, Morse performed a splendid piano solo later on. With the vocals being shared by all four members, the song received another dynamic edge, and thus it flowed and rocked towards its inevitable end, which also served as the end of the regular set.

The band pretended to say goodbye, went backstage for a short while and came back, with Portnoy giggling, "En encore, what a surprise!". Well, it turned out to be some kind of a surprise indeed, as the band delivered All of the above in its entirety! And it was a killer. The crowd sang along cheerfully, in particular with the 'Undying Love' theme (I found myself singing, or- screaming the words as well). Before, Pete Trewavas lay out the way for the ravishing 'Camouflaged in Blue' bit with his beautiful bass line, and Portnoy had difficulties in silencing the fans' constant clapping to make them enjoy Pete's show. Come to that, it seems that Mike holds Pete in very high esteems; during Suite Charlotte Pike, he had introduced Pete's solo that way: "Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, cats and dogs! We give you the incomparable, the unbeatable, the insurmountable, the un&§%$!able- Pete Trewavas!". And right he is! This man is a hell of a bass player.

Another thirty minutes went by - much too fast. The boys bowed down and paid tribute to their fantastic audience. And that was the end, finally. Or was it? The audience kept applauding although the band had long disappeared. The piped music had started again, and strange people began to cross the stage for obscure reasons. Yet the audience kept applauding. Shouting. Whistling. But no. It was too long now. Eight minutes, ten? I don't know. Let's go. The big lights went on - and off again! I pulled my head around and peered at the stage: The band was back! I heard Pete say "This is incredible." And it was. Soon the first dreamlike notes of Shine on you crazy Diamond filled the air. What other song could be more appropriate to end such a show than this epoch-making milestone? (The more so now, as the 'Pink Floyd' chapter has more or less found its completion with the release of 'Echoes'…) Gildenlöw got the opportunity to perform a solo of his own; Morse pushed him in the foreground, into the spotlight. All through the show Daniel had done a great job, and the band were apparently very grateful for his support.

The song pounded along with Transatlantician power, and during the verses the boys took turns with the vocals again. Not everyone of them was completely sure about his respective lyrics, but who cares? The piece became the celebration of a whole breed of brilliant musicians that has enriched the world of music for decades. And of that breed, Stolt, Morse, Portnoy and Trewavas have proven to be some of the most noteworthy individuals. If you haven't experienced them yet, go do it now! It's a revelation of sorts.


November 17th, Music Hall, Berlin, Germany, by Petr Lux

Well, I've never written a concert review before. So, I'd be happy if you forgive me any imperfection...

I am from Czech Republic, and since my country is quite small, there aren't so many possibilities to visit a good prog-music concert (exceptions such as Dream Theater are very very welcome). So after visiting Dream Theater / Spock's Beard concert in Berlin on March 31st 2000 and Spock's Beard show on October 16th 2000, me and my 4 friends finally decided to visit a Transatlantic gig in Berlin (which is not that far from Prague, Czech Republic's capital).

The show took place in Music Hall, which doesn't look very nice from the outside, but is nice when you're inside. The stage is very low here and that was pretty cool, since you are as close to the musicians as possible. I've never been to a kind of "face to face" show, so it was very pleasant experience.

The stage set-up was quite unusual, i. e. the same as you might seen during Transatlantic's last tour. The musicians were (from the beholder's view - on the stage left to right): Neal Morse (keyboards, vocals), Daniel Gildenlow (from Pain Of Salvation - guitars, keyboards and vocals), Roine Stolt (guitars vocals), Pete Trewavas (bass, bass pedals, vocals), Mike Portnoy (drums, vocals). Due to the fact, that Mike Portnoy's drum kit was very close to the edge (of the stage, of course), fans could see his every single hit... and also the crowd was very dense in the front of his kit.

Well, the show should have started at 21:00, but it eventually started at 21:30 or so (I'm not sure about the time, because I had left my watch at home).
Right before the beginning of the show, the guy from the crew had put set-list on the floor, so I knew what was going to be performed, but it didn't matter in the end.

The show began with Duel With The Devil. While the audience was listening to the first notes of string intro from CD, the band got on the stage and began to play.
I must say that the whole band really rocked from the very first second of their performance!!! The songs (not only the first one) were very precisely performed. You could almost imagine that it is played back from a CD! I cannot say anything about how good the overall sound was because I was right in front of the stage and everything I could hear was only the sound coming from the stage. But there was really raw and natural sound there, although the vocals were very hard to hear from time to time. They could be properly heard from the P.A. system only and the P.A. speakers were behind my back.

Pete Trewavas was incredible. He is really live performer. Almost a half of the show he was tapping on the bass pedals (he was almost dancing upon them) and I must admit that using the pedals did a great work to the whole sound of the band.

Roine Stolt seemed a little bit phlegmatic (he looks to be quite shy guy) but played OK.

Mike Portnoy played very heavily yet lightly. He was in perfect form as usually. I very enjoyed looking at him. He's like an octopus. I think he would manage to play two drumkits... He is also a big entertainer. He was grimacing and smiling and he was very cheerful...

The guitarist/singer Daniel Gildenlow from the Swedish band Pain Of Salvation did a nice job. However, I often couldn't hear, what he was playing.

