“Live from Oz” Review

Live from Oz is the second release from Derek Sherinian’s progressive fusion band Planet X. Recorded in June of 2001 at Melbourne, Australia, Planet X succeeded in turning the little world of Oz upside down.

For those who are not familiar with Planet X, you owe it to yourself to spend an intimate night or two with Derek and the boys. Planet X provides some of the most complex and original instrumental music that can be found amid today’s recording “artists”. From savaging swinging scale movements to abusive relations with time signatures, Planet X holds nothing back.

You can find the above description easily within their first release, Universe, but what is truly outstanding is what was caught live in Oz. Listening to studio captured progressive fusion can impress just about anyone; playing it live (and correctly) can bring about world peace. The sheer magnitude of fusion music and its structure is something that has always captivated me, but until now I have never experienced it live.

Listening to Derek Sherinian (keyboards), Tony MacAlpine (guitar), Virgil Donati (drums), and special guest Dave Larue (bass) coherently blend such a massive wall of sound together is mind blowing. The pushing and pulling of the keyboard and guitars, the upbeat and deceive rhythm section, and the out and out jamming away as if there were no tomorrow help to immerse you into the spirit and magic of that night in June of 2001. The full extent of talent and skill of these incredible musicians is showcased perfectly.

Live from Oz happens to be the best live recording I have heard yet, you really have to hear it to believe it. It’s as though you are actually there. Everything is mixed exquisitely. The heart and feeling of each one of Tony’s amazing solos are completely conveyed, as well as the excitement and enthrallment of the audience. My hat goes of to mix master Simon Phillips. Thank you so much for making this album come to complete life.

I don’t need to go into each of Planet X’s musician’s credentials and/or schooling, all you need to know about them and the love for music can be found here on Live from Oz. If you ever wanted to know what an instrument should, or could, sound like, don’t pass this little piece of heaven up.

Rating: 4/5: Simply breath taking. This is how a live recording should sound, and it helps a bit that everyone is the master of their chosen instrument.

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