Symphony X @ B.B. King Blues Club (5/25/2007)

Symphony X was on the verge of releasing “Paradise Lost”, an album that by the sound of the tracks we were treated to this evening will prove to level mountains for the band. The band would be the only one appearing tonight at B.B. King Blues Club and it would be packed to capacity. Check out our words and images by scrolling past their logo below.

Logo - Symphony X

Artist: Symphony X
Venue: B.B. King Blues Club (New York, NY)
Opener: n/a
Date: 5/25/2007
Label: InsideOut Music

The announcement that Symphony X would be performing their only New York date for the immediate future at B.B. King Blues Club would cause a response which was not unlike a speeding rollercoaster in terms of the audience interest. By my calendar the band had been absent from the scene for a little over a year as they dealt with some personal health concerns, wrote new music, pursued solo adventures and also took a much deserved breather. I had last seen the band as one of the acts on the first Gigantour and before that as the opener for Queensryche. The great part of these two concert settings was the chance to expand their reach all the more as opposed to headlining smaller shows where almost the entire crowd is already a fan. “Preaching to the choir” does not always help a band grow outside of their established fan base. At Queensryche they showed the fans of the elder statesmen of Progressive Metal that the genre still held exciting new prospects and with Gigantour it was the chance to be on the same stage as Megadeth, Dream Theater, Fear Factory and Nevermore. My only problem with that appearance was that they went on far too early in the day while bands that should have preceded them went were scheduled after. Fast forward to tonight and you would find an absolutely jam-packed venue and more Prog-Metal t-shirts than you would normally encounter anywhere else. I walked in shortly before it began and this was to be an early show with no opening band of any kind. This was going to be a show that got right to the point without any delay or distraction. Seeing such a reception for them impressed me as Symphony X is definitely a band that deserves your undivided attention. While it’s true that they have released a number of acclaimed albums already, they still seem to be on the edge of the ever elusive “big time” in the eyes of many Prog-Metal fans. Tonight this was clearly going to be changed.

Everyone’s friend in Metal Eddie Trunk would announce the band’s arrival and then it was on as the guys blasted into their opening number “Sins & Shadows”. One could tell as singer Russell Allen prowled around the stage that he had a beaming smile for all to see, and of course this would only leave when the notes required him to change expression. He was all about slapping the hands that reached out to him and you could tell that those in front were eating this up very much. I have said before that Allen was in possession of one of the best voices in Hard Rock and Metal today and tonight he was proving this as soon as the bands set began. Their second number would come from their forthcoming album “Paradise Lost” and as soon as they kicked into this one the audience erupted. The new material seems like it is going to be strong stuff all around in terms of both the technical and the heavy side so this would be something to look forward to. It does not arrive until the end of June so we all have a few weeks to go before getting to enjoy the rest of it. The band’s set would feature two more new numbers mixed in carefully with their back catalog songs. I am clearly one of those guys who cannot claim allegiance to the band since they first thought of the idea but over the recent years I have aimed to be as supportive as possible. How couldn’t I with them being the perfect blend Old School neo-classical style and today’s Progressive Metal. Their music is easily accessible and if you have been listening to Dream Theatre over the years or perhaps were a fan of Fates Warning then I am advising you to check them out when you can. It’s just the kind of band that brings you into the mix and this is largely because of the killer guitar work of Michael Romeo who is a shredder par excellence. His fluid style keeps the audience focused on him at more than just the lead breaks. During the set Allen would apologize for their absence, lining out that it was not since Gigantour that they last had seen everyone. Clearly no one was holding this against them as the set rumbled forward and touched upon established classics and taunted the palette with tastes from the new release.

It was great to see bassist Mike Lepond back onstage as it had been documented last year that he had run into some health concerns. From my vantage point he looked well and happy to be back for the business at hand. He is a pivotal part of the rhythm section that includes Jason Rullo on the drums and keeps the Symphony X machine as powerful as it needs to be. Michael Pinnella was also to be commended for his incredible keyboards tonight. As a band symphony X does not rely on stage props or enhancements more than a backdrop of their logo and to be honest they really don’t need this kind of stuff. It’s all about the music with these guys and reaching deep inside your soul to pull out the energy that fuels them as they carry out their business. Looking around I was impressed at how much of the crowd was singing along with Allen and I think he could hear it up on the stage as well. Song after song was being met with positive response and I think it even took the bands breath away just a little bit when it came down to it. Russell would speak to the crowd a few more times and apologize for them not having a longer set but he vowed that they would return as soon as possible. Something else was scheduled for the late hours in the venue which left a capacity Metal crowd wandering among the Times Square tourists looking for more Metal. Too bad there was nothing happening at the Highline Ballroom that we all could have moved to because this place rocks as well and will be host to some other Metal stalwarts over the Summer and Fall months. They would close with an incredibly powerful song “The Odyssey” and then like the calm after a raging storm were gone. Everyone around me wanted more but it was not to come. Like many fans who attended tonight I am excited about the new album and I am positive that this will be the one to put Symphony X over the top and on the road they have long deserved to be on. Those who believed from the beginning should not be mad about the rest of the world joining in for the ride and instead raise a high hails to new brethren for the cause you have known about for awhile. Welcome back Symphony X we have missed you and look forward to seeing you once again. The response received tonight makes a return imminent and if you thought that the tickets went fast this time just imagine when they come back with additional bands to kick our ass. According to the calendar in the coming months they will tour with Echoes Of Eternity and hit places like Starland Ballroom (their actual homecoming show) and The Chance in Poughkeepsie. See you next time.

Set List:
1. Sins & Shadows
2. Domination
3. Inferno
4. Evolution
5. Communion & The Oracle
6. Smoke And Mirrors
7. Set The World On Fire
8. Serpents Kiss
9. King Of Terrors
10. Sea Of Lies
11. The Odyssey – encore

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