Morsefest 2015-? And Sola Scriptura Live

Neal Morse

Metal Blade/Radiant Records, 2017

http://www.nealmorse.com

REVIEW BY: Mark Kadzielawa

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 04/05/2017

Neal Morse just released his excellent and ultra-progressive The Similitude Of A Dream, and now he's back with second edition of his Morsefest series. It's a lavish package made for hardcore fans, and let's face it, Neal Morse fans are nothing short of being hardcore fans. Well, their dedication is once again rewarded with this grand release. The lovely package contains four CDs and two DVDS. It's the complete audio and visual representation of the Morsefest. Morse and his band perform two different albums in their entirety, and as always, they add some extra surprises. The albums in question are nbtc__dv_250 ? (2005) and Sola Scriptura (2007.)

Morse has a very solid band behind him made up of Mike Portnoy on drums, Randy George on bass, Bill Hubauer on keyboards, and Eric Gillette on guitar. All of those guys sing as well. If that wasn't enough, there are plenty of special guests, horn section, and a choir. It's no longer just prog; it's prog with wings! It's a grand presentation, and Morse goes all the way to make sure the fans get the maximum bang for their bucks. It's all very well rehearsed and no detail goes overlooked. But you don't really notice that because it's the music that simply takes you to another place, and everything else just adds to the overall experience.

There's definitely an intensity and complex to this music and how it is being served. The players are having fun on stage, doing what they love, and the audience is just ecstatic with excitement. Whether you're listening to the CDs or watching the DVDs, it all just flows naturally. Nothing is forced here; it’s just good vibes all over the place. No wonder Morse wanted to immortalize this event as an official release. Plus, it's a wonderful souvenir for all in attendance. And for all like this writer who weren't there, it makes you wish you were. The DVDS include some cool extras like the behind the scenes features and the absolutely hilarious Prog Jeopardy.  So it's not all serious – there is plenty of laughter, but above all, this is a solid dose of spiritual prog.

Rating: A

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