Album review: FLYING COLORS – Third Stage Live In London

FLYING COLORS - Third Stage Live In London

Music Theories Recordings [Release date 07.08.20]

Filmed during Flying Colors’ 2019 US and European tour on the 14 December at Shepherd’s Bush Empire on the final night of that tour. They had only played nine shows on the tour, which saw Mike Portnoy stand up mid-set and quip, “Welcome to the rarest of all sightings, rarer than a UFO sighting, rarer than a sasquatch sighting. A Flying Colors sighting, here on stage in London.”

Flying Colors are a prog rock supergroup consisting of guitarist Steve Morse (Deep Purple, Dixie Dregs, ex-Kansas), drummer Mike Portnoy (Winery Dogs, ex-Dream Theater, Transatlantic), keyboardist/vocalist Neal Morse (Transatlantic, ex-Spock’s Beard, and a prolific solo artist in his own right), bassist Dave LaRue (Dixie Dregs), and vocalist and songwriter Casey McPherson (Alpha Rev, The Sea Within).

This the band’s third official live album release, now matching the amount of studio albums they have so far released!

“Oldies” ‘Blue Ocean’ and ‘A Place In Your World’ start things off nicely, before two songs of the band’s 2019 release ‘Third Degree’, namely ‘The Loss Inside’ and ‘More’. The new songs fit seamlessly into the band’s sound and setlist.

The first crowd sing-a-long comes in for ‘Kayla’, one of those pop based tunes the band do so well. Little wonder this song receives such a warm response from the crowd. Similarly the newer song, ‘You Are Not Alone’ – written by Casey McPherson about Hurricane Harvey and the devastating effect it had on his home town of Austin, Texas – looks set to become another fan favourite and live set staple.

The band’s harmony vocals are something else, as Neal Morse and Mike Portnoy combine well with Casey McPherson on the Beatles meets Beach Boys ‘Love Letters’.

The band ‘prog out’ on a trio of epic tunes, ‘Crawl’, ‘Infinite Fire’ and ‘Cosmic Symphony’, allowing each of them to showcase their musical chops, including Steve Morse and Dave LaRue, who is a superlative bass player.

‘Mask Machine’ rounds the set off, a nice and heavy finish to a well-rounded set that featured plenty off the new album.

Available on a variety of formats pretty much essential for fans of the band (I can’t comment on the visuals having only listened to the audio for reviewing purposes), as again Flying Colors prove why they are one of the best live acts around. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie

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