at Fox Theater, Boulder, Colorado, USA, April 17, 2005

When the Sirkus pulled into Boulder, Colorado, USA, Sunday the 17th of April, there was no big-top, no clowns, no jugglers, no elephants balanced on balls. However, the high-wire act showed up and had the audience on the edge of their seats all night. Maybe that’s a little over-stated, but when Soul Sirkus hit the stage of The Fox Theater, the band arrived live without a net and were flying high.

Launching right in with their disc opener, “Highest Ground,” the band sounded just like the album only a lot louder. Sticking with the track order of their latest disc, World Play, “New Position” was next and was a great way to introduce the audience to drummer Virgil Donati, who is taking up the throne in place of the ailing skin pounder Deen Castronovo. Virgil is no newcomer to the rock scene, and turned many a head with his dynamic play while touring with guitar virtuoso Steve Vai. His abilities were displayed to this crowd as he wowed them all night long with his flamboyant stick handling.

After tearing through five songs from the new record, it was surprising to see legendary guitarist Neal Schon strap on a seven string axe. It only took one chord for the audience to recognize the next tune once Neal started in — “Stand Up and Shout,” the main track form the movie Rock Star, for which Jeff Scott Soto sang all of the vocals, brought the biggest applause of the evening. It was humorous to see that a song from a movie that was highly considered to be a box office flop had touched and connected to the audience so strongly. The little room left near the front of the stage was now full and the audience never retreated.

Next up was the Blues-infused “Soul Goes On” from the new disc. Soto took a seat behind the keyboard as he sang and played this number, and Neal’s playing really came alive as he seemed to tap into the well-spring of his soul. You could see Jeff was really feeling where Neal was going as they would make eye contact and just smile. As the song faded into the applause of the obviously moved crowed, Soto exited stage right, and Neal was in his game. The three-piece broke into “Voodoo Chile,” with Neal handling the vocals, and Marco Mendoza laid down a slick groove with his six-string-fretless, and “Voodoo Chile” took on a new life in the twenty-first century, although never steering too far from its Blues roots. Neal, Marco, and Virgil all traded licks and solos and were lost in a jam that would have Phish and Dave Matthews’ fans swaying in approval. It was almost twenty minutes later before the three players started playing the rock classic “Hey Baby,” this time featuring Marco on vocals.

When Jeff finally returned to the stage, the band played a new number called “James Brown,” which was a tongue-in-cheek tribute to the “Godfather of Soul,” ending with the appropriate “Hit me five times!” Then came the Soto-adopted Seal cover, “Crazy,” which he frequently performs with his side-project, Talisman. Wrapping things up with “Peephole,” you would almost think they were just getting started, they attacked this song with such ferociousness.

Glancing at the set list, a number of tunes were skipped. The encore was also reduced; with the “Take You Higher/Praise” medley closing out the night. Unfortunately, the high altitude takes its toll on the unknowing singer, and Soto was no exception, although you wouldn’t have known he was having a problem except for the fact that he mentioned it to the audience. Most were none the wiser, and Jeff never missed a beat or a note; he put on a show using all his cumulative knowledge of how to work a crowd. Yes, the Sirkus came to town, all were entertained, and none had to endure the smell of elephant dung.


Highest Ground
New Position
Friends to Lovers
Periled Divide
My Sanctuary
Stand Up and Shout
Soul Goes On
Voodoo Chile
Marco Solo
Hey Baby
James Brown
Another World
Close the Door
Take You Higher/Paradise


  • Jeremy Juliano

    Jeremy was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He's been involved with and has been following the Metal scene since the early 1980’s. He started out his Metal journey with heavy doses of Maiden, Accept, and Saxon. And in recent years, he has enjoyed the new age of Metal with bands like Hammerfall, Edguy, and Nightwish, to name a few.

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