| For a band that hasn’t performed together since the late 1980s, TRIUMPH has been keeping a high profile in the music scene. The original line-up consisting of Gil Moore (drums, vocals), Mike Levine (bass), and Rik Emmett (guitars, vocals), have struck a deal with IRON MAIDEN’s record label, Santcuary Music, to re-master and re-release TRIUMPH’s back catalog of CD’s and home videos. Back in their day, the Canadian power trio known as TRIUMPH earned a reputation as a killer live musical act. During the peak of their success, Moore, Levine, and Emmett headlined major venues throughout the states and beyond. Ever when their creativity began dwindling (with the SPORT OF KINGS album), TRIUMPH still packed the arenas based on their live musical reputation, and their wonderful hit songs they’ve composed over the years, like Lay It On The Line, Magic Power, Fight the Good Fight, Never Surrender, and others. Already, Sanctuary has released their early live performance TRIUMPH: LIVE AT THE US FESTIVAL on DVD, and now less than six months later comes a completely re-mastered version of their 1987 live extravaganza, TRIUMPH: A NIGHT OF TRIUMPH. Not bad for a band that hasn’t performed together in over a decade.TRIUMPH: A NIGHT OF TRIUMPH captures the band live at the Metro Center in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The concert was performed on September January 16, and the band was in support of their just released SPORT OF KINGS album. Together Gil Moore, Mike Levine, and Rik Emmett perform a razor-sharp set of their best material in front of 10,000 screaming mad Canadian rock fans:
If you are a TRIUMPH fan, then you are well aware of the band’s penchant for composing complex power rock arrangements, highlighted by the musicianship of Moore, Levine, and especially guitar-wizard Rik Emmett. For this concert, additional guitar shores are handled by fellow Canadian Rick Santers. TRIUMPH: A NIGHT OF TRIUMPH showcases all that the group has to offer. Gil Moore delivers his super-tight drum beats that sometimes border on thrash during the faster songs, while delivering his unique vocal stylings. Mike Levine provides the bass and comic relief for this set. And Rik Emmett steals the show with his classically influenced guitar playing that alternates between heavy precision riffing and acoustic picking. And don’t forget that Emmett has a soaring vocal style that’ll make the hairs on your neck stand up. His high-pitched singing perfectly cuts through the progressive power sounds of TRIUMPH. Most of the songs during this show are on the heavy side, with the exception of a few lighter radio-friendly tunes from THE SPORT OF KINGS album, like Somebody’s Out There, Take a Stand, and the sub-par Tears in the Rain. Much like the band BOSTON, TRIUMPH have a reputation of being a highly technical band in terms of their equipment and stage show. So you’ll see Emmett play a variety of guitars including a radical double neck. And they poured millions into their stage show, which you’ll experience during this concert. Considering that today’s bands don’t bother with a stage show anymore, TRIUMPH: A NIGHT OF TRIUMPH is a treat for that reason alone.
Sanctuary Records presents TRIUMPH: A NIGHT OF TRIUMPH in the original 1.33.1 full frame ratio. This live performance was professionally shot on videotape, with some multiple camera setups that add to the ‘energy’ of a TRIUMPH performance. The color is fully saturated and even in the darker lighting, you can make out the presence of Gill Moore, Mike Levine, and Rik Emmett. In addition to capturing the band live on stage, the presentation showcases the million dollar stage show and laser effects. The original stereo soundtrack has been re-mastered to Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 soundtracks. Both soundtracks are distortion free with crystal clear fidelity. Naturally, the DTS 5.1 provides a bit more depth and imaging. Though both tracks offer exceptional depth and precision, the actual surround activity (sound field panning) is lacking. And it sounds like Gil Moore’s drumming was a bit down-mixed. A good audio presentation, but not great. From the Special Features menu, you can access a Photo Gallery. There is also a behind the scenes documentary called BackStage at the Spectrum, which examines the group backstage at a Philadelphia Spectrum THUNDER 7 performance circa 1985. Also included are two bonus music videos, a live rendition of When the Lights Go Down (culled from TRIUMPH: LIVE AT THE US FESTIVAL), and the promotional video for Just One Night. Both videos are presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 sound.
TRIUMPH: A NIGHT OF TRIUMPH is a great celebration to the career of Rik Emmet, Mike Levine, and Gil Moore. This disc contains all the band’s best songs and biggest hits. Whether you are a fan of TRIUMPH or a new comer to their music, you’ll learn what happens when true musicianship meets power rock. About the only downside to the concert is some of the fashions from the pozer friendly 1986 music scene, and one of the biggest fashion victims of the decade is bass player Mike Levine, who jumps around on-stage clad in a bright red jumpsuit that would make Sammy Hagar (the Red Rocker himself) turn tail and run. That is why I stated earlier that Mike Levine provides (unintentional) humor to the show. But, Santuary’s TRIUMPH: A NIGHT OF TRIUMPH is wonderfully presented with worthy extras and a superior Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 sound mixes. Well after viewing this DVD my fellow rock fans, I leave you with this parting thought: Do I smell a TRIUMPH reunion in the near future?