This is my first livestream show from a band, and what a great band to start off with. The Ocean are masters of their progressive metal trade, and tonight they’re flexing their musical muscles by playing their 2018 album Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic in its entirety.
As opener The Cambrian Explosion/Cambrian II: Eternal Recurrence begins to fade into being, anticipation is high. At least, it is for me, being the only one here. Of course, I’m not the only one watching, but I may as well be as far as I’m concerned. It strikes me that a livestream is much like a DVD/Blu-Ray recording of a show, except that you know it’s happening live, right now, somewhere in the world, (in this case Bremen). It feels intimate, like the band are playing just for you, despite that obviously being an illusion.
Anyway, I’ve digressed.
The Cambrian Explosion/Cambrian II: Eternal Recurrence is a strong opener, and ably demonstrates that the band are an incredibly skilled live act. My only complaint is the use of strobe effects. I don’t care for them in the live environment, and I don’t care for them on livestreams either. Also, on the original livestream on the night the sound had an unfortunate technical issue, but this was subsequently fixed for the on-demand recordings.
Ordovicium: The Glaciation of Gondwana hits hard, and watching the band be so obviously into what they’re doing is absorbing. The production values of the show are big, with plenty of cameras, close and distant, making sure that you never miss out on any of the action, as well as some well-chosen camera segues and direction.
Silurian: Age of Sea Scorpions drones into existence before exploding into atmospheric, layered, and thoroughly gorgeous existence. It’s a standout track on the album and a standout track on this stream too. The Ocean’s singer is particularly enjoyable to watch during this song, as the passion he brings to the show is palpable.
For me, Devonian: Nascent is the centrepiece of Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic, and in some ways the main event of the show, (although that’s unfair to the rest of the excellent songs). Regardless, it’s probably my favourite track and the band do it justice with tonight’s rendition, despite a couple of sound gremlins in places. The guest vocals from the singer of Katatonia are tonight included as a backing track, merging seamlessly with the singer of The Ocean’s live vocals and the rest of the band’s faultless performances.
After this The Carboniferous Rainforest Collapse gets an airing. A short instrumental piece that clears the palate for the upcoming final song of the evening, it still has much value and worth in its own right. It’s nice to see the band run through it. Permian: The Great Dying then closes the set in gargantuan manner. It’s a big song with bold ambitions, and its assured delivery is well-earned and offers a very satisfying conclusion to tonight’s enjoyable festivities.
So, my first livestream event is a more than agreeable one. Yes, yes; it’s not the same as seeing the band in the flesh, but it’s the next best thing at the moment. There were a few sound issues, but nothing major, but they didn’t hold the band back. Tonight The Ocean brought Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic to vivid life.