Sons Of Apollo – Live With The Plovdiv Psychotic Symphony

Sons Of Apollo

Reviewed by:
On 4 September 2019
Last modified:4 September 2019


A fantastic live release

Many “supergroups” fail to live up to the hype, but one that does is Sons of Apollo. Featuring vocalist Jeff Scott Soto, guitarist Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal, bassist Billy Sheehan, keyboard player Derek Sherinian and drummer Mike Portnoy it’s one hell of a lineup but more importantly it’s a lineup that works together as they proved with their debut album, “Psychotic symphony” and their subsequent live shows.

This new release is a special live album filmed at the ancient Roman Amphitheatre in Plovdiv, Bulgaria – a spectacular setting, second only to the Pompeii location where Pink Floyd and David Gilmour have filmed live shows. Filmed in September 2018 the show was split into two parts. The first was a conventional set from the band, and the second saw them joined by the Plovdiv Symphony Orchestra (renamed to the Plovdiv psychotic symphony for the night) and a choir. With only one album of their own then they added some cover versions. During the first set they included “Just Let Me Breathe” (Dream Theater) and “The Prophet Song”/”Save Me” (Queen). During the second set the covers had to be ones that would work well with an orchestra but there are choices you wouldn’t necessarily think of immediately to play with an orchestra – Ozzy’s “Diary of a madman” for example. There are also songs from bands including Queen, Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith and Pink Floyd – the cover of Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably numb” is simply stunning.

The DVD/Bluray video quality is superb. Unlike many live DVDs where it’s clear the lighting was the norm for the tour with no consideration toward filming, the lighting here has clearly taken the filming into consideration so it’s all colours that show up well without degrading video quality. The lighting is good enough to mean we can clearly see what we want to see and to give a great atmosphere too – important in such a beautiful setting. There are multiple cameras used and it’s well edited to give lots of views but without the sort of unnecessarily rapid-fire changes that spoil the viewing. The sound quality is excellent too

The entire concert is on the CD however the DVD and BluRay versions exclude two of the cover versions – “Comfortably numb” and “Dream on” due to issues with getting clearance to use them (which shows how crazy things can be in the music business that they got permission to use them on the CD but not DVD).

The covers are brilliantly done and to do justice to songs by bands as diverse as Queen and Pink Floyd takes some doing. The band work very well with the orchestra – which isnt always the case when bands do a one-off show with an orchestra, but Sons of Apollo got it right. The whole show is fantastic – the first part when they play their own songs is a great show in its own right, but the second half makes it even more special.

The DVD also includes a behind the scenes documentary on making the band’s debut album.

A fantastic live release

Track listing:

1. God of the Sun
2. Signs of the Time
3. Divine Addiction
4. That Metal Show Theme
5. Just Let Me Breathe
6. Billy Sheehan Bass Solo
7. Lost in Oblivion
8. JSS Solo Spot: The Prophet’s Song/Save Me
9. Alive
10. The Pink Panther Theme
11. Opus Maximus
12. Kashmir
13. Gates of Babylon
14. Labyrinth
15. Dream On
16. Diary of a Madman
17. Comfortably Numb
18. The Show Must Go On
19. Hell’s Kitchen
20. Derek Sherinian Keyboard Solo
21. Lines in the Sand
22. Bumblefoot Guitar Spot
23. And the Cradle Will Rock
24. Coming Home

A fantastic live release

About Ant May

I spend half my life at gigs or festivals and the other half writing the reviews and editing photos, and somehow find time for a full time job too. Who needs sleep - I've got coffee.