GIG REVIEW: SYMPHONY X ‘Underworld’ Tour Live At London, UK
On a cool, Friday night inside the walls of London’s Islington Academy Hall, New Jersey’s prog metal masters Symphony X took their Underworld tour to a salivating, sold out crowd (Click Here To See The Live Pics). Showcasing their incredible new album, it was going to need one hell of a live show to do it justice on the night. Stakes were indeed high.
Support from Melted Space kicked off the night. With four vocalists, (two male, two female) on top of the usual band ensemble, this outfit suggest they might be one to watch, winning the crowd over with some great material, and some brilliant and dynamic vocal interplay. Second to the stage, Myrath, needed a little more time and effort to woo the crowd, who eventually responded to their performance with great enthusiasm. For a while at least. But after the first few tracks you were hard pressed to find anything fresh, musically or with their choreographed performance, which consisted of the same stage tricks that fell into repetition throughout their set.
A fresh rush of energy was pumped into the crowd as a haunting, Phantom of the Opera style intro saw Symphony X take to the stage, launching into their album’s opener “Nevermore.” Without pausing for breath, they proceeded to knock out each and every track on Underworld in whatever order they saw fit. Standout tracks such as “Without You”, “To Hell And Back” “Run With The Devil” and “Swan Song” saw vocalist Russell Allen own every inch of the material and the performance. Heavy crowd interaction, theatrical mask swaps topped with back and forth chants between band and crowd, provided a healthy reminder as to why Allen is often considered one of the top vocalists and front-men in the business
But he wasn’t alone in owning the night. Lead guitarist, band founder and core songwriter Michael Romeo filled the room with his signature sound as well as giving the crowd some epic front and center guitar solos. Winding back the clock to include some Symphony X classics and fan favorites, the night closed with “Out of the Ashes”, Sea of Lies” before the band encored with “Set the World on Fire” and “Legend.” To say the room erupted would be putting it mildly. With applause echoing throughout the venue, Symphony X said their thanks, took a bow arm in arm and left under a shower of underwear thrown on stage, smiling ear to ear. And rightfully so, too.
Opting to play Underworld in its entirety was something of a risky decision, but one that paid off handsomely for Symphony X with their new material being embraced with open and welcoming arms. As was their electrifying performance on the night, which didn’t so much meet expectations as surpass them. Twenty years and counting, Symphony X continue to go from strength to strength. With Dream Theater playing in London on the same night, some were skeptical about the knock on affect that might have had on this shows attendance. As it turned out, there were none. These New Jerseys underdogs played to a sold out crowd, demonstrating that when you can achieve that rare chemistry of top class album meeting top class performance, the result is a show NOT to be missed.