Symphony X Rocked London (And My World). Concert Review, Underworld 2016 Tour

This is easily one of those life events when you feel like gratefully shouting out: “Lord, I can die happy now!”

Yes, that kind of gig! Symphony X, the band I had been hoping to see live for over a decade, missed once (a few years ago) and swore to never ever miss again, should they decide to tour in the UK, were in London last Friday, 19th February.

Their latest release, the totally amazing album “Underworld” (2015), absolutely killed it (read my review that went pretty much viral on Facebook here).

Symphony X, London Islington, 19 February 2016. Not very successfully photographed by Angie K (impossible moving targets!!)
Symphony X, London Islington, 19 February 2016. Not very successfully photographed by Angie K (impossible moving targets!!)

So, here was my chance to see Symphony X on tour! What made it an opportunity of a lifetime for me was the fact I was lucky to be put on the guest list by the bass player Mike LePond: thanks a million, Mike!! I reviewed his solo project “Silent Assassins” sometime ago, and he kindly gave me a three-part interview while touring with the band around the US.

The Maestro, Mike LePond, London, Islington Assembly Hall, 19 February 2016. Photograph by Angie K
The Maestro, Mike LePond, London, Islington Assembly Hall, 19 February 2016. Photograph by Angie K

So, the gig! When you want something so badly, there has to be drama! Starting from the logistics of madly rushing to find childcare (it just had to fall on the week of half-term school holidays in the UK when most people you can rely on are away!), through a nasty cold/flu that just had to hit me on that particular day and make me wonder if I am a mad teenager choosing rock over health (you got your answer, eh?), and ending with yet another idiotic coincidence: out of all times, the concert had to be on a consecutive day after Dream Theater’s one – seriously? That’s another big band I had sworn to not miss next time they play in London… Oh no! Please, Dream Theater, come to London again, at a time that suits me!

Was the concert good? Was it worth the wait and my stupid personal sacrifices? If I had to choose again driving through central London at 0.5 mph, sweating (metaphorically and literally) over missing the band’s expected stage time, and running a high temperature with fever, I would happily sigh and say: “Hell yeah!” They are Gods! Totally, absolutely, wholeheartedly adored and loved. The crowd was captivated throughout the whole performance, engaged in that warming kind of way making you realise that everyone was here because they loved this band. We savoured every single second, and it was as clear as hell that there had to be encore and no one would leave until they had drank the band in to the last possible minute. A gig that lasted a lifetime, and was still far too short for die hard fans like me.

Those of you who remember some of my first music posts know: Russell Allen is my No 1 music vocal. He is The One and Only. Roaring as a lion and angelic as heaven. One of those singers I can never have enough of listening to:

Russell Allen, London, Islington Assembly Hall, 19 February 2016, photo by Angie K
Russell Allen, London, Islington Assembly Hall, 19 February 2016, photo by Angie K

And, as much as I had the intention to write a “proper”, professional concert review, I am failing very badly at doing so. I can’t keep my journalist hat on here for one simple reason: I am a fan, loving, adoring and enthusiastic fan who cannot keep a cool heart and write a professional critique article. So, there, this is probably the worst review of Symphony X’s Underworld Tour, but perhaps the most emotional one!

As ecstatic as I was listening to the whole album in its entirety (and every single song is a bloody masterpiece!), I was even more thrilled to hear my two most favourite classic songs by Symphony X: “Out of the Ashes” and “Sea of Lies”. Somehow this made it feel even more personal to me; the tracks I love to bits, I actually got to hear live. God, I can definitely die happy now! And, sorry, words fail me a bit when trying to review the gig. Instead, I will share some other types of media with you.

Here are some of the photos I took. They seem to look nice and focused on a mobile device, but not so good on a PC/laptop. Who knew that photographing a concert is such a damn hard job?? Moving targets at all times!

And, if you have not heard Symphony X before, go on YouTube NOW! Or, here are two samples that I shot to give my readers an idea of the brilliant stuff that poured down from heaven on Friday: captions of the songs “Without You” and “Swansong”. Enjoy!

P.S. How can I forget the Guitar God, Michael Romeo!

Michael Romeo, London, Islington Assembly Hall, 19 February 2016, photo by Angie K
Michael Romeo, London, Islington Assembly Hall, 19 February 2016, photo by Angie K

I would love to hear from you, so go on, let me know what you think!