Michael Harris
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Michael Harris


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MICHAEL HARRIS TRANZ-FUSION live 9-01-2012, concert review by Ben Kuzay
by Ben Kuzay on Wednesday, September 5, 2012 at 9:21pm ·
This was my second time seeing Michael Harris live. The first was back in 2009, and they were
just a two-piece with backing tracks, so I was stoked to get to see the legendary four-piece band,
which consists of Michael on guitar, Jeff Davis (who's been in the band for more than a decade)
on keyboard, Brian Harris (one of Michaels studio drummers and also his brother), and Mike Neal
(Darkology) on bass.
They came on strong with the classic "Julius Seizure", then went into "Transmigration Of Souls",
which is one of my favorite Harris songs. Mike Neal played Adam Nitti's intricate bass part during
the guitar solo perfectly. They continued the set with a combination of originals and covers, the
latter of which Michael sang in. Steve Snyder (Arch Rival's vocalist) did a lenthy guest
appearance during the last quarter of their set, during which they performed several cover songs
(including "Rainbow In The Dark"). The crowd went wild when he took the stage, and his vocals
sounded exactly how I remember them (it's been a few years since I listened to Arch Rival).
Three of the four band-members each performed an original solo piece: Michael, Jeff, and Brian.
The solo piece that moved me most was Jeff Davis'. He set his keyboard to classical piano
sound and played a riveting piece with a dark, majestic atmosphere. I think that he played some
accompaniment during that piece as well, I don't remember. He had two keyboards out- one
directly above the other- the entire night, and I think that during his solo piece I heard some string
accompaniment. He told me after the show that that piece had not been composed- that it was
created spontaneously (improvisation).
Jeff's keyboard added a different and enjoyable aspect to Michael's already great original
instrumental songs. In places in many songs where there is no keyboard on the album, Jeff
wailed stylishly in a 70's-style prog synth tone (like the tone David Harbour uses in my song
"Homage To Hated Heroes"). During guitar solos, Jeff would often take the place of the absent
rhythm guitar and play chords in, I believe, organ sound, which sufficed marvelously (during parts
where there is only lead and no rhythm guitar or keyboard on the cd, I think Jeff was silent).
Michael was absolutely amazing! He was on fire! Just as I consider Stu Hamm to be a far
superior musician to Billy Sheehan yet not as brisk with his fingers as Sheehan is, I had prior to
this concert for some reason- while Michael was my favorite guitarist- thought that his technical
ability was a tiny degree less than Vai or Satriani (who's music does not inspire me, but whom I
hold in the highest regard in terms of technical prowess on their instrument), but Michael was so
fast and so clean that I now consider him to be not only in the highest level musically, but also
acrobatically on the guitar! No matter what anyone says, speed does matter, chops do count,
and while they will not enable you to build a musical foundation, they do allow a foundation to
grow from something basic into something brilliant. The song in which I was most blown away by
his chops was "Defense Mechanisms". I'm not sure if he was playing the album's solo note-fornote
or not, but at any rate, it was mind-blowing.
Brian's drumming was great, and Mike's bass was excellent throughout. One thing I've noticed
about Mike in observing him on stage, off stage, and online, is that he is aware of the importance
of what he is currently doing, and he beams with pride for participating in one of the most
innovative musical acts around today. The fact that some of the world's finest musicians flock
from hundreds of miles away to see the Tranz-Fusion perform is testament that something very
special is going on. In fact, Michael Harris shows have become famous for being gathering
places for progressive, neo-classical, and otherwise virtuosic musicians.
I estimated about one-hundred heads when I turned around and gazed at the audience during the
performance. I went to the railing right before the stage early on, and as soon as the band came
on, it was nothing but elbows and feet, pushing and competing for those premium front-row spots.
The setlist for the night was:
01) Julius Seizure 02) Transmigration of Souls 03) Words Collide 04) Fire 05) Jazz Jam (excerpt
from “Psychotic Biorhythms”) 06) Notes From the Kursk 07) Into the Spiral Rain 08) Jeff Davis
Keyboard Solo
09) From the Beginning10) Ocean Blues11) Hemispheres prelude / Subdivisions / Cygnus X-1
end 12) Hichael Harris Guitar Solo
13) Collision Course 14) Ten Burning Questions 15) Defense Mechanizms 16) Rock the Nation
17) Mississippi Queen 18) Too Hot to Handle 19) Rainbow in the Dark20) Karn Evil 9
21) Brian Harris Drum Solo
22) Identity Crisis
So, it was about half-instrumental and half-with-vocals; half-orig - concert review by Ben Kuzay






A native of Dayton OH, Michael Harris has been stunning audiences for years with his world class guitar playing. With over 15 global recordings under his belt.
Michael has performed with Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Robert Fripp, Yngwie Malmsteen, Zakk Wylde & David Chastain to name a few.
Throughout the 90's, Michael's Ohio based band, Arch Rival, landed record deals in Europe and Japan for their 3 CD's, largely composed by Michael.
Sincxe that time Michael has continued to display exceptional compositional chops by releasing 7 solo recordings worldwide and has appeared on many more collaborative recordings, including world renowned keyboard virtuoso, Vitalij Kuprij , who hand picked Michael to be the sole guitarist on his international releases. "Revenge" and "Glacial Inferno".