Symphony X has never been known as a touring band. In fact,
it's the opposite as they hadn't done gigs in the beginning of their career, some people said that the band was a fake and other stupid things. When it was announced that Symphony X was scheduled to play in Brazil in November, it seemed to be a lie. But it has come true on
Friday, November the17th, and I could see it on the Saturday 18th in São Paulo.
This "miracle" took place at "Cia do
Brasil", the same venue where Stratovarius and HammerFall played in 99, and Di'Anno played earlier this year. On Friday, I've
was told that the sound quality wasn't good, that the band wasn't very secure on
stage and that there were about 400 people in attendance. On Saturday, the sound was good, not perfect, but I could hear all the instruments without problems; the band was more comfortable on stage, and there
was twice as many people than the day before!
The opening set was done by a Brazilian band called
Steel Warrior. Their songs sound like a
German metal from the eighties, like Accept, Helloween (Jericho era) and Running Wild. They played for about 40 minutes, and they closed their set covering the Running Wild classic "Riding the
As weird as it seems for a gig in Brazil, the Symphony X concert started right on time. The first 40 minutes were dedicated to the loyal execution of the first nine songs in the same order of the new album
"V". These songs are more progressive, not much fast, but not less heavy. The crowd
was already familiar with the new tracks and they followed with enthusiasm
as the band played them. The songs played were "Prelude",
"Evolution (The Grand Design)", "Fallen", "Transcendence", "Communion and the Oracle", "The Bird-Serpent War / Cataclysm", "On the Breath of Poseidon", "Egypt", and "The Death of Balance/
But the people were waiting for the songs from the "Divine Wings of Tragedy" album, and the next song was the beauty "Candlelight Fantasia", played in a edited version - only the
beginning part in the keys, and the first chorus, sang in low tune - but the crowd reacted very well to this one. The following song was another one from the "Divine..." album: "The
Eyes of Medusa" made everyone crazy in the venue with its heavier rhythm. "Dressed to Kill", from the "Damnation Game", "Smoke and Mirrors", and "Church of the Machine", from the "Twilight in Olympus" were played in the sequence, and they kept the heavy vibration from the audience, ending the first part of the gig.
The first encore came with the band playing the amazing song "Through
The Looking Glass". The 13-minute song from "Twilight in Olympus" becomes longer with some improvisations, and shows the band in its maximum ability, mixing styles, changing rhythm and melodies. One of the highlights of the concert. Closing the second part of the concert, the band played the heavy songs "Sea of Lies", and the crowd
went crazy one more time, showing that they were really expecting to hear the songs from the "Divine..." album.
The second and final encore was only one song. The almighty "Of Sins and Shadows" put the venue to the ground. Everyone jumped, screamed, a total frenzy! The song was played perfectly, the backing vocals were
done in a cool way with all its effects, no errors. And the gig ended, everyone
In the live performance, the band don't lose its best quality: the heaviness. Michael Romeo is only worried in reproducing perfectly all his riffs - heavier than they are in the albums - but stands quiet in his side of the stage, playing his guitar and doing some backing vocals. The bassist Mike LePond is his opposite - he's the one in the band that never stands
still, running around the stage one side to another during the entire gig. The drummer Jason Rullo and the keyboard player Michael Pinnella don't show off very much, they just play their respective instruments quietly and perfectly.
But the concert highlight is, no doubts, the singer Russell Allen. If in studio he could be considered one of the best singers nowadays, live he surprises everybody: he is even better! In a 1h40min-gig, his voice has never failed, nor at least one time: he has sung the last song as
if it was the first one, with all the power required, getting to high-tones when it was needed, singing aggressively as the songs demanded. I'm sure to tell that he is definitely one of the best singers nowadays.
The Symphony X concert proved that this progressive metal style has a
definite and loyal scene in Brazil. People came from different cities to see the gig from a band that
isn't so famous - they just have a small label in the country making it easier and a lot cheaper for the people to buy their albums. The bands has done a good concert, and
left the door opened to get back next tour - and the impression that it is
worth a try for a prog metal band to struggle to release their albums in Brazil - the results can be very