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Transatlantic: Transatlantic Whirld Tour 2009-Live From Shepherd's Bush Empire, London (DVD)

The Transatlantic tour took place in April following practice sessions in Southern California then finished up in July. This is all documented on this set.

The TA performance from Shepherd's Bush Empire in London includes 147 minutes of footage from the first set on disc one. Keep in mind that this band has not performed together in over 9 years so what you will see is quite incredible based on that fact alone. Those of us familiar with all these fine musicians and their projects know how good they are and we should not be surprised that this performance is nothing short of spectacular. As a bonus Steve Hackett (formerly of early Genesis, when they were prog) comes on stage to perform a Genesis classic "The Return Of The Giant Hogweed" at their High Voltage Festival performance, the last stop on the tour. Of course, Hackett is simply amazing and Portnoy and everyone else are just beaming with delight to have him out there playing a prog-rock gem like that.

The first set kicks off appropriately with "The Whirlwind", the title track from their ambitious 2009 double studio album (see review). The next three tracks 'All Of The Above", "We All Need Some Light" and "Duel With Devil" are extensive and solid proof of the band's prowess as musicians and entertainers in that configuration even after a 9 year layoff. It's a given that any prog song live is going to have improvisation and a guarantee that it will be an extended version of an already extensive track. This of course is what everyone wants in a live session and Transatlantic does not disappoint for one second. What I appreciate with this band is that they are not flashy or bombastic in any way; they just play good music with a flair for mixing classic prog with modern day twists and turns.

The second DVD is160 minutes in length bumping up the ante for the entire prog package which includes a road documentary (ala homemade via a lot of Neal's own video camera), a band interview, and the aforementioned bonus track of the Genesis classic.

"Bridge Across Forever" is an amazing track with shifting atmospheres and outrageous time signatures flying around. The jaw dropping changes are indeed a highlight, although this is typical for a band like Transatlantic, and they make their own way with a definitive stamp that nobody can reproduce.

This is a very special group of individuals and I wish that I would have caught this show live because who knows when it will happen again. Perhaps now that Mike has left Dream Theater some good things could happen (although that saddens me) or some other interesting configurations may come to light suddenly. These prog rock dudes really get around and you just never know when one of them is going to pop up on another project or play with a band you are already familiar with.

My hat is off to the band for adding Daniel Gildenlow to the concert tour. He adds yet another facet and energy to the already outstanding sound they create. His contributions on guitar, keys and backup vocals give their sound an additional texture and layer that is welcome in the live setting. I have no doubt that if TA goes back into the studio, they should consider asking Gildenlow to join them.

If you have been waiting for this to happen, the time is now to grab this DVD set and experience Transatlantic live along with all the other bonuses they offer. The up close coverage you get during the tour makes you feel like you are hanging out with the band, it was a nice touch to get closer to their fans and they should be applauded not only for their musical brilliance but how in touch they stay with their audience.

I have always been so impressed with each member of this band, their humbleness and appreciation for what they do, how they present it, and most of all what they give us in return for supporting them. Thanks to Transatlantic, I have many memories and fantastic music that I can enjoy for the rest of my life. Try finding that on any radio station these days.

The Whirlwind
All of the Above
We All Need Some Light Now
Duel With the Devil
Bridge Across Forever
Stranger in Your Soul
Band Interview
Bonus Track: The Return of the Giant Hogweed, featuring Steve Hackett.

Added: January 5th 2011
Reviewer: Keith Hannaleck
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2612
Language: english

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Transatlantic: Transatlantic Whirld Tour 2009-Live From Shepherd's Bush Empire, London (DVD)
Posted by Ryan Sparks, SoT Staff Writer on 2011-01-05 17:50:59
My Score:

If you look up the definition of super group in the dictionary it has to read Transatlantic. Unless you've been living under a rock for the past ten years, these prog rock titans (are introductions really necessary at this point?) returned to the scene after a lengthy hiatus and issued their third album The Whirlwind late in 2009. The band followed this up with a successful tour of both North American and Europe, with their second to last show at the Shepherd's Bush Empire in London getting the distinguished honor of being filmed for posterity.

It's difficult to single out individual highlights in a concert that runs over three hours in length but suffice to say the band turns in an absolutely stellar performance that finds them feeding off both the energy from the crowd and each other. The show kicks off with a true epic if there ever was one, as from the opening notes of the "The Whirlwind", until its conclusion almost eighty minutes later, the audience is absolutely captivated as the band runs through a multitude of ever shifting arrangements and complex passages. Touring member Daniel Gildenlow, yes that Daniel Gildenlow from Pain of Salvation, seems to be relishing his role onstage as the unofficial 5th member as he is absolutely drenched in sweat by the songs conclusion. At the songs emotionally powerful climax vocalist / keyboardist Neal Morse appears to choking back tears as the enormous applause from the crowd takes over. If the DVD had ended right at that point I can honestly say I would have felt that I had gotten my money's worth, but not to worry this is a Transatlantic show so you know there's plenty more to come, although I'm not sure anything that follows can really match the intensity and emotional impact of this song.

For the next couple of hours the band runs through versions of "All Of The Above", "We All Need Some Light" (lead vocals by Roine Stolt), "Duel With The Devil", "Bridge Across Forever" and "Stranger In Your Soul". Transatlantic aren't a band that's short on epic compositions that's for sure, and by the end of it the crowd has reached something that's akin to prog rock nirvana. As if three hours of live Transatlantic wasn't enough on its own, the guys deliver maximum bang for the buck with a two hour road documentary that captures the rehearsals for the tour, as well as a glimpse of what life on the road with the group is like. Throw in band interview and a killer live version of the boys doing a cover of Genesis' "The Return Of The Giant Hogweed" with special guest Steve Hackett, and you have an absolutely magnificent DVD from beginning to end. Not to mention the camera work and sound throughout the live concert are both excellent.

Something truly magical happens when these four (five) musicians come together. All of the band members state in the interview that they hope to continue to get together in the future to make more Transatlantic music and that it would be foolish for them to stop now. To me this is the best news a progressive rock fan could hear, but until that day comes play this DVD over and over again and revel in their unlimited musical brilliance.

Transatlantic: Transatlantic Whirld Tour 2009-Live From Shepherd's Bush Empire, London (DVD)
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2011-01-04 14:07:10
My Score:

If there is any one DVD that you can purchase this year that displays progressive rock at its full blown bombasticness, this is the one. The guys in Transatlantic hadn't played together in quite a few years prior to their recent tour, but you'll hardly notice any lack of power, finesse, and hunger in the band after witnessing this dynamic performance at Shepherd's Bush Empire.

Though the band doesn' t have a lot of material, many of their classic songs and epics are included here, showing all the players in fine form. For some, the bloated arrangements, abundance of solos, jams, and complex passages might seem a tad overindulgent, but that's what proggers want, and Transatlantic certainly give the fans their money's worth on this DVD.

The camera work is slick, the audio crisp and clear, and the picture quality spot on. What more could you ask for in a modern prog rock concert film?

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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