REVIEW: Triumph – Live At Sweden Rock Festival (2012)

Live At Sweden Rock Festival (CD+DVD)

TRIUMPH – Live At Sweden Rock Festival (2012 CD/DVD, Universal)

In 2008, after over 20 years apart, Rik Emmett joined Mike Levine and Gil Moore on stage.  The original Triumph was back, as if time stood still.  All that animosity, gone, poof! and in its place is a stellar live album.

They only played that one gig, but at least it was smokin’.  What’s incredible is that Rik Emmett retains most of his range, even if Gil Moore’s is more limited.  It was always Rik that sang the high parts, and most singers just can’t do it 20 years later.  Rik can!  And of course I don’t need to tell you anything about his guitar playing.  Some consider him to the be the greatest that Canada ever produced, and his playful but solid axework here helps to show why.

He even throws a bit of the “Hocus Pocus” (by Focus!) riff in the middle of “Rock & Roll Machine”!  Rik hasn’t forgotten to rock, and as usual Triumph is backed up by a second guitar player (Dave Dunlop) for some extra heaviness to the riffs.

But Rik also plays a lot of licks that are more along the lines of the jazz stuff he does today, a great mixture of his old style and his modern style.  Gil and Mike are still Gil and Mike, they’ve barely changed at all.  Their playing is as good as they’ve ever been.  I wonder how much the band rehearsed for this show?  They sound as tight as they did on Stages. (Mike says they practiced a lot!)

Setlist is below.  Let me point out two things:  No ballads!  The closest you get is “Magic Power”.  Second…”Blinding Light Show”!  ‘Nuff said!

1. When The Lights Go Down
2. Lay It On The Line
3. Allied Forces
4. Never Surrender
5. I Live For The Weekend
6. Blinding Light Show / Moon Child
7. Rocky Mountain Way
8. Magic Power
9. Rock & Roll Machine
10. Fight The Good Fight

The included DVD duplicates the show, but for your eyes and ears!  There’s also some cool behind the scenes footage (fans, soundchecks, etc.) and a press conference.  Basically, everything you’d want out of a package like this.

I don’t want to understate how much I like this album.  Prior to this, my favourite Triumph album was always Stages, their first live album from 1985.  Live At Sweden Rock is now my #2 Triumph album.  No overdubs, no fixes, this is just pure live Triumph, all killer no filler (or ballads), and they are as good as they ever were, I swear to God.

5/5 stars

    

17 comments

  1. Well for me I guess my fav 2 Triumph releases would be…Allied Forces(first Triumph purchase) followed by Thunder 7
    Stages I always found the live production less than stellar,I guess perhaps that’s the way a live album should sound but when I hear say Live After Death by Maiden from the same yr(1985),man that’s how I hear a live album….the sonics perhaps…..
    But having said that the Live At Sweden is fantastic,there set list list is deep and they coulda made it a double with the songs that were left off from there catalogue…(like)my personal fav Fool for your love from Allied Forces,but than again it alway seems that when you get into a band and they stay with u for yrs/decades it always seems its that first purchase of there’s you always go back to…
    So hey whadda do I know….lol…..
    But yeah Live At Sweden….5/5 for sure!

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    1. Glad you liked it too. I wished Triumph would have done a tour…but maybe things are sometimes best left alone. Mysterious. Like if Zeppelin toured, would it have ruined the mystery? Maybe. I’ll buy the live CD of the 02 Arena show though…

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  2. I was hoping that they would hit the road as well…I did read in that magazine that Classic rock put out called AOR a article on the promoters of the British music festival called Firesfest that they asked about Triumph since they are on there wish list and I guess the promoters said that Triumph wanted $175 Grand plus expenses to show up,so the promoters declined,there not gonna come cheap…….

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      1. Well the truth is I don’t seem to own it (I had to go check!) It was one of those albums that I should have bought when I had a discount and could have got it for $3.99. But it was always in stock so I never bothered. I guess that was a mistake.

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      1. If you watch the songs he sings, you can tell the audio does not match the video. It’s pretty easy to spot, actually. I gave it a lot of leeway in terms of delay effects, etc but when the vocals trail on and Gil is no where near the mic, it was pretty obvious. Artists do a “good” job nowadays of not making the overdubs too “perfect”, so you’re likely to hear flat notes and such. Interested to hear others’ take on it.

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  3. Thanks for this review, Mike. I have my copy on order. I’ve been a Triumph fan since I picked up a copy of “Progressions Of Power” in 1980 when a local store was closing and I decided it give it a shot for something like $2.00 (US). Musically it was right up my alley, and even though I ended up liking “Just A Game,” “Allied Forces” and “Never Surrender” even more, it still holds a special place for me. Also, I think “I Live For The Weekend” has more false endings than any other studio-recorded song in history. Just a hunch.

    You’re the first reviewer who states that Rik’s range is close to what it used to be. Based on clips I’ve heard, it sounds like he doesn’t have that super high end he used to, but he’s such a great musician (and his voice is one of his instruments) that he’s probably figured out a way to compensate for any lost vocal range. I’m disappointed that they didn’t do some more shows, or at least play more songs at this show (10 songs is just a tease), but considering that a Triumph reunion has seemed unlikely for 20 years, I’m not complaining. Can’t wait to hear it.

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    1. Thanks Rich! I think you’re right, and Rik compensates for any loss of range. The end result to me was a very satisfying listen. This is really a great Triumph album. I hope that they can do more, but I guess Gil is very busy with his studio.

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