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Flying Colors

Live in St Charles, Illinois, October 2014

Review by Greg Olma

Flying Colors, for those of you who don’t know, is a prog super group that has been around for a few years now.  The band consists of Casey McPherson (Alpha Rev), Neal Morse (Transatlantic, ex-Spock’s Beard), Steve Morse (Deep Purple, Dixie Dregs), Dave LaRue (Dixie Dregs) and Mike Portnoy (Winery Dogs, Transatlantic, ex-Dream Theater).  Even though they have only released a couple of studio albums, they have created quite a buzz as being a group worthy of the “super group” moniker.   Their tour for the first album only hit a couple of locations in the US so when word got out that they would be playing at the Arcada Theater in St Charles, many fans showed up from far away states to catch them on this very limited US tour.

Since the band has two releases under their belt, they were able to play a lengthy set of just Flying Colors material.  There was no need to pad the set with other music.  The show started with a couple of new tunes “Open up Your Eyes” and Bombs Away.”  The latter is a prime example of the band creating a prog tune but with a lot of pop elements thrown in.  Even though they were here to promote their new album Second Nature, the guys were more than happy to deliver a bunch of tracks from their self-titled debut.  “Forever in a Daze,” “Kayla,” and “The Storm” along with a couple of others were all trotted out for those of us familiar with that album.  Second Nature was only released a few days before the show so I don’t know if many people were as familiar with the new tunes but ultimately, it didn’t matter because the band could really do no wrong during the show.  Even when McPherson’s amp kept going out, the crowd seemed to cheer louder when he just took to the mic and improvised.  McPherson also played “Colder Months” (Alpha Rev tune) which turned out to be a bit of a solo showcase for him.

Greg Olma
Greg Olma
Greg Olma

As mentioned earlier, the band was showcasing many new songs and of the newer cuts, “Peaceful Harbor” and “Mask Machine” stood out.  Both tracks drew you in, and even though many of us had not heard these two before, we enjoyed them as much as the familiar pieces.  The crowd certainly was not going to let Flying Colors leave without playing an encore so the band came back for “Infinite Fire.”  The term “Super Group” is not something I like to throw around lightly.  Even though each of the musicians in Flying Colors is at the top of his selected instrument, together they manage to produce music that is better than the sum of the parts.  There is a magic between these guys and the songs they create.  The show in St Charles proved just that.

Greg Olma
Greg Olma
Greg Olma
This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 6 at
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