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Progressive Rock Concert Reviews

GPS

Live at RoSfest 2008

Review by Josh Turner

GPS was difficult to assess. While they were great, I felt as if they didn’t bring their A-game. I wonder if this played to their unsavory time-slot of festival opener.
 
I expected great things from Guthrie Govan. In comparison to the other shredders that weekend, he was slightly above the medium. A clever writer referred to this as the Festival of Strings, so it’s not as if he didn’t have competition. With an overachiever such as he, this still misses the mark if you ask me. In a roundabout way, this is a compliment as I would list him amongst the top ten.
 
Miscalculating who would be the headliner, I assumed they were the closers for the Friday Night Showcase. Turns out they were the first in this two-man relay. As a result, I missed out on four of their songs, which I was told was primarily Asia fare.
 
In any event, I arrived as Govan put the finishing touches on a lonesome solo. Then the remainder of the band returned to perform the title track from their latest album: That would be Window to the Soul.
 
John Payne misfired on the frail preface and then injected nitro into what previously seemed to be serene atmosphere. AHis voice was airtight once he got away from that initial wispy passage.
 
Speaking of timing, my arrival couldn’t have worked to my advantage any better - as they played the best song from their discography next. In my opinion, that would be “Taken Dreams," and it was impeccably delivered.
 
Before the end of their act, we got a powerful solo from their drummer, Jay Schellan. This was followed shortly thereafter by an incredible keyboard solo from Erik Norlander. By the way, this American musician happened to be filling in for that flamboyant kamikaze named Ryo Okumoto. You know, the one who was initially responsible for the symphonic aspects in the studio.
 
As I sat watching, I said out loud, “Where the heck is Ryo?” and “You have got to be kidding me; is that Norlander?” Turns out I was right. Technically, this is old news as Norlander was given a full-time position back in November 2007.
 
Personally, if you are going to replace a maestro, you better find another ringer. Norlander is surely that ace who can hit all the targets with a surgical-like strike and then remove the funny-bone without causing flashing lights.
 
Anyhow, even though they weren’t fully primed, they put on one of the best acts of the entire festival. They finished with “Military Men”. Almost as if planned, this theme seemed to resonate with other acts as a way to honor those brave ones serving overseas.
This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.
 
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