Concert Review & Live Photos: Arch/Matheos at the Webster Theater in Hartford, CT
Veteran progressive metallers John Arch and Jim Matheos, collectively known as Arch/Matheos, performed their first (and only) US show to date on May 5, 2012 at the Webster Theater in Hartford, CT. This was not a tour stop; it was a special one-off show from the founding members of Fates Warning, and the venue was filled to bursting as a result.
The New Wave of American Heavy Metal hit hard with opening acts Magus Beast, Freedom’s Reign, and Enemy Remains. Unfortunately, the drums and vocals were mixed far too high for the first band, but all three still put on solid performances with some impressive vocal work.
Arch/Matheos appeared on stage to the thunderous roar of hundreds of old-school Fates Warning fans, with a backing band made up of fellow alumni Frank Aresti, Joey Vera, and Bobby Jarzombek. It was only the second time in twenty-five years that John Arch has been on stage (the first was at the end of April, at Arch/Matheos’ first-ever show in Germany); for nearly twenty of those years, he didn’t sing professionally at all. Of course, you wouldn’t know it by his performance. The man can still hit every single high note with perfect pitch and clarity. Very few metal singers, especially those who stick to the high register as Arch does, can still achieve that after three decades!
As expected, many songs from Arch/Matheos’ debut record Sympathetic Resonance were on the setlist, with “Stained Glass Sky” being the powerful standout. The band also broke out plenty of Fates Warning classics like “Damnation” and “Guardian.” The songs sounded just as great as they did back in the mid-1980s, and it felt like the audience had been transported back in time. I’m sure plenty of fans in attendance personally remembered Fates Warning shows back then, given the middle age of many of them.
Rather than tearing the axe apart like many shredders, Jim Matheos appears mellow and relaxed throughout his highly technical guitar playing. The other band members are no slouches, either; they learned all of the new Arch/Matheos songs in only three rehearsals. That’s professionalism and musical skill of the highest order. Finally, whoever was running the soundboard deserves a raise. Every instrument was clearly audible, without a single one overtaking another.
Arch/Matheos’ ninety-minute show was a testament to all of the musicians’ abilities, and it’s likely the finest vocal performance I’ve ever heard. There’s a good chance we’ll be hearing a lot more from John Arch and Jim Matheos in the near future, and that’s most welcome indeed.
Check out our Live Photos of the Arch/Matheos Performance: