Last night, Fates Warning, the masters of prog rock returned to Cleveland after nine years for a searing and tasty performance at the Agora Ballroom. The packed house of prog rockaholics was in heaven, singing along and absorbing every millisecond of the band’s expert musicianship and unique songwriting.
Supporting their eleventh studio release, Darkness in A Different Light, Fates launched into an 18-song set with the new “One Thousand Fires” before delivering “Life In Still Water,” from their critically acclaimed Parallels. This seminal 1991 release was the most represented album in the set, and the songs from it drew thunderous reactions from the rabid audience.
Vocalist Ray Alder is one of the best in the prog rock genre. Combining power, range and incredible dynamics, his soaring and tasty vocal melodies were spot on. Guitarist Jim Matheosʼ unique chordal progressions and unique and sometimes abstract leads further push this band into a realm all their own.
Drummer Bobby Jarzombek, formerly with Halford and Riot, did a great job handling the intricate and varying time signatures of the bandʼs varied discography. Longtime bassist Joey Vera fit in perfectly with the complicated yet melodic arrangements and is one of those players that just oozes happiness when he performing. He was fun to watch. Highlights included “The Eleventh Hour,” “Point Of View” and several parts of the 1997 classic, “A Pleasant Shade of Gray.”
Halcyon Way, a Georgia band touring with Fates Warning, provided a heavy and energetic set that prepped fans for the eveningʼs headliners. Vocalist Steve Braun was a master at working the crowd. Local openers the Rick Ray Band set the stage for a memorable evening. Ray is a great guitar player and rattled off some incredible leads towards the end of the set that drew massive applause and appreciation. Shades Of Remembrance simply shredded The complex and accomplished bass playing of Elm Burgess (known as Peppo to friends and fans alike), blended with the powerful and energetic percussion of Todd Martin and the blistering and jaw-dropping leads of guitarist Al Bauof to make this band one of the best original rock bands this area has to offer. This instrumental “Bish” is a roller coaster ride of complexity and top notch musicianship.