The band are superbly tight, on form and really enjoying themselves.
One thing you can be sure of is after a tour involving any of Neal Morse's ventures (solo, Transatlantic, Flying Colors ...) there'll be an extensive DVD and CD package commemorating the fact. Back in Issue #69 I reviewed this tour's London show in glowing terms, therefore reliving it via this recording made in the Netherlands is extremely gratifying, one blemish aside.
At each show Morse played an acoustic solo spot, a different song every night, unfortunately the track served up here ('There is Nothing That God Can't Change') is just too cloying, sentimental and overtly religious for my taste. In London we got Transatlantic's wonderful 'Shine', I'd much prefer that song to have been included. However, that is a small blip as the rest of the show is superb with the sheer quality of the music and musicianship shining through. All the players are excellent, as you'd expect, but I have to mention guitarist Eric Gillette who is a superstar and to my mind gives John Petrucci (Dream Theater) a run for his money when it comes to versatility, feel and the ability to construct sublime solos that don't resort to shredding. He does just a bit of this during his short solo spot that prefaces 'In The Fire'. He's also no slouch as a singer either.
'The Call' is a sensational opening, from its A Cappella start through melodies and hooks large enough to snare a whale and an utterly addictive chorus – it hits the mark. 'Leviathan' and 'The Grand Experiment' keep things rattling along in fine style before the pace is taken down a notch for the splendid 'Harm's Way', a welcome airing for the Spock's Beard classic.
'Waterfall' is an exquisite acoustic number where the vocal prowess of the band is to the fore, it's a goose-bumps moment. Gillette shines here as he takes the lead vocal at certain points. 'In The Fire' features solos from pretty much everyone and really Rocks. The epic 'Alive Again', all thirty-three minutes of it, then takes you on an incredible journey not least as the players swap instruments. The encore is a medley of some of Morse's religious material but is none the worse for that.
The word that comes to mind as I listen to this recording is "joyous", the band are superbly tight, on form and really enjoying themselves.