Planet X in Montreal

It was with great pleasure that I attended the November 27th presentation of Planet X at the CafĂ© Campus in Montreal. I’d like to thank the people at Fusion III for this opportunity.

Planet X is made up of Virgil Donati on drums, Derek Sherinian (Dream Theatre) on keyboards and Tony MacAlpine on Guitars. This band of musicians’ musicians is certainly one that knows how to have a good time and please an audience at the same time.

The music was played to perfection, the versions differing a little from the studio versions, especially with the interactions between MacAlpine and Sherinian, continuously exchanging solos and attempting, in all friendliness, to one-up the other. Certainly, the (sold-out) crowd appreciated every moment.

The material covered their first two albums, Universe and Moonbabies and also included a track from the next album which is due, unfortunately, only next year.

I had the privilege to sit down with Tony and Derek after the show. (And Derek’s girl friend also joined us…) It was a lot of fun, everyone was in high spirits. I’ll spare you some of the conversation, but here are the highlights of it:

A-J: First of all guys, great show!

Derek and Tony: Thank you.

A-J: How has the tour been going so far?

Derek: It’s been going great! Tonight was exceptionally great. The other shows have been great as well and we’re just having a great time!

We’re having a good time playing the music, bringing it to life.

Tony: I’ll tell you one thing, it’s cold out here! (Note: it was about 0 Celsius or 32 Fahrenheit.)

A-J: The album’s doing well also?

Derek: Moonbabies? Yes. We’re very pleased with what the response has been. We’re looking forward to play some other countries next year. But one thing we found. Montreal is our hottest place to play in North America. We’re just happy with how the fans are responding.

A-J: Are you happy with the album overall?

Derek: We’re very happy and it’s fun to go out and to make it come alive.

A-J (to Derek): Do you miss Dream Theatre at all?

Derek (smiling): No, not really. I’m quite content playing with the musicians I’ve been playing with since my departure. They’re all great guys (Dream Theatre), I wish them the best.

A-J (to Tony): You use an overall simple gear set-up. (See bottom for a list of Tony’s gear.)

Tony: Yeah, but I like it better that way.

A-J: The 7th string on those guitars, do you really need it?

Tony: Sure, I use it a lot. It’s redefined the way I look at the guitar.

A-J: I like the way the two of you interact on stage.

It’s at this moment that Tony decided to have a bit of fun at my expense, but… you had to be there.

Derek: We improvise a lot. We have our basic lines worked out, but we like to push further every night.

A-J: Certainly makes for a great evening!

The band will be playing the following dates:

11.30 Detroit
12.01 Chicago
12.02 St Paul
12.04 Denver
12.06 Seattle
12.07 Portland
12.08 San Francisco
12.09 San Juan Capistrano
12.10 Phoenix

Tony MacAlpine’s gear
– two 100 watt legacy heads, on 50 watt mode
– TC-747 carbon-string guitars
– Specially made George Denis Wah pedal
– Boss volume pedal
– TCR digital delay unit