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(Inside Out)
Release Date: 27th October 2014

Ian Sutherland

ian sutherland


Transatlantic are an international progressive rock supergroup so of course their motto if they have one is not less is more but more is more.

Every time they release a new album of lengthy, superbly performed epics they tour and then release live albums and/or dvds containing live versions, covers and as much more as they can cram in. Their fans lap all this up and so on the back of the release of their fourth studio album 'Kaleidoscope' earlier this year and the subsequent touring it's time for the snappilly titled but hard to spell 'KaLIVEoscope'.

This release is available in a mulitiplicity of formats of blu-ray, DVD and CD combinations but basically there are two recordings available with a show filmed in Cologne and audio from shows in Tilburg. I actually think that makes a nice change in this sort of package as usually you get dvd and audio versions of the same show. This time those of a pedantic disposition can examine each version of each song closely to see what the differences are.

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Primarily this is about how these four niche progressive rock superstars on stage doing their thing translates to being watched on your TV at home and I think the answer is very well. If you like the more epic side of progressive rock then Transatlantic's enjoyment of accepting the premise that making songs with length and full of big, grand ideas is a good thing is writ large all over this footage and makes it watchable as well as listenable.

The unusual stage set up has ex Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy's kit side on to the crowd but this allows him to connect with the audience more easily. So far as anyone in this band is a front man it's Portnoy, he's the one that does most of the talking, most of the jumping about and most of the encouragement to the adoring fans present here to sing or clap along.

The other three band members (Marillion's Pete Trewavas, The Flower King's Roine Stott and ex Spock's Beard man Neil Morse for the uninitiated) interact less often with the crowd but play away in front of the inevitable video projections with all the aplomb and dexterity you might expect.

The fifth musician on stage helping to fill out the sound on keyboards, guitar and vocals is Ted Leonard from Spock's Beard (the progressive rock fraternity is a small and often incestuous one!) and he is as unobtrusive as he can be while doing his job really well.


I like Transatlantic a lot, they manage to take their chosen medium and weave musical tapestries of melody and invention which work as long songs and not just self indulgent excuses to show off their undoubted musical skills. What makes this work live and on your TV at home is the sheer exuberance and enjoyment the band appear to be having. They completely lack the pretensions of the '70s prog bands who inspired them and don't take themselves seriously at all. They are obviously having fun playing and above all they smile a lot. It's infectious!

Musically here you get songs from their whole catalogue of work including of course much of 'Kaleidoscope' as well as excerpts from the seventy four minute song that was the last studio album 'The Whirlwind' and the uplifting sing along that is 'We All Need Some Light' from their debut album.

Depending which version you buy you may get some covers from the Tilburg shows in a nice attempt at The Moody Blues' 'Nights In White Satin' and surprisingly ragged(by Transatlantic standards) versions of Focus' 'Sylvia' and 'Hocus Pocus' with Thijs Van Leer as a guest.

I suspect Transatlantic are one of those Marmite bands people love or hate. I think that's a shame because they have much to offer anyone with an interest in melody and well crafted music played by superb musicians, even if you don't buy into the idea behind progressive rock. However this release is aimed squarely at their already committed fan base and I think they'll be very happy with it. I do wonder how often people sit through a whole show like this once purchased though.

Line up:
Neal Morse - lead vocals, keyboard, guitar
Mike Portnoy - drums, lead and backing vocals
Roine Stolt - guitar, lead vocals
Pete Trewavas - bass guitar, lead and backing vocal


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