The Canadian hard rock trio Triumph not only created fantastic music but a spectacular stage show second to none. Triumph’s arena concerts were always filled with enough lights, lasers and pyrotechnics to be seen from outer space. The band was always recognized as technical innovators and was regularly honored by the concert industry trade publication Performance Magazine. The new DVD A Night of Triumph Live is released on TML Entertainment Inc. It captures a concert in its entirety by Triumph’s guitarist/vocalist Rik Emmett, bass guitarist/keyboardist Mike Levine and drummer/vocalist Gil Moore during The Sport of Kings tour on January 16, 1987, at the Metro Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The 10,000-seat arena was packed to the rafters with fans eager to see the power trio (which was augmented on this tour by guitarist/keyboardist Rick Santer). A Night of Triumph Live is the follow-up to the acclaimed 2003 DVD Live at the US Festival.
The 12 songs on A Night of Triumph Live are Tears in the Rain, Somebody’s Out There, Allied Forces, Lay It On the Line, Midsummer’s Daydream, Follow Your Heart, Take a Stand, Magic Power, Rock & Roll Machine, Spellbound, Rocky Mountain Way and Fight the Good Fight. A Night of Triumph Live was directed by Tom O Neill and produced by Gil Moore at Triumph’s own famed Metalworks Studios facility in Mississauga, Ontario.
The DVD is presented in full-screen video format, and the sound, remixed from the original master tapes, rocks hard in Dolby Digital 2.0, Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 audio options. Extras include a behind-the-scenes documentary Backstage at the Spectrum shot in 1985 at the Spectrum in Philadelphia, PA, on the Thunder Seven tour, a photo gallery and the bonus videos When the Lights Go Down taken from Triumph: Live at the US Festival and Just One Night.
From the beginning Triumph always believed in delivering the total package to its fans — excellent music and an exciting stage show. The band’s uplifting, positive music — which contrasted directly with much of the doom-and-gloom hard rock and heavy metal of the time — was a visionary approach and one factor that separated it from the crowd. Witnessing Triumph in concert completed the experience, and the Halifax crowd saw the band at its peak.
We always believed the bottom line is you have to put on a great show. The effects are there to enhance the music. Anytime anything is presented on a big stage it becomes theater, says Levine. It was a great show and a great crowd that night in Halifax.
Having a mind-blowing stage show was important to Triumph from the moment the band formed. Moore was the band member most directly responsible for the evolution of the Triumph spectacle.
I had my own sound and lighting company before I joined Triumph. Early bands that I played in were PA-deficient, so I thought ’somebody’s got to know about all this. I learned how to build sound systems, lighting and pyrotechnics. Necessity is the mother of invention. I blew myself up a few times experimenting with gun power, flash powder and magnesium, Moore says. By the time Triumph started in 1975, people would judge you by your gear. So we would cram all this gear of ours into the clubs and just amaze people.
Over the years, the show got increasingly extravagant. There was a lot of trial and error involved in the planning and evolution of Triumph’s stage show, both on paper and with experimental models. Effects got progressively more expensive, especially lasers. But the band members didn’t hesitate to limit their imaginations.
We always felt Go big or go home. I remember seeing Jimi Hendrix play in Toronto at Maple Leaf Gardens. I had a lousy seat and there was very little lighting, effects or proper sound, says Moore. Of course technology improved and that allowed us to put on a great show sonically and visually for the fans whether they were in the front row or all the way in the back.
It was an investment in our future. As we became more successful, the show became bigger and better, Levine says. We wanted to make sure the special effects Triumph used were really special. We called it the NGF — the Net Gasp Factor. If something we devised for our stage show didn’t create NGF we didn’t use it.
Safety and common sense were extremely important considerations for Triumph and its crew. Intense, weeklong rehearsals were undertaken before tours, and the band used the same lighting, sound and laser companies for years.
Triumph’s groundbreaking live show thrilled fans for more than a decade by providing an unparalleled combination of thunderously powerful music and mind-blowing visual effects, and it is preserved forever on A Night of Triumph Live.
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