Planet X

Live From Oz

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What happens when a group with only one studio album out releases a live CD? Most of the set list is taken from the previous effort. That's what happens with Live From Oz, but strangely that doesn't prevent the CD from being very good. Recorded on June 13, 2001, in Melbourne, Australia (the hometown of drummer Virgil Donati), it packs tons of energy. The tunes gain a tri-dimensional life that the crystal-clear exactitude of the studio flattened out. The trio of Derek Sherinian, Tony MacAlpine, and Donati was complemented for this tour by Dixie Dregs bassist Dave LaRue. The unit is ultra tight and each musician is virtuosic in his own right, yet the music gels effortlessly. "Europa," "Warfinger," and "Inside Black" are given boost charges, but the fans will be looking out for the pieces that weren't on Universe. The opener, "Ignotus Per Ignotium," feels a bit empty (it will reach a fuller stage on the group's next studio album, Moonbabies). The real treat is the complete rendition of the three-part "Atlantis," introduced on Sherinian's solo album, Planet X (out of which grew the present band). Closer to prog rock in essence, it is given an exciting face-lift. If you already have Universe, think twice before getting this release. But the quality of the performance is worth your money.

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