Album review: FLYING COLORS – Live In Europe

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2CD+DVD+BluRay+vinyl ltd edition [Release date 14.10.13]

Flying Colors are (whisper it quietly) a supergroup consisting of Neal Morse, Mike Portnoy, Steve Morse, Dave LaRue (Dixie Dregs) and Casey McPherson (Endochine/Alpha Rev). They released a superbly enjoyable debut album last year and this live show was recorded at Tilburg in the Netherlands on the subsequent tour. Having seen their London show I knew I was in for a treat with this CD!

They cover many musical bases from the prog lovers’ delight that is ‘Infinite Fire’ through to the melodic pop bliss of ‘Love Is What I’m Waiting For’, with its Beatles approved harmonies. ‘Kayla’ for me is one of the best tunes I have heard in years, sheer melodic bliss the way the vocals rise and fall on the choruses.

Plus for the modern rock lover try ‘Forever In A Daze’ for size, fast and furious with another massive chorus. Even Mike Portnoy gets a turn taking lead vocal on ‘Fool In My Heart’, sung in a light hearted style it shows how well the band seem to gel and get on together on stage (listen out for the cheeky dedication to Neal Morse).

Vocalist Casey McPherson is a top notch singer be it on his own song ‘Can’t Find A Way’ or a truly spine tingling version of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’. Of the band’s own songs the ballad ‘Better Than Walking Away’ gives him chance to start in a reflective mode before belting it out as the song reaches its crescendo.

Of course being on their debut album tour the band need a few more songs to fill out their set which they do by adding a song from each of their respective musical pasts, although strangely no Deep Purple as I guess Steve Morse is covered by ‘Odyssey’ from the Dixie Dregs. Dream Theater fans will enjoy the band’s interpretation of ‘Repentance’ whilst ‘June’ by Spock’s Beard is spot on and highlights the band’s abundance of musical talent.

The DVD is the same set list as the double CD with an added 45 minute on the road/behind the scenes documentary ‘First Flight’.

The only thing that could stop this band’s continued rise is the various other musical commitments of the band members, certainly Mr Portnoy who has since recorded with a new band Winery Dogs. But they have a second album in the works and until then enjoy this live recording of one of the better musical groupings for many a year.

****1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie


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