Data points, for what they're worth.
1 - We've used 110mm BCD cranks with 54mm chain rings (Shimano, White Ind. & TA) for 13 years on two of the four road tandems we've owned during this time.
2 - Never once have we even given a thought to the possibility of throwing a chain off the 54t ring under power.
3 - Our two Erickson tandems were nearly identical, except that the '98 has 110 BCD spiders and the '02 had 130 BCD spiders. Both ran 54t chain rings and the performance/reliability was identical with zero issues.
4 - Never had any issues with the various different sets of Shimano, FSA, TA, or White Ind chain rings we've used on our seven different tandems, except when I've stuck new chain rings on and forgotten that they don't play nice with anything other than new chains.
5 - I don't shift our tandem's Front Derailleur while it's under a heavy load -- I employ a momentary soft pedal at the front while shifting -- as that's the easiest way to get crisp, trouble-free up and down shifts.
6 - We're not world-class / watt-generating monsters, but neither are 98% of the people who ride tandems.