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Reviews Archive – Midnight Syndicate Live! Legacy of Shadows

Midnight Syndicate Live! Legacy of Shadows

Barrel O’ Fun – Many fans of Midnight Syndicate have described their albums as “theater in the mind’s eye” or “soundtracks to movies that don’t exist.” Even if their name isn’t familiar, you may already know the duo as their music is played in many, if not the majority, of haunted houses and amusement park Halloween events around the country and beyond.

I have been a fan of Midnight Syndicate for many years and I have used their music for my home haunt long before I became friends with Ed Douglas (who is a DAFE member by the way). I’m pleased to say that DAFE had some influence on several of the tracks on their album Carnival Arcane as well.

Having “seen” their “movies” with my eyes closed while listening to their CDs, I had to wonder what it would be like to see them perform a live show. It would be no easy task as simply watching them perform on stage would take the magic out of the music. No, a stage show would have to go well beyond “two guys with keyboards.”

Early in 2014, Midnight Syndicate created a Kickstarter project to fund a live show. Mere days, and a few dollars short of their goal, the Kickstarter funding was killed off. Why? “You can’t tell anyone!” Ah, the joys and stress created by having trusting friends in the industry! While I couldn’t tell our members the wonderful news I’d heard, I was thrilled to hear that it was much better than I imagined!

Cedar Point was interested in having Midnight Syndicate create and perform the show live on their stage, not once, but several times a day, every day during their Halloweekends event!

With a venue set, Ed and Gavin Goszka had a monumental task ahead of them. With the aid of the set designers at Screamline Studios, filmmaking brothers Andrew and Martin Smoley of 529 Films, the makeup team at Robert Kurtzman’s Creature Corps, and a cast of dozens of “haunters” (myself included – I had a short cameo in the production), they spent the summer working out the script, building sets, and filming at various locations in Ohio. While different from his typical job as a composer, directing this multimedia show was nothing new for Ed. In addition to producing and co-composing 16 albums with Gavin, Ed had directed, edited, and co-produced the movie The Dead Matter as well as a similar multimedia Midnight Syndicate show back in 1998.

As I previously mentioned, merely playing before a live audience would not do this duo justice. This would be a major multimedia production with some interesting twists.

Entering Cedar Point’s “Ghoul Time Theater,” the audience was seated, not knowing what to expect. There was time to marvel at the wonderfully detailed set as the guests watched a video camera operator and his director fine-tuning the camera and getting a few crowd shots in preparation for the show. Large video screens to the left and the right of the stage alternately showed the Midnight Syndicate logo and the live shots of the audience. Oddly, once in a while there seemed to be some technical glitches with the video.

Soon, the house lights faded and Ed and Gavin (their characters are nameless) appeared dramatically from the set and took their places at the keyboards, playing some familiar pieces that we fans love. The audience would soon realize that this (about) 25 minute show would involve more than just listening to some haunting music. The live music, recorded and live video, fog, lighting and special effects would soon suspend reality and engulf the audience. The wonderful Emily Viancourt would glide onto the stage with her haunting voice to add another dimension to this gothic experience. Soon the line between fantasy and reality would be blurred. (Sorry, no spoilers!)

Was the show scary? Some people thought so! It seems every show had a few people leaving early (though mostly younger children). For those who stayed, the show wasn’t truly over. Unlike most “stars,” Ed and Gavin did not retire to their dressing room for a well-deserved break, both were on hand to greet their fans, pose for photos and sign autographs. Those creepy guys are, in reality, very friendly and appreciative of their fans.

They also brought along plenty of CDs, posters, T shirts, hats and other items to sell as well.

My question to them was “How do you top this?” There was no immediate answer, but I’m sure they will come up with something. Until then, cross your fingers and hope that this is only the FIRST presentation of the show and that they may take it on the road in the future.

By Rick Davis – Barrel O’ Fun Magazine

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2 weeks ago
Midnight Syndicate

If you miss Halloween or enjoy a haunted twist on some holiday classics, might we recommend our album, "Christmas: A Ghostly Gathering"? It is one of our favorite albums we've ever done and sets holiday season mood in a decidedly Midnight Syndicate way. It's available everywhere music is streamed. We hope you enjoy it! ... See MoreSee Less

If you miss Halloween or enjoy a haunted twist on some holiday classics, might we recommend our album, Christmas: A Ghostly Gathering? It is one of our favorite albums weve ever done and sets holiday season mood in a decidedly Midnight Syndicate way. Its available everywhere music is streamed. We hope you enjoy it!

56 CommentsComment on Facebook

This really is an amazing album. It takes classic holiday music and intertwines this wonderfully haunting thread throughout that just elevates it to another level. I listen to it every year around the holidays.

This album is my blissful sanctuary at home and in the car from the Mariah Carey and Wham! infested waters that is the retail-store-PA system music during the holidays. Thanks for single-handedly keeping me sane every year since 2015. This album is the gift that keeps on giving. <3

This album is a holiday favorite in our house. Perfect for dark December nights. Not just spooky but some really beautiful Christmas music!

I love This Album.

I have a copy of this album. Play this one and close your eyes. Imagine you are in an old Scottish castle at Christmas time, and you discover that it is haunted!

So beautiful! I absolutely love this album!

Definitely one of my favourites!!! I dream of one day playing it on Vinyl!! Please do this!!

Wow, I somehow completely missed this album. Just bought a copy from Qobuz :)

My favorite album!! Merry Christmas guys!

It is one of my favorites for those stormy winter nights.

Need another!! Love this album. Cold , Dark and manages to still capture the Christmas Spirit.

It saves me from going crazy during the holiday season.

I started playing this album the day after Thanksgiving!!!!

A true masterpiece as usual

Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy is an absolute banger潘塔手

Is this one available on vinyl?

We're ready for a sequel!

Ed Douglas, I hope you and Gavin are doing well. 歹

It has become a Xmas favorite

One of my favorites, I have this playing when I read The Christmas Carol on Christmas Eve night.

My favorite

Love this album. Going to a Christmas haunt near me next weekend, so I will definitely be listening to A Ghostly Gathering! Amazing job, Midnight Syndicate !

MIDNIGHT SYNDICATE: Your music is wonderful! Very suspenseful!, I have them all!

Love it and listen to it every year!

Love this album!

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For over two decades, composersEdward DouglasandGavin Goszkahave been known as Midnight Syndicate, creating symphonic soundtracks to imaginary films that facilitate a transcendental and adventurous escape into the secret dimensions of the minds eye. To many of their fans, they are horror music pioneers brewing a signature blend of instrumental orchestral gothic music and movie-style sound effects. To others, they remain the first haunted house band that forever changed the Halloween music genre and became a staple of the October holiday season. Still others, know them for their contributions to the use of music in the roleplaying and board game industries.


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