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Spock's Beard - Live CD (album) cover

LIVE

Spock's Beard

 

Symphonic Prog

4.09 | 55 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

PrawgDawg
4 stars Spock's Beard is like middle-distance runner Gabe Jennings; strung out somewhere between enlightenment and accomplishment. Always on the verge of greatness, they sometimes take a detour but always find a means to forge ahead. They've produced many winning albums. Whether good or bad, they've each had their moments.

Considering another analogy, their career has been like a theatrical act starting with the prelude and going through much drama. For longtime fans, they've experienced too many climatic peaks to count on one hand. With so much buildup, we still wait for them to deflate. Something tells me that they have several laps to go before their lungs collapse or their musical musculature breaks down.

With so little left to resolve and inconsequential kinks in need of massage, they just continue to put out great works and run successful circuits of breathtaking tours. Now they release their best DVD to date and prove that they're keeping pace with pack leaders.

As if they're Prefontaine, they're off and running a mere fraction of a second after the starter pistol fires. Then like Bannister, they log a strong finish. With products such as these, they have no reason to quit at the finish line. Run Spock's Beard Run!

Now that this pep talk is out of the way, let's review what occurs on this recording to determine what's enviable and what - if anything - needs improvement.

The artwork on the cover and the computer graphics overlaying their play pulsates in an intuitively vibrant way. From the opening plop, it's totally effervescent.

The menu is simple and creative as it has their images imprinted on their symbol. Outside these iconic borders is psychedelic angel hair pasta superimposed on saucy inundated fans.

More important than superficialities, the song selection is right on the money. They choose some very good pieces that rarely get combined within the bento box. Every water stop and hydration break is a pleasant surprise since they jog through many eras.

They open with their best song on the disc: That would be "On a Perfect Day". The outcome of the initial kick couldn't have been more ideal. Still, they don't shoot their entire wad in one stroke of the conductor's wand. "In the Mouth of Madness", "Crack the Big Sky", and "Walking on the Wind" are quality pieces cooked to almost the same perfection as their idyllic introduction. Whatever it is they are noodling, they're al dente and will satisfy any progressive fan in need of a carbo-load.

We get solos, gags, dancing and dueling. The instrumental, "Return to Whatever", is also plenty fun and headman, Nick D'Virgilio, is awesome in how he changes between guitars, drums, vocals, and hairstyles.

Fooling aside, the whole group is pretty amazing. It's well documented there is nothing left to say, but I provide the pronouncement for soon-to-be buffs.

Later highlights include the multi-track epic, "As Far as the Mind Can See", and a conclusive medley featuring distillate from "The Water" dissolved in a tall glass of "Go the Way You Go". This particular encore is quite refreshing after the very lengthy set.

Apart from the main feature, there is a pictorial set to music. If anything, this is a nice gesture but it's practically cool whip intended for completists; mostly since the concert is worthy of being the sole trophy on display. Best to spend your time hanging out with the live-action entourage instead of reminiscing over dusty memorabilia.

As far as my mind can see through many hours of audiovisual scrutiny, the DVD and sister CD are identical in content. Yet, the DVD is far superior due to the plastic surgery done to the material in terms of stage presence and cosmetic tweