Neal Morse - ? Live

Published Monday 14th January 2008
Neal Morse - ? Live
Neal Morse - ? Live

RATING 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10
LABEL: Independent

Reviewed by Anthony Longville

2005 saw the release of perhaps the greatest work to date from Neal Morse, former frontman of prog rock supergroups, Spock's Beard and Transatlantic - a 10 square CR rating with a short title - '?'. This two CD set is taken from a Berlin show on Morse's 2006 European tour. The studio release of '?' was a continuous 60 minutes of music based on the theme of the Tabernacle, and featured a number of big name guests. The first disc here is a complete performance of that rock symphony, with a little 'preaching' added in. For the tour the guest musicians are replaced by five European-based session musicians who back Morse impressively. It is difficult to comment on the individual contributors here as Morse moves seamlessly from one instrument to another. Be good to watch this on DVD to see who's playing what when and how it all fits together. But the overall sound is impressive, not as polished as the original recording, but full of life and high calibre musicianship. Disc 2 contains large sections of Morse's previous top rated album, 'One'. This includes the excellent "King Jesus" originally only a track on the bonus disc. On "Cradle To The Grave", originally a vocal duet with Phil Keaggy, Morse is joined by his young son, Wil, who has a pleasant melodious voice - will he grow into a musical colossus, I wonder? Offered here as bonus tracks is a medley of songs from Morse's previous bands. "We All Need Some Light" from Transatlantic comes first and is followed by the highlight, three songs from Morse's final album with Spock's Beard, 'Snow'. These tracks, "Open Wide The Floodgates", "Solitary Soul", "Wind At My Back", were some of the first songs which revealed Neal's new found faith and fit in perfectly with the overall set. Jessica Koomen's vocals (on the parts originally sung by current Beard frontman Nick D'Virgilio) enhance the listening experience. All in all a timely reminder of one of the music scene's great talents.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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Reader Comments

Posted by Dennis McDonnell in Sebastopol CA USA @ 03:54 on Jan 11 2016

All Neal's music is inspiring. To hear and see him with a female singer and player adds a lot of dimension to things overall.

Posted by wolfgang elste in germany @ 15:28 on Mar 9 2008

Neal Morse is among the top ten of my all time favourit musicians. I was just wondering if there will be a review about his three worship albums (Lead me Lord, Send the fire, God won't give up) or about his christian acoustic Bob Dylan influenced album 'Songs from the highway' (which I think is very good) I think the music of Neal Morse is so encouraging and good because he writes songs about every life situation - about happiness and joy and also about pain, loneliness and sadness ......and you can buy or order his christian music in every secular cd shop .......wolfgang

Posted by Wicky de Viking in Netherlands @ 10:28 on Feb 6 2008

Yeah it's a great disc! I really love it. The DVD by the way will be released this spring, like may or so...

The opinions expressed in the Reader Comments are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms.

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