neal morse live momentumAn amazing package of sight and sound – Neal Morse brings Live Momentum from NYC to your own CD and video player....

Live Momentum
Artist: Neal Morse
DVD / CD package – also available on Blu-ray
English, stereo – option for 5.1 surround
Metal Blade / Radiant Records DVD and Blu-ray

Forget about football – are you ready for some prog? Just a few days shy of the Big Game, Neal Morse and friends released a Super Bowl of sound in Live Momentum, some three hours of live progressive rock on two video discs and three audio CDs. The question is: touchdown or fumble? I'll put it this way – I wouldn't blame Neal if he spiked his guitar and did a victory dance at the end of the show.

Of course fans have come to expect a generous musical package from Progmeister Morse, and Live Momentum delivers not only the aforementioned three hour performance recorded this past October at New York's Highline Ballroom, but also a one-hour documentary detailing the recent North American tour.

The concert portion of the video is a straight-forward document of what happened onstage, using multiple well-placed cameras and featuring excellent sound reproduction. Morse's hand-picked band navigates the material like a well-oiled machine. The familiar and dependable Randy George on bass and the explosive Mike Portnoy on drums are joined by new-recruits Eric Gillette (keyboards, guitars, vocals), Bill Hubauer (keyboards, violin, sax, vocals) and Adson Sodré (guitar and vocals), who earned their way into Morse's band through a series of auditions that started on YouTube. Make no mistake – these are not just hired hands, but a tight working band that shows a joy of playing and has developed a camaraderie and interaction that's a pleasure to watch.

Guitar freaks get excellent views of Gillette and Sodre (each of them guitar heroes in their own right) as their fingers fly across the fretboard and drummers will be thrilled with the views above, in back, and in front of the inimitable Portnoy as he punishes his drum kit. Randy 'the rock' George nails down crisp, funky, melodic bass lines, anchoring the songs in place - calm, collected, having fun but keeping things in check. Of course, Neal himself is no slouch on guitar and keys, but with three keyboards on stage and two other capable guitarists, Morse is free to concentrate on delivering his passionate vocals and even gets to step out with the mike from time-to-time. Still, Morse's stunning instrumental skills don't take a back seat, as he regularly steps away from a perfectly delivered run on the keyboard to a dazzling display of guitar virtuosity as if this was an everyday occurrence. And, lucky for us, with Neal Morse, it is. In the back, on house right of the stage, is multi-instrumentalist, Bill Hubauer. Hubauer, mostly producing intricate parts on the synth, also plays violin and sax, making the 'quiet' member of the band a quadruple threat when you add in his vocal abilities. Oh – and did I mention that all of the band members also sing and are able to recreate Neal's five and six part vocal harmonies at the drop of a hat? Hard-core harmony, folks.

The set list includes material from Neal's solo career as well as “Distance to the Sun” from his Spock's Beard days and “Crazy Horses” from the Cover 2 Cover album (Neal takes over the drum seat while Portnoy rocks out with the vocals on this song). Neal seems very comfortable with this band and there seems to be a definite difference - a new feeling to these performances (having been at this show, I can attest to that). Even helming the power and complexity of a prog show (and this is a band fully capable of delivering just that), Morse himself seems more freed-up to communicate his soul to the crowd – as if he knows he can trust this band to 'take care' of the music even when he's not micro-managing. Emotional high-points are several, but especially at the end of “Question Mark Suite” and “Testimony Suite.” Don't worry – Portnoy doesn't allow things to get too emotional for very long.

Live Momentum is a nicely-packaged set that opens again and again, eventually showing five panels, each holding a disc and each featuring live concert images. Excellent performance, well photographed and recorded, plenty of content.


Bert Saraco

To read more about this concert, and to see more concert images (some not included in the packaging) go to

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