The Final Flight: Live At L'Olympia by TransatlanticRelease date: February 17, 2023
Label: InsideOut Music
“We have a LONG night ahead of us, so save some of that energy. Can you handle a three-hour show?” Responding to Mike Portnoy’s speech to a big massive crowd at the Olympia in Paris last year on July 28th, was a night they’ll never forget. And the last show for their European tour during Transatlantic’s promotion for The Absolute Universe, is bringing the full-length version in all of its glory.
While this was the band’s first outing released nearly two years ago, and nine years after their fourth studio album Kaleidoscope, Transatlantic’s performance at the venue is a live recording that you’ll never forget. For Mike, Neal, Roine, Pete, and fellow Spock’s Beard and Enchant vocalist Ted Leonard who lends the band a helping hand, the magic on The Final Flight is their majestic crown, waiting to be unleashed.
The roaring of the audience is electric. The moment ‘Reaching For the Sky’ comes at you like an electrical shock, Morse comes bursting through the clouds like The Rocketeer streaming across the heavens on his keyboards. You feel the power between him and his fellow comrades, giving their fans a night they’ll never forget.
But once they head into the clapping sections on ‘The Darkness in the Light’ they head into this interesting crossover from Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds meets Michael Jackson’s Thriller-era, followed by unsung Belgium prog legends Machiavel during its early years on their first three albums.
Then, Roine and Pete do this incredible improvisation during the song is an ear-listening extravaganza. You can tell that these two have a huge amount of energy they have with each other while Morse’s mellotron and synthesizer flies upwards to embark on this spiritual journey that says “epic climax” written all over to embark on this autobiographical take on ‘Take Now my Soul’.
Neal’s soulful lines has these exquisite touches as the band bring in this acoustic songwriting, waltz-like section to bring peace with one another. But once they enter the dark tunnels, they bring in the terror and menacing approaches, revisiting the ‘City of Destruction’ from its insane time changes on The Similitude of a Dream on ‘Owl Howl’.
I just love how Transatlantic have shown that they never forgotten their roots. And for Neal to revisit the 2010’s before entering the spooky nightmares between Banco del Mutuo Soccorso and Triumvirat whilst the volcanic eruption of the organ, transforming itself into a wolverine whose high on angel dust! When they get down to business, they really get down to business!
Then, they come out of the ashes to bring the circle in full with Morse’s organ blaring from one corner to another at the Olympia. From ‘The Greatest Story Never Ends’ to the Pacific Ocean Blue-era of Dennis Wilson on ‘Love Made a Way’.
You think that the show is over, guess again. After clapping for another encore, the band come out for three numbers on the third disc; ‘The Whirlwind Suite’, ‘We All Need Some Light’, and ‘The Final Medley’.
With 28 and 34-minute pieces, followed by a six-minute track going back to their SMPT:e debut album released nearly 23 years ago, that’s enough energy to go through. But you can feel the audiences singing along to their songs, and you can feel the love and vibrations that the fans have followed these guys for a long time. And for Transatlantic, they have never forgotten them.
And if you are new to the band’s music, this is highly recommended to get you started.