One can only hope (in vain it seems) that the title is a red herring, and it doesn’t signal the last offering from this Prog supergroup who have produced five compelling studio albums of first-rate music and delivered unforgettable live shows.
If this is to be their parting gift then it’s an incredibly special one, no surprise there, with both audio and visual extravaganzas on offer, as is always the case with this band. This review is limited to the CDs, but I’m in no doubt the Blu-Ray will be up to the usual high standard, everything they do is quality. It sounds like an authentic live recording, thankfully no fixing in the studio.
The near three-hour set opens with a full rendition of their latest epic album, ‘The Absolute Universe – The Ultimate Edition’ (the longest of the three variants), aided by Ted Leonard (Spock’s Beard, Enchant, Pattern-Seeking Animals) on multiple instruments to help reproduce the depth of the material; he’s no anonymous sideman either as they allow him a significant part in proceedings. There are a few differences to the studio versions to keep things fresh as the band produced some new elements, so they’ve created variation number four.
The music ebbs and flows superbly throughout, with many and varied earworms filling the soundscape, thus maintaining one’s attention throughout; the ability to create such memorable phrases and motifs never ceases to amaze. Needless to say, the playing from everyone is first-rate and astonishing when one considers the range and length of the music on offer. This recording comes from the last show of the tour, so they were very slick by that stage.
Disc 3 has the encores, there aren’t many bands who do eighty minutes worth of those. Given the expanse of their material, they chose to do two lengthy medleys, one from the ‘Whirlwind’ album and the other pulling material from their debut and ‘Bridge Over Forever’ releases; surprisingly nothing’s included from ‘Kaleidoscope.’ These medleys are terrific; in addition, there’s a guitar duet and a splendid rendition of ‘We All Need Some Light’ where Leonard takes some of the lead vocals, the crowd taking on the chorus is a nice moment, their participation here and elsewhere adds rather than detracts from the performance.
Yet another exceptional live release from Transatlantic, fingers crossed they’ll be back.
Reviewer & Album Information
Reviewer: Gary Marshall
Issue Reviewed In: #102