DVD Review: Transatlantic – KaLIVEoscope

There’s something about visuals that make the live experience come to life.  Despite the classic status of so many, live albums have never made any impact with me.  Hearing rougher, sloppier versions of songs I love rarely is something that interests me, so I will admit that I am not always the best judge of live material.  However, concert DVDs are another animal altogether.  Being able to watch the bands, seeing how the ply their trade on their instruments, is something that captivates me more than I can explain.  Seeing masters at work is thrilling, and the combination of audio and visual makes me appreciate what it must be like to stand in the audience and witness greatness at work.

Transatlantic are no strangers to the form, having released more live works than studio works at this point.  People will complain about the flood of releases, but since live releases are easy to ignore, I don’t see any reason to gripe.  Those who don’t get them all aren’t missing out on any new music, so I fail to see the problem.

“KaLIVEoscope” documents the short tour Transatlantic embarked on to support their modern masterpiece, “Kaleidoscope”, earlier this year.  Over the course of two and a half hours, the band presents the full album, which is just as spectacular here as on record.  Adding a few of their classic tracks, this is a concert that I wish I could have been able to see live.

As with the album, we open with “Into The Blue”, the stunning epic that is the most fully-realized piece of long-form music Transatlantic has put together.  It flows effortlessly through it’s 25 minutes, and Ted Leonard takes the place of Daniel Gildenlow here, doing a fine job of supporting the band.  Roine Stolt’s main riff is still a thing of beauty, with all the crushing power that a heavier band would kill for.  When the last chorus comes around, it’s almost hymnal hearing the band and crowd singing as one.

There’s an odd moment following, when Roine changes guitars, picking one that made me think my copy had a glitch in it.  His guitar features a fretting system that has jagged lines, which is bizarrely fascinating to look at.  The band rips through the old standard “My New World”, and shorter tracks “Shine” and “Black As The Sky”, which is easily one of the best songs the band has ever written.  Epics are in no short supply, with a medley of “The Whirlwind”, featuring that album’s best movement, “Rose Colored Glasses”, while the closing medley of “All Of The Above” and “Stranger In Your Soul” is a fitting way to signal the end of yet another successful album cycle.

The only mistake marring this release is the re-recording of Pete Trewavas’ vocals, which are glaring in the mix.  He sounds fake, and the difference takes me right out of the experience.  It’s a small fault, but one that didn’t need to happen.

The rest of the two and a half hours of music are nothing short of a spiritual experience, exploring the power and beauty of music.  Transatlantic are one of the best bands on the planet, and “KaLIVEoscope” shows why.  This is a fantastic document of a masterful album.

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