Radiant Records/Metal Blade [Release date 05.08/16]
This is a slightly more modest release – 2CD/DVD – after last year’s impressive ‘Morsefest 2014’ box set. This live show was recorded near the end of the ‘Alive Again’ world tour in Holland. Neal Morse is joined by Mike Portnoy (drums/vocals), Randy George (bass/vocals), Eric Gillette (keys/guitar/vocals/sax) and Bill Hubauer (lead guitar/vocals).
‘The Grand Experiment’ album is well represented and that’s a good thing about a Neal Morse set list, he isn’t afraid to add in lots of songs from his newest album. The title track from that album – a real pop rock monster – and ‘The Call’ are highlights, each showing the band’s musical dexterity and their vocal prowess on the wonderful harmonies.
Spock’s Beard fans will be delighted to hear ‘Harm’s Way’, again Neal doesn’t always go for the obvious song choices. The ‘?’ solo album has ‘In The Fire’ performed off it, although being honest this album is the one Neal Morse album I have never gelled with. Eric Gillette shows his guitar prowess with an impressive solo spot and a special mention to Bill Hubauer, who switches between instruments with ease and allows the live sound to replicate the musical complexity of the albums.
The DVD follows the CD set list with the added bonus of on the road footage. It is clear the band get on well on a personal level and really enjoy playing live for their fans.
A must have for Neal Morse fans and anyone who enjoys melodic progressive rock, impressive as always. ****
Review by Jason Ritchie
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