On Sunday, February 11th, Orlando, FL was provided a unique opportunity to be the first land-based show for the new band Sons of Apollo. The band consisting of Jeff Scott Soto (vocals), Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (guitar), Billy Sheehan (bass), Derek Sherinian (keyboards), and Mike Portnoy (drums) had just completed a few shows on the Monsters of Rock cruise and were now coming to Orlando, FL to give us the first look at them live. A supergroup like this one that bundles years of experience on stage and musical talent was ready to show the world what they can bring to the table. This was the first stop on a long tour and they were excited to get things going. Interviewing Jeff earlier in the day (see the interview here), he was very excited for the show tonight.
There was a solid crowd that night waiting in anticipation. Before Sons of Apollo hit the stage, the crowd received a very unexpected treat to a band named Sifting. The band from Los Angeles, CA is routing with Sons of Apollo in support of their album ‘Not From Here’ through Eclipse Records. The album was released on September 29, 2017. Sifting is no stranger to playing on big stages. The prog metal band founded in 2010 when vocalist Eduardo O Gil was living in Caracas, Venezuela. Using music to help cope with the loss of both his mother and grandmother, he gathered some of his friends to form the band to write and record their debut album ‘All The Hated’. They ended up also supporting Bullet for My Valentine in 2011 on their Latin American leg of their tour. In 2014 Eduardo moved to Los Angeles in the hopes of expanding to the American metal scene. In 2015 they released an EP titled ‘Blurry Paintings’ and then was signed by Eclipse Records in 2017. But tonight, Eduardo O Gil (vocals, guitar), Richard Garcia (lead guitar), Joey Aguirre (drums), and Wins Jarquin (bass) were ready to rock The Plaza Live.
The band opened up with “Alone” from their album ‘Not From Here’. Right out the gate the band starting shredding on stage while Joey snapped out some quick drumbeats. Eduardo has a great clarity and power to his vocals to match his crazy shredding on stage. This song, nearly 8 minutes long, has a great instrumental around 3 minutes in that showcases the musical talents of the band. Richard was just as crazy as Eduardo when it came to his shredding speed. Wins strums his bass just as fast and headbangs a lot during his playing with his very colorful hair. Sifting had definitely caught the attention of the Orlando crowd and they were just one song in.
They followed up with “Lone Dimension” from ‘All The Hated’. It starts off with some awesome metal guitar work from Richard and Eduardo. And then when it really gets going into speed metal, Wins and Joey come in and match along. It is an amazing sight to see the band rip out this song, nearly 6 minutes long, and to do it with ease. The faster the music, the more they appear to love it. And honestly, this song is a musical masterpiece from end to end. I was blown away by the musical melody and the crowd was too. Though they played only 5 songs, it felt longer than most sets since some of their songs are quite lengthy. The rest of their set included “Not From Here”, “Epsilon”, and “Blowing Fire”.
Finally, the time was upon us for Sons of Apollo to hit the stage. The band is touring on their debut album, ‘Psychotic Symphony’, which was released on October 20, 2017. As the lights dimmed the band walked out on stage to a tremendous cheer as they started off with the first track off the album “God of the Sun”. The 11-minute track is an amazing operatic track that showcases all the members of the band. And live it is amazing. They followed up with “Signs of the Times” one of the singles released before the album was released.
The band continued on playing “Figaro’s Whore” and “Divine Addiction” before they went into playing “Just Let Me Breathe” from Dream Theater’s 1997 album ‘Falling Into Infinity’. The band was having a great time on stage from the smile on their faces. The crowd was enjoying the performance just as much. The band went on to also include “Labyrinth”, which was getting a lot of praise from the crowd after the show that night. The show did take a serious turn when Jeff shared with the crowd that his brother recently passed away and he wanted to dedicate the next song to him. It was a mixture of Queen’s “The Prophet Song” and “Save Me”. It was so beautifully done and Jeff’s vocals were just perfect for it.
It wasn’t all serious that night. Each of the band members had the opportunity to perform their own solo. Of course, Bumblefoot’s guitar playing was intense and incredibly beautiful. His 12 string is an extension of himself pouring his heart and soul into every note. Billy was the same way on the bass practically making his bass speak to the crowd during his solo. His 12 string bass sang to the crowd in deep notes reverberating through the crowd. Jeff said during his interview that Derek played the keyboards as a guitarist and he hit it right on the nose. Derek played with intensity and passion on multiple keyboards creating incredible sounds urging the crowd to cheer on. And Jeff provided a vocal solo where they echoed his voice so it overlapped. As he sang he would do the same lyric over and over in different ranges and it provided a spectacular audio. It was definitely unique and creative.
The band closed out the show with “Lines in the Sand” byDream Theater and then encored with Van Halen’s “And the Cradle Will Rock” and their own “Coming Home”. Sons of Apollo kicked off their tour with a bang and this supergroup is proving this isn’t a project, they are here for the long haul.