Spock’s Beard - Snow Live album review

Modern prog classic, live at last

Cover art for Spock’s Beard - Snow Live album

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Immediately after Spock’s Beard’s 2002 concept double album Snow, Neal Morse left the band, having become a born-again Christian. Perhaps, then, its over-sincere narrative, in which an albino boy goes on what can only be described as an allegorical spiritual quest – thus the perpetual, although inaccurate, comparisons to Tommy, Quadrophenia and The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway – was inspired as much by reality as by fantasy. Either way, although they never played it live back then, Snow is generally recognised as one of the best American and finest 21st-century prog albums.

At 2016’s Morsefest in Nashville the original line-up (including Morse and Nick D’Virgilio) united with current members to at last perform the two-hour epic in its entirety, an event which fans – and devotees of this album tend to gush in terms of lives saved and suicides avoided – never thought would happen. Emotional, effervescent, the show goes from overtures to blues, from metal riffs to brass sections to Beatlesesque melodies; a definitive, ripe-for-parody, dauntingly impressive plateau of prog, gloriously unabashed.

Multiple formats offer DVDs of the occasion.

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has written about music, films, and art for innumerable outlets. His new book The Velvet Underground is out April 4. He has also published books on Lou Reed, Elton John, the Gothic arts, Talk Talk, Kate Moss, Scarlett Johansson, Abba, Tom Jones and others. Among his interviewees over the years have been David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Debbie Harry, Bryan Ferry, Al Green, Tom Waits & Lou Reed. Born in North Wales, he lives in London.