Neal Morse was unbelievable!!! Imagine a man singing and playing two keyboards during the whole gig without any noticeable mistakes. I was amazed. I knew he was able to do that but even after seeing him live I still cannot believe... I think he was simply stunning. He was in a very good form too! He sang really like in the studio. I know that when you're in live concert, everything sounds more perfect than it really is. But I think Neal sang very good. He was smiling and grimacing just as Portnoy and they were smiling and looking at each other very often. Very cheerful guys.

The second composition the band played was My New World. The audience recognised it after the first couple of notes and applauded very loud. The performance was excellent again. Even vocal harmonies were quite OK and it was pretty obvious the fans liked the older stuff much more than the new songs. Stolt sang his parts quite good.

The third song was We All Need Some Light. I think it is one of the most beautiful ballads ever written. The audience sang all the verses and choruses. However I didn't like the acoustic guitar solo by Neal too much. It wasn't as tender as the one he did on the album version.

Right after that they continued with Suite Charlotte Pike. Listening to a CD, I didn't like this track too much. I liked Mike Portnoy's idea to assemble a kind of Abbey Road medley of the unfinished bits and short pieces of their songs but the result wasn't as good as I expected it to be. But the live version was really wild!!! The big surprise came after a few moments when Neal Morse started to play You Never Give Me Your Money, which originally appeared on Beatles' opus Abbey Road. The whole medley was almost 30 minutes long mixture of both Suite Charlotte Pike and Abbey Road pieces. The band played more than one half of the Abbey Road's second side, including You Never Give Me Your Money, Mean Mr. Mustard, Polythene Pam, She Came In Through The Bathroom Window, Golden Slumbers, Carry That Weight and The End. Neal Morse played (besides keyboards) black Parker Fly guitar and the whole band got pretty wild. And so did the crowd. I supposed the whole medley would end with the endless chorus of the fifth part of Suite Charlotte Pike "Don't Want To Hear It Now", but it didn't. The band ended this nice medley with funny polka version of Her Majesty!!! Really cool.

Then the strings began to play again and we knew we were listening to the Stranger In Your Soul intro. I need to say that there were some of the greatest and most beautiful moments of the whole gig during this epic. I especially loved the fourth part Awakening The Stranger, which was introduced by Neal Morse's ingenious piano improvisation. This part (with Neal gently singing) was simply breathtaking. The second strong moment came up with the song's grand finale, the part called the Stranger In Your Soul. It was very monumental. That was a great ending!

The band did thank us for coming and went backstage. But the audience wanted more. I personally expected truly their best epic. And I knew they were going to do it (remeber I had read the setlist before). We started to chant "All Of The Above" and when the band came back, Mike Portnoy said nothing but "What a surprise!".

It was quite funny, because if you'd looked at the setlist you would have seen All Of The Above written under the line, which would have meant that the band should have played all of the above (i. e. all the songs again). But they played "only" one song and its name was All Of The Above. I consider this track being the highlight of the show. It truly represents the hybrid nature of Transatlantic and for me it was the best encore I'd wish for. There were some great parts again, e. g. Soldier Of Fortune (starting with Pete Trewavas' superb bass riff!).

I think that 30 minutes long encore should be enough. But it wasn't. The fans didn't want the band to leave and had been clapping their hands and yelling for almost 10 minutes. Even after the lights went on and the background music started to play and the stage-tech switched all the amps off!
The noise didn't seem to cease and that was why the band decided to return to the stage!!! It was unbelievable! They decided to play one more the song (i. e. another 15+ minutes) to please their persistent fans. They did Pink Floyd's Shine On You Crazy Diamond, which was very nice indeed, although it was obvious that the band didn't play this tune regularly. Despite of all the little mistakes it was a gorgeous closing of the whole show!

What should I say in the end? For me (and perhaps for most of the fans) it was very unique and totally fabulous show! If you like prog or even don't know what the prog music is about I would totally recommend to you to see these guys live! That's where their power is!

Setlist:

Duel With The Devil
[i. Motherless Children, ii. Walk Away, iii. Silence Of The Night, iv. You're Not Alone, v. Almost Home]
My New World
We All Need Some Light
Suite Charlotte Pike and Abbey Road Medley
[i. If She Runs, ii. Mean Mr. Mustard, iii. Polythene Pam, iv. She Came Through The Bathroom Window, v. Mr Wonderful, vi. Lost and Found pt 1, vii. Golden Slumbers, viii. Carry That Weight, ix. Motherless Children/If She Runs reprise, x. The End, xi. Sleeping Wide Awake ending, xii. Her Majesty]
Stranger In Your Soul
[i. Sleeping Wide Awake, ii. Hanging In The Balance, iii. Lost And Found pt.2, iv. Awakening The Stranger, v. Slide, vi. Stranger In Your Soul]

All Of The Above
[i. Full Moon Rising, ii. October Winds, iii. Camouflaged In Blue, iv. Half Alive, v. Undying Love, vi. Full Moon Reprise]

Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Not in London)


Note: If any one has anything to add to above reviews, or a review of a gig that isn't here yet, or any photos of the tour, please send them to me, and I'll add them.
Also, check out Neal Morse's tour diary on the official website.

 

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2003 DPRP