A Transatlantic live album following a studio release is becoming like clockwork. As a previous live release ‘More Is Never Enough’ suggests, Transatlantic fans eat up everything the progressive rock supergroup puts out. The fact that Neal Morse, Ronie Stolt, Mike Portnoy & Pete Trewavas (Ex-Spocks Beard, The Flower Kings, Ex-Dream Theater & Marillion respectively) are/were key creative driving forces behind their own headline acts explains the insatiable work ethic the band has.
So what does KaLIVEoscope offer that the previous releases don’t? For a group that has only ten original songs on their previous three albums, quite a lot. Inevitably the non Kaleidoscope material available here has been released on previous live offerings but It’s what they do with the older material that works here. Title (And only) track from third album, ‘The Whirlwind’, condenses the 70-odd minute epic into a 30-minute medley which is infinitely more effective as a single song than the original does and sounds fresh as a result. The bonus disc from the same album makes an appearance too, ‘Sylvia’ & ‘Hocus Pocus' (Both Focus covers), both feature founding Focus member and local Thijs Van Leer. You can almost see the grins on the groups faces as you listen to them rip through the two covers. ‘Nights in White Satin’ is a nice little surprise here, one of the highlights for me hidden amongst the numerous encores. ‘No matter what we end with you’re never going to leave’, says Stolt. Huge cheers of agreement are the response from the appreciative Tilburg audience.
The entirety of Kaleidoscope is represented with the title track and opener ‘Into the Blue’, unfortunately without Pain of Salvations Daniel Glidenlow who appears on the studio version. The aforementioned track as well as the title track particularly shine here, effortlessly blending with the rest of the back catalogue and becoming instant fan favourites.
The production on KaLIVEoscope, as you would expect is exquisite. The sound crisp and every single note clear, the incredible musicianship of the band plus touring member Ted Leonard, (Spocks Beard) who says early on, ‘(It’s) such a chore playing with the best musicians I know’, is obvious. For me it’s Ronie Stolt on guitar and vocals who owns this record, his sound and influence becoming more confident as Transatlantic grows from Morses band into his.
In summary, KaLIVEoscope is another good addition to the Transaltantic discography, and if you’re new to the progressive rock super group, then this is as good a place to start as any while still offering enough to appeal to those familiar with the previous work.
My only criticism: I’m unsure as to what they can now put out on the inevitable 5th live release following the next album that will be fresh. Will that matter to most Transatlantic fans though? Probably not. ‘This is it, now go home’, says Stolt after nearly 60 minutes of encores.