DVD review: TRANSATLANTIC – KaLiveoscope


Inside Out [Release date: 28.10.14]

I’m maybe the wrong person to review this DVD.  Or perhaps the best.  Because while I’m familiar with the name and the fact the band’s a side project ‘supergroup’ I couldn’t previously have told you the first thing about them apart from the fact there’s a Marillion connection.

Originally coming together in 1999 the band comprises Neal Morse (Spock’s Beard) on lead vocals, keyboards and guitar, Dream Theater co-founder Mike Portnoy on drums, lead and backing vocals, Flower Kings’ Roine Stolt on guitar and lead vocals, and Marillion’s Pete Trewavas on bass guitar, lead and backing vocals.

I was somewhat amazed to discover the extent of their subsequent output that includes 4 studio albums, 4 live albums and 6 previous video releases.  That said, they really only seem to have made much of a splash in Northern Europe and Scandinavia, although their latest release Kaleidoscope won album of the year at the 2014 Progressive Music Awards and with their previous studio album The Whirlwind (2009) progressively more interest has been stirred in the UK and across the Atlantic.

Captured in Cologne in Germany where they’ve had most success, KaLIVEoscope, as the title suggests, finds the band touring their Kaleidoscope release supported by touring member Ted Leonard (Enchant, and Spock’s Beard) on guitar.  As Portnoy succinctly  puts it ‘it’s a long night of prog epics’.

And in many ways, spanning their catalogue, it’s the perfect introduction to the band.  Majoring on Morse and Stolt’s soaring keys and guitar work, the musical tapestry is never too far removed from the prog template carved into stone by Yes and Genesis in particular.  Perhaps all that’s lacking is a charismatic vocal centre point, but one suspects that might actually detract from the power of a collective in which they clearly enjoy equal footing.

Nicely shot, it’s a consummately delivered set spanning over 2 and half hours, available in 3 versions – a limited edition Deluxe Edition Box Set (Cologne DVD + 3 Tilburg audio CDs + Cologne BluRay + Bonus DVD), a Special Edition Digipak (3 Tilburg audio CDs + Cologne DVD) – remarkable value at only £16.99 on pre-order from Amazon, and BluRay (Cologne – 1 disc).

The converted will already have this on their Xmas list.  For those still in the dark, this is well worth exploring.  But as Portnoy equally succinctly suggests, make sure you’ve emptied your bladder before pressing ‘play’.  ****

Review by Pete Whalley

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