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Bordeaux, France @ Le Krakatoa, Sunday February 3rd, 2008

by Hubert Chapuis

For some reason, it had been while I didn't see Symphony X live. Since the tour following their release "V" actually. This time they were back with the Teutons Circus Maximus. And Dreamscape opened the ceremony around 8:30 pm. The latter one was actually nothing but interesting. Time for the warm up for me with my first pictures of the evening and for the people in the crowd with their first beers of the night. And the crowd was pretty huge tonight. According to the promoters, the venue was just completely full, that means 1200 fans.

After twenty minutes comes the second opening band, Circus Maximus. Slightly more catchy than the previous one. They don't look very old and mature and that's something you can feel through their music. It's just a bit naive. Some very unappropriate breaks or melodies. A pretty weird singing, not so pleasant. Well I would say on the whole not so skilled musicians to sum everything up. Shitty lights moreover with an overwhelming reds that doesn't help photographers of the event (I would say were are about ten persons in the photo pit tonight).

We had to wait more than 30 minutes to get the big piece of the evening: the headliners from Symphony X. Minimal stage props but lights get much better. Even though too much of blue, sometimes we got a nice green on Michael Pinella especially during the keyboard solos.

And what I especially appreciated was the communication of Russell Allen with the fans initiating real discussions from the stage during one or two minutes with some of them. That made a very intimate feeling and you feel this way much closer to the band immediately. Apart from that, that was just a great performance we attended tonight. Michael Romeo is still at the best of his art. Everything is so fluid. A so mechanistic right hand! It looks so easy to play guitar when you stare at this guy. Even easier than playing with you plastic instrument in Guitar Hero actually! As usual Russell distillates great emotions with his velvet voice that can turn to be more agressive from times to times as on Set the world on fire.

Of course, the band covered a great part of their fabulous last opus: "Paradise Lost", with Domination (that fits perfectly live), The Serpent's Kiss, Paradise Lost of course, Eve of Seduction, Seven and my favorite one from this album: Revelation (Divus Pennae Ex Tragoedia). Honestly I have to say that I had some doubts about this last album before the show. But afterwards I think I understood everything about and I even dare to say that Symphony X even made a step forward compared to "V", which was however considered as the ultimate reference of the band by the time it was just released.

The only song from "V" was the majestic Egypt and its wonderful chuffed part supporting the first verse.

Obviously we also got the very classics from the band, I mean Smoke and Mirrors and its sweeping guitar intro, from the fantastic Twilight in Olympus album and as usual the more in your face Vader as the closing song for the night.All along the show and especially on this song, I have to say that Jason Rullo did a wonderful job keeping perfectly the tempos and I think his play is full of nuances now: from a very soft intimate drumming to very agressive and fast parts. I mean it's always been part of his skills but I think the range of his possibilities are even much wider now than what it used years ago (last time I saw Symphony X).

On the whole Symphony X plaid during something like1 hour and a half, which is a decent time I guess. What I cannot understand though is the very little amount of people that come sometimes to this kind of shows: I mean that wasn't the case tonight but on some other dates, yes! If I had to give a reason for that, I would say that Symphony X is a music for experts in a sense, for people who really appreciate music as itself and who know that sometimes you have to put some involvement into it to measure all the quality: music is indeed not necessarily an immediate delightment. That brings us to a modern consideration and trend that would tend to make music a consumption product that has to be instantanously catchy and therefore most of time creativity free (using myspace, TV reality programs and so on). Anyway I know that some people will never get into that and I'm definitely part of you guys!!

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