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Sons Of Apollo / Jay Wud - Rescue Rooms, Nottingham (UK) - 08 July 2018

The thought of seeing Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal, Billy Sheehan, Mike Portnoy, Jeff Scott Soto and Derek Sherinian playing in a venue that is about the size of a badminton court was quite unbelievable to me, but yes indeed, that's what I was looking forward to witnessing. When you think of the places where these guys have performed in the past, you have to wonder what was going through their minds. You hear the term "supergroup" on occasion, but I always end up thinking "really?", but this collective really is one with ex members of Guns N' Roses, Journey, Dream Theater and Steve Vai (and current member of Mr Big).

However, before that we had support from a band called Jay Wud, who came from Dubai (but were from all over the place, including Lebanon, Serbia, Latvia and America; how the hell did they get together?), not somewhere that is abundant in what I would call Technical Metal band, but they were very good. I was tempted to say "surprisingly" there, simply because of where they were from, but the audience appreciated what this four-piece gave us. Front-man Jay Wud (yes, the band is named after him) despite having a "porn 'tache" also had a strong voice and nifty fingers for the guitar leads. They made a lot of new friends in the thirty minutes they had up on stage.


Sons Of Apollo Live 1

It was soon time for the big boys, and without too much ceremony, they strode out to start with 'God Of The Sun', the Egyptian-tinted opener from their album 'Psychotic Symphony'. The technical ability of the people in front of us was incredible, demonstrated even more so during their solo slots (Portnoy didn't actually do a drum solo and Sheehan told me afterwards that he thought the crowd hated him as there was little or no applause at the end of his and the people in front of him actually looked hostile. I'm not really a fan of solos, but I thought it was fine). I had been told that they would play all of the 'Psychotic Symphony' album, but it became obvious that they wouldn't be playing it in the right order, and we also got a couple of Dream Theater songs from the Sherinian era.

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Soto's solo spot was an audience participation exercise where he paid homage to his hero Freddie Mercury and was surprised at how well the audience did, to the extent that at the climax he told us all to "fuck off"; this probably doesn't sound amusing, but it was. At one point, he even came down from the stage to walk among the audience, Also, Thal decided to do the 'Pink Panther Theme' for his "solo" spot (solo in inverted commas as he had the rest of the band apart from Soto playing with him) which worked really well. 'Lines In The Sand' ended the main set, but they came on a couple of minutes later to do Van Halen's 'And The Cradle Will Rock...' and then finally 'Coming Home' which was particularly relevant as this was the last night of the tour and they were due to travel home the next day.


Sons Of Apollo Live 3

We certainly had a demonstration of technical wizardry in front of us tonight, but the only downer I have on it was that the sound wasn't the best. Most of the time the lead guitar didn't cut through the mix and the overall sound was quite bassy. The keyboards were slightly too loud, something that became more obvious when the solo started, and the vocals were a little fuzzy. Although that sounds like a lot of problems, you have to remember where we were and the fact that I was stood right at the front to the extreme left of the stage, which meant that I was to the side and slightly behind the speakers. I would say though that these guys are bigger venue performers and I still have to pinch myself at the fact that I saw them where I did tonight.


Sons Of Apollo Live 2

Set-list: God Of The Sun, Signs Of The Time, Divine Addiction, Just Let Me Breathe (Dream Theater), Labyrinth, Bass Solo, Lost In Oblivion, The Prophet's Song/Save Me (Queen), Alive, The Pink Panther Theme (Henry Mancini), Opus Maximus, Keyboard Solo, Lines In The Sand (Dream Theater).
Encore: Guitar Solo, And The Cradle Will Rock... (Van Halen), Coming Home.

Review and photos by Andy Brailsford


Sons Of Apollo Live 4

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