TransEnoughA real post-Thanksgiving treat from Transatlantic: more than 3 hours of live progressive rock performed by masters of the genre.....


More is Never Enough – Live in Manchester
DVD / CD package (2 DVDs, 3 CDs)
English, stereo – option for 5.1 surround
Metal Blade / Radiant Records DVD

I know it might sound like the title of the next James Bond film, but More is Never Enough is actually the very apt title of the new live DVD/CD collection from Transatlantic – a somewhat prolific band when you consider the fact that they only infrequently emerge, Brigadoon-like, when Neal Morse, Roine Stolt, Pete Trewavas, and Mike Portnoy (this time aided on guitar, percussion, keys and back-up vocals by Daniel Gildenlow) get together. Fortunately, these men do emerge from the mist and band together to make more of their wonderful, complex, emotional, impeccably-performed prog music. ...and for their many fans, more is never quite enough.

This generous package from the good folks at Radiant records is a healthy Thanksgiving-sized portion designed to satiate the musical appetite of any fan of progressive rock. The prog supergroup, made up of members of Spock's Beard (Morse), Dream Theater (Portnoy), Marrillion (Trewavas) and Flower Kings (Stoit), played selections from the three Transatlantic studio albums – of course, when you realize that their most recent studio release, The Whirlwind, consists of one 77 minute piece, the fact that the live performance captured on this DVD set clocks in at more than three hours makes sense. This is, after all, the band that decided to cover Procol Harum's 17-minute magnum opus, "In Held Twas In I" on their first outing!

The first disc is devoted to a live performance of "The Whirlwind" in its entirety, while the second disc is the balance of the concert, featuring impeccable performances of "All of the Above," "We All Need Some Light," "Duel With the Devil," "Bridge Across Forever," and "Stranger in Your Soul," with the added element of the energy of performing before a receptive, fired-up crowd.

The concert is wonderfully photographed by a seven-camera team. We get long shots of the band inter-cut with close-up shots that will delight the musicians out there: the director cuts to Stoit's fingers on the fretboard at just the right moments, as well as giving us plenty of views from (and of) Portnoy's drum kit, Morse's keyboard and Trewavas' left hand racing up and down the neck of his bass.

Daniel Gildenlow adds some genuine young rock-star ambiance to this group of somewhat elder statesmen, combining good stage presence with first-rate playing and spot-on back-up singing. Trewavas, more hobbit-like in stature, is a delight, as he animatedly plays the important bass lines to perfection. Stoit's guitar work is stunning, dexterous, full of character and fire, and often Zappa-like in tone and attack. Of course, Morse and Portnoy (frequent musical partners) do their thing, with Morse being the vocal center-point and all-important keyboard man, and Portnoy acting as amiable and slightly crazy co-host ...oh, and playing like a man possessed, of course! All together, these five men create an awful lot of big-sounding music, full of fantastic instrumental runs, tight harmonies, frequently-changing time signatures – orchestral in scope, but with rock and roll at its heart.

Shot without intrusive special effects, the performance is allowed to shine. The picture quality is excellent, as is the sound (play it loud). This is one that you might want to invite friends over for. Lower the lights, crank the sound system, and join the crowd in Manchester for a night of state-of-the-art prog. Like the crowd in that theater, even after the second, 'real' encore – you'll want more, too. But until the next tour, there's this fine DVD set.....

Bert Saraco

4 1/2 tocks