This 2-CD set highlights the progressive rock super-group's performance at a Tokyo venue in 2012. The material is culled from the respective artists' songbooks, yet their prior collaborations in various ensembles also signify a nucleus for modern prog-rock fare. As one would anticipate, sparks are flying all over the place via a high-velocity and impacting program in front of a very receptive audience. It is chock full of blitzing time signatures amid soaring and uncompromising solo spots by all. The album as a whole resounds with fluidly enacted brute force tactics and undeniable chutzpah. As the monstrous rhythm section of drummer Mike Portnoy and bassist Billy Sheehan lock-in and support the often bedazzling solo jaunts by the frontline.
The band knocks out drummer Billy Cobham's classic, rock-funk groove "Stratus" adhering to the familiar theme and melody, but extends the bridge section with guitarist Tony Macalpine's zinging crunch chords and spiraling solo. Keyboardist Derek Sherinian's, textural Fender Rhodes notes, sweeping organ voicings and interweaving synth accents parallel the pace. The band moderates the pitch then revs it up into a whizzing jazz-rock workout. Here, the ensemble gives "Stratus" a bit of a modern makeover. (Emphatically recommended...) *Armoury Records/Eagle Rock Entertainment has also issued a separate DVD package of the concert footage.
Personnel: Derek Sherinian: keyboards; Mike Portnoy: drums; Billy Sheehan: bass;
Tony Macalpine: guitar