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Flying Colors

Live In Europe DVD

Review by Greg Olma

Flying Colors is a prog super group that has been around for quite a few years now.  It consists of Neal Morse (ex-Spock’s Beard), Mike Portnoy (ex-Dream Theater and a whole lot of other bands), Steve Morse (Deep Purple and Dixie Dregs), Dave LaRue (Dixie Dregs), and Casey McPherson (ex-Endochine). 

While Neal Morse and Portnoy had worked together previously, this new venture is unique in bringing in the jazz rock talents of LaRue and the other Morse into the fold.  They also add in McPherson, who I had not known about until the formation of Flying Colors.  While the band is already on their third record, this DVD is a celebration of their tour for the first album recorded back in 2012.  As all things Portnoy is associated with, I find the quality of this DVD to be quite good.  Since the band was not playing in an arena, they still made the most of the lighting and stage to really bring the music to life.  I enjoy concert films that are done like this release where they don’t cut away from the musician quickly giving you a headache because you’re not able to focus on the visuals.  With Live In Europe, you get the feeling of actually being at the concert because you can focus on the appropriate performer and watch what they are doing at that moment. 

As I mentioned earlier, since this was the tour for the first record the set-list consisted of basically the whole record with some cover songs thrown in to flesh out the set.  Songs like “Repentance” from Dream Theater fit nicely in the set as did the other cover tunes “June” (Spock’s Beard), “Odyssey” (Dixie Dregs) and “Can’t Find A Way” (Endochine).  McPherson also did a great job with Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” during a bit of a solo spot.  All in all, the show was performed perfectly (as you would expect from the caliber of these musicians), but it wasn’t mechanical in the slightest.  There was a warmth to the performance that many prog bands can’t seem to incorporate into their concerts. That lack renders a lot of other prog shows more an exhibition of talent instead of performing of songs.

The disc contain a small documentary of the European tour as a bonus, and, while it is fun to watch, it won’t be something that you will return to many times.  The main feature, on the other hand, is truly the meat and potatoes of why you should buy this DVD.  If you are a fan of any of the musician, or if you just like prog tunes performed by the masters of their craft, this is a "must buy." I highly recommend it.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) in Music Street Journal: 2020  Volume 3. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2020.

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