Transatlantic
Kaleidoscope
27/01/2014
CD & LP
A live release from Transatlantic is always something special. Because it represents this remarkable group of musicians in their pomp. This is certainly true of ‘KaLIVEoscope’; the band's fifth such presentation.

“We tend to put out something live for every tour,” says vocalist/keyboard player Neal Morse. “That's important for us, because not everyone who likes the band can make it along in person, to one of our gigs, so this is a way of ensuring they get to see the show as well.”
The other important reason for capturing the essence of any tour is that it allows the band to display to the world how they have expanded on what's been done in the studio. It gives them the chance to explore fresh dimensions to the original compositions.

“When you take songs out on the road, you always find different ways to express what you've recorded on an album. We certainly do that a lot, which is why every time we play a song live it sounds like no other time we've done it before, or will do it again.”

For Transatlantic – who also feature guitarist/vocalist Roine Stolt, bassist/vocalist Pete Trewavas and drummer/vocalist Mike Portnoy – it's always a challenge to put together a set list for any sequence of dates. Their recording heritage is rich and deep.

“Yeah, it's very tough for us to do that. Mike is the king of the set list, but even so we are always changing things around once we get on the road. You'll find that a song you thought would be good in one part of the set actually works better elsewhere, so the situation is entirely fluid.”

One example here is the presence of 'Beyond The Sun', the Morse-written song from the acclaimed 'Kaleidoscope' album.

“We only added this in a few days before we filmed the DVD for 'KaLIVEoscope' in Cologne,” reveals Morse. “And then Roine thought I should start the song acapella. But I got a cold just before that Cologne show, so I had to sing 'Beyond The Sun' with that hanging over me! It was a challenge, but thankfully I got through it, and it sounds OK. If anything, I feel it added a kind of vulnerability to the performance”

There's a logical reasoning behind the band's decision to film the Cologne night for this DVD, as Morse explains.

“We wanted to choose a date that was well into the touring schedule, because we knew we'd be a lot more relaxed about playing the set by this point. We also wanted to choose a suitable venue for the occasion.”

Despite Morse suffering from the aforementioned cold at the gig, there was never any question of Transatlantic postponing the film schedule until a later night.

“There was no chance of this happening. The film crew were booked and ready, so I just had to go for it. As things turned out, I don't think anyone will hear any hint of a cold in my voice. Overall, this was a really good gig, and the right one for us to film.”

However, the CD here is a recording from a show in Tilburg, not the audio from Cologne.
“Mike came offstage in Tilburg, and said, 'Man, we played so much better tonight than we did on some of the dates'. So, we decided to use the audio from here, which actually means fans are getting a wider variety on the release. Because they are getting the Cologne show on DVD and the Tilburg one on CD.”

The reason Tilburg was recorded at all is down to the venue.

“They have the facility to record all gigs there, and do it automatically. That was great from our point of view.”

Actually, the band played two nights in the Dutch location, and most of the CD comes from the second performance, although there are parts of the previous night from the the encore. And one of the undoubted highlights are covers of Focus classics 'Sylvia' and 'Hocus Pocus'.

“We were joined onstage by (Focus mainman) Thijs Van Leer, which was very special for us. At heart, of course we're still very much fans. So to have anyone of this stature playing with the band means a lot.”

Their high standard of recording and performing is a firm fundamental expose of why Transatlantic are among the best bands in the world, whether in the studio or live. While their musicianship and sophistication endow all their studio recordings with unblemished creativity, the atmosphere of a live show is unquestioned and unquenchable. This is obvious on 'KaLIVEoscope', and gives added value to what this band has always stood for.

“We have been given a gift, and feel very honored to be able to play together, and to attract so many devoted fans. And what you see and hear on this release is unique. No other gigs on this tour came out exactly like these did. That alone makes them special.”