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An Evening With Transatlantic: Whirld Tour 2010 – Deluxe Edition
Artist: Transatlantic
DVD / CD package
English, stereo – option for 5.1 surround
Metal Blade / Radiant Records DVD
5 hours and 12 minutes (DVDs) 103 minutes: 32 seconds (CDs)

One thing's for sure – these guys pull out all the stops when they put together a package. An Evening With Transatlantic: Whirld Tour 2010 is a mammoth 2 DVD set augmented by a 3 CD audio set, each aspect – visual and audio – in its own smartly put together book-style case and accompanied by a well-illustrated, elegantly designed color booklet. All of these goodies are neatly contained in a colorful cardboard slipcase that will see a lot of action as you explore the incredible amount of content in this project.

Progmeisters Roine Stolt (The Flower Kings), Pete Trewavas (Marillion), Neal Morse (ex-Spock's Beard) and Mike Portnoy (ex-Dream Theater), the members of the seven-year dormant Transatlantic, are joined onstage by Pain Of Salvation's Daniel Gildenlöw, who energetically rounds out the big prog sound on guitar and keyboards. Not that these guys are in any way lacking the necessary skills... but Morse, who pretty much stays on keyboard this time (as well as singing, of course), Stolt, who combines classic rock and prog guitar stylings better than just about anyone, Trewavas, who plays a strong, tasty, yet restrained bass, and the explosive drummer, Mike Portnoy, set out to so faithfully recreate the layered sound of their recent studio epic, “The Whirlwind,” that the fifth member was recruited. The result is an astounding marathon of prog, rock, metal and psychedelia – the kind of show that fans of this supergroup have come to expect. The DVD set puts you right there, effectively part of the crowd at Shepherd's Bush Empire, London.

The more than five hours of video on the two DVDs features a live performance of “The Whirlwind” in all its glory, plus “All of the Above,” “We All Need Some Light,” “Duel With the Devil,” “Bridge Across Forever,” “Stranger in Your Soul,” plus a 'bonus' track featuring original Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett joining the band on “The Return of the Giant Hogweed.” The multiple camera set-up features every view you'd want: crane shots from above, covering the whole stage, tight shots of each player as if you were standing next to them onstage, floor-level shots and shots from behind the band, looking toward the audience. The directing and editing makes perfect sense and doesn't succumb to the kind of stylistic excess that tends to distract from, instead of enhance, the performance.

The second DVD also includes an extensive documentary / band interview segment which takes you on a virtual tour diary with the band, loading and unloading in various cities, motels, hotels and venues. Much of this has a 'home movie' quality about it, giving the viewer an intimate inside look at the way the band works, the dynamics of the personalities, and the excitement and tedium of life on the road. By the time you're through, you'll know that Stolt is the quiet one, Portnoy is full of humor and boundless energy, Morse is obsessive and enthusiastic, and Trewavas is a steady, solid and serious musician. Although these roles are frequently exchanged, you still get a glimpse of what makes these men tick and why it results in consistently solid performances like the ones caught here.

The three CDs capture the impeccable live performances (except for “The Return of the Giant Hogweed”) in a format you can listen to in your car (on long trips!) or whenever you want to simply enjoy the music without sitting in front of your TV.

The performances, in glorious 5.1 sound on the DVDs, are indeed wonderful. Everyone is in top form, with all members contributing vocals as well as playing their signature instruments. The interaction on stage enhances the over-all experience of the music with Portnoy doing amazing work behind the drum kit as well as often serving as cheerleader, rabble-rouser and master of ceremonies. Morse turns in his usual stunning, exacting performance on keyboards and vocals, while Stolt, looking quite dashing in his Van Dyke, serves up some wonderful sixties-inspired Zappa-influenced guitar work. Under it all is the steady, articulate, always spot-on bass work of Mr. Trewavas, who holds things together on the bottom end, contrasting with the youngest band member, Daniel Gildenlöw, who performs his duties perfectly, while having fun playing the role of rock-star in his demeanor.

This is good stuff and plenty of it. Certainly a must-have for fans of Transatlantic or any of the bands represented by the band members. Dive into this whirlwind and enjoy the ride.

Bert Saraco
5 tocks

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