Progressive rockers Sons Of Apollo featuring drummer Mike Portnoy, bassist Billy Sheehan, vocalist Jeff Scott Soto, keyboardist Derek Sherinian, and guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal are in the middle of their tour trek across the U.S. and made a stop Wednesday night in Denver, Colorado at the Summit Music Hall. The band not only showcased their insane talent but proved they are a indeed a true “Supergroup”.
After an intro from Van Halen (Intruder) blasted from the PA, the band jumped right into the epic set opener “God of the Sun” from their latest album Psychotic Symphony. Billy Sheehan and Bumblefoot amazed the crowd as they played their double neck guitars at a frantic pace while trading song sections back and forth as if they were dueling it out in medical times. Bumblefoot is not only an insanely skilled guitarist but also adds strong backing vocals to many songs and even takes his turn singing a verse or two during the sets Dream Theater cover of “Just Let Me Breathe”. Mike Portnoy always plays the drums with little effort and entertains the crowd often throwing up and catching his drumsticks mid song. He has a lot of fun and carries an infectious smile which is always a highlight of his performance.
It wouldn’t be a progressive rock show without each member getting some stage time alone highlighting their technical musicianship. Bassist Billy Sheehan played an impressive tap happy bass solo that got the crowd cheering throughout. Vocalist Jeff Scott Soto took the stage by himself midway through the set and talked about how this night was really special for him. He lived in Fort Collins, Colorado (a hour north of Denver) in the past and there were many of his friends in attendance which made him feel at home. He easily got the crowd to participate in helping him sing a transition tribute to Queen vocalist Freddy Mercury by harmonizing sections of “The Prophet’s Song”/“Save Me” with the help from Bumblefoot on guitar. The crowd was supper responsive and highlighted what an amazing vocalist Jeff Scott Soto is. He is one of the greatest rock vocalist today and this perfectly showcased how powerful his voice is. It came as no surprise that even keyboardist Derek Sherinian got in some alone time and dazzled the audience by making his solo sound like Eddie Van Halen often sneaking in bits from the classic “Eruption”. Since he also played in Dream Theater it comes as no surprise that his playing led right into the closing Dream Theater cover song “Lines In The Sand”.
The only thing I could see as being a bit of a disappointment would be the attendance. I was expecting a packed house but sadly only half of the venue was used. I know this is the bands first album and tour and hope more people get out and see them perform. They are obviously all very talented on their own and when you put them together they are super and one hell of a tight group!
Review and photos by Jason Bullinger