One of the true legends of the prog rock movement – he produced no less than 16 albums collectively with Spock’s Beard and Transatlantic before the (perceived) conflict between his own spiritual beliefs and the demands of performing with secular musicians sent him down his own individual path…
Over recent years, Morse, however, has seemed to rediscover his love of playing music for the sake of playing music again – especially since his reunion with the ridiculously talented Mike Portnoy (with whom he first on his landmark ‘Testimony’ solo album a decade ago).
This wonderfully-packaged two-and-a-half hour long live DVD (which is accompanied by three CDs) captures Morse at the height of his powers, at an epic concert in New York in October 2012. What makes this an even more remarkable capturing of a moment in time is that, apart from Portnoy and longtime bassist Randy George, the three other musicians involved in this momentous concert – Adson Sodre, Bill Hubauer and Eric Gillette, each of whom turn in amazing, multi-instrumental peformances – had never played with Morse before this particular tour… and were in fact recruited to the band via YouTube videos!
The DVD is beautifully filmed – with a great mix of what appears to be fan-filmed footage intermingling with up close personal shots, making sure almost ever possible angle is covered – and truly captures the feel and spirit of Morse live, as he and the band showcase their skills to the maximum, combining all the classic elements of good, pompous, prog rock – from histrionic guitar and keyboard workouts through folksy fiddle solos, and every point in between.
Morse may on occasion push his Christian beliefs a bit too forcibly for some – such as on the cloying chorus to ‘Sleeping Jesus’, a song saved by its stunning musicianship – but the breadth and depth of the performances (and the plumbing of his back catalogue to include a rare but welcome outing of ‘The Distance To The Sun’) are sublime and at times awe-inspiring.
All in all, this is a great recording of a great musician working with a highly talented bunch of like-minded musicians to provide a wonderful snapshot of his ability, skill and love of music.
‘LIVE Momentum’ is released on February 18th via Radiant Records / InsideOut Music.