Flying LiveThe caliber of musicianship of all involved is well-known and the performances captured are all you'd expect them to be...

Live in Europe
Flying Colors
Mascot Label Group / Music Theory Recordings
Disc 1 - 9 tracks 52:35 Disc 2 - 8 tracks 47:34

Impeccably recorded with just the right amount of live ambiance, Flying Colors' Live in Europe features progmeisters Mike Portnoy (drums, vocals), Dave LaRue (bass), Neal Morse (keyboards, vocals), Casey McPherson (vocals, guitars), and Steve Morse (guitars) in an energetic, stunning performance in Tilburg, Holland about a year ago. For those keeping score, this is in fact the prog/pop supergroup that came together only a little over twelve months ago to concoct a collection of eleven hooky, epic songs designed to combine the best of the respective worlds of these legendary members of various well-known bands.

Before the first CD is through, Mike Portnoy, who acts as host through most of the concert, tells the audience,"We have a little bit of a dilema tonight," pausing for effect, he then continues: "we only have one album to choose from – and I know you guys expect us to play for more than an hour, right?" Of course Portnoy knew that the band already had the solution to this 'dilema' well in-hand. Not only does the band come through with fine performances of virtually every song from their debut studio album, but filling in the gaps are favorite songs from the musical storehouses of the individual members: Casey McFerson gives us "The Storm" (Endochine) as well as Leonard Cohen's "Halleluja," we get "Odyssey" (Dixie Dreggs), "Repentance" (Dream Theater), "June" (Spock's Beard), and "Spur of the Moment," from Dave LaRue.

The caliber of musicianship of all involved is well-known and the performances captured here are all you'd expect them to be. Steve Morse' guitar work is tasty and technically impeccable – often dazzling, but without losing any emotional effect, McPherson's vocals are textbook rock star quality, LaRue's bass work is solid and ornate, when 'ornate' is called for, Neal Morse brings the passion (as he always does) along with the stunning keyboard work, and Portnoy astounds with his work at the drumkit, while providing the needed comic relief so that things never get too serious.

It seems as if these men have such a great rapport, and such a musical kinship, that they simply couldn't wait to get out on the road to play. The tracks that they previously put together in the studio kick into high gear onstage and the comraderie between the band members comes through loud and clear between songs. The earnestness of "Kayla," the good-time summery feeling of "Fool in my Heart" (Portnoy sings, "I will always love Neal – forever I will," to the delight of the audience), the manic, controlled frenzy of "All Falls Down," and the grandeur of "Infinite Fire" make for a climactic disc two that leaves you with the feeling that there's a lot more to come from Flying Colors.

"Tilburg, you were great – as always," says Portnoy at the close of the concert. You'll be saying those same words, but about Flying Colors, hoping that this is just the start of their live-performance legacy.

This live double CD will be joined by the release of a limited edition 3LP vinyl set as well as a Blu-ray and DVD version.

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Bert Saraco