|Triumph - A Night of Triumph: Live|
|Written by Jeff Fish|
|Tuesday, 23 March 2004|
Do you remember when rock ‘n’ roll was larger than life? How about when you would go a rock concert and the musicians weren’t afraid to take a solo? When going to concert was a visual as well as an auditory experience? Well, that was the ‘80s and if you remember the ‘80s, then you’ll probably remember Triumph. Triumph came out with their first album in 1976 and had their first big hit in 1979 with the song “Lay it on the Line.” This is concert DVD was recorded at a sold-out show at the Metro Centre Arena in Halifax, Nova Scotia (January 1987, I think).
I personally lost track of Triumph in the early ‘80s, so when I put on this DVD, I really had no idea of what to expect. But I did remember “Lay it on the Line,” “Magic Power” and “Fight the Good Fight” (which are all on this DVD), so I was intrigued to see what they were like in concert at the height of their popularity. Well, I must say I was impressed. Oh, there are the typical types of concert excesses that went on in the ‘80s. Long solos, endings that tend to go on forever, huge stages, laser lights and pyrotechnics galore, but that being said, these guys can play and the stage show doesn’t take anything away from the music.
Rock music in the ‘80s, for all of its faults, did have one thing that today’s music doesn’t seem to have in any real abundance – excellent musicianship. Rik Emmett, for all the guitar aficionados out there, plays his ass off on this DVD and has a very well-deserved place among the ‘80s six-string heroes. Gil Moore does a fine job on the drums and handles almost all of the vocals (something that I didn’t realize), with Mike Levine on bass and some keyboards. For this concert (and I’m assuming the tour), Rick Santer fills out the band on rhythm guitar, keyboard and backing vocal duties. Watching this DVD reminded me of when MTV would actually play a whole concert on Saturday night (remember that!?). The grandeur of spectacle was in the forefront of concerts then and this DVD brings it all back.
The mix on this DVD has been remasterd for 5.1 surround, which brings the concert experience into your living room. The band is pretty much in the front two speakers, with the crowd and some of the P.A. bounces back in the rear surround speakers, so it’s like being near the mixing board at the show. There isn’t a whole lot of “quadraphonic foreplay” in the mix, but what they did works real well with the type of music that Triumph plays. “Allied Forces” positively rocks with a really nice, long guitar solo by Emmett and “Lay it on the Line” is larger than life here, with the band hitting on all cylinders. One thing this DVD reminded me of is how ‘80s guitar players had to be more than just musicians. They also had to be larger than life and more times than not the main focal point of the band. Well, Rik Emmett has no problem doing that, and on a “Midsummer’s Dream,” he’s up on the stage all alone playing this beautiful acoustic guitar composition, owning the stage.
As with most rock concerts back then, the drummer is not to be outdone and Gil Moore makes sure of that. In between “Take a Stand” and “Magic Power,” Moore take a solo that sounds like he predates some the newer metal drummers, not Bonham length, but long enough to get the point across and to show what a damn good drummer he is. Another thing I was struck with while watching this was that the band actually look like that they are enjoying themselves. Smiling, laughing and the general sense of having fun was the impression I was left with after watching this. Will I go out and buy the entire Triumph catalog now? No, but I sure enjoyed this a whole lot more that I thought I would. It’s really nice to watch musicians who can play, play well and have fun while doing it. The angst of the early ‘90s hadn’t appeared yet.
All that being said, there were some times while watching this that I wished it was edited a little tighter and maybe a solo didn’t need to go on as long or just maybe they could end a song without all the dramatics. But all in all, those are really small complaints and that was what ‘80s concerts were like for all of their good points and excesses. If you’re a fan of ‘80s hard rock or just want to remember what concerts were like in the ‘80s, I would recommend this DVD. It was a lot of fun to remember.