The Neal Morse Band - Alive Again DVD review

Neal Morse raises his hands to the heavens once more.

Neal Morse Band Alive Again DVD cover

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An astoundingly prolific artist and one of prog’s most positive forces of nature, Neal Morse’s latest project, The Neal Morse Band, includes long-time collaborator Randy George and the ubiquitous Mike Portnoy. This live DVD (additionally presented over two audio CDs) documents the 2015 The Grand Experiment tour with a gig from Dutch prog-friendly venue the Boerderij.

Morse’s Christianity has been articulated consistently and explicitly since his departure from Spock’s Beard in 2002, and those who are put off by his more preachy material should buy this with caution. The setlist includes almost the whole of The Grand Experiment album, alongside material from Testimony, One, ? (Question Mark) and Lifeline. There’s even time for a bit of Spock’s in the form of a rousing version of Harm’s Way.

The performances are first-rate: there are the expected solos from Randy George, guitarist Eric Gillette and keyboard player Bill Hubauer; Portnoy is his usual flamboyant self; the camerawork and overall feel are quite intimate; and Morse plays and sings a blinder. Alive Again confirms Morse’s reputation as one of the most gifted artists working in the symphonic prog field.

Gary has contributed reviews and news features for Prog Magazine for over a decade now. A fan of prog and heavy rock since childhood, his main areas of interest are classic and symphonic prog, prog-metal and modern acts bringing in fresh influences to the genre. He has a professional background in youth and community work, he teaches drum kit in schools and is a working musician. Gary was the drummer in semi-legendary NWOBHM band Praying Mantis for a couple of years and has been a member of indie-prog-pop-art-rock combo The Mighty Handful for more than twenty years. He loves cats and skiing, and has a Blue Peter badge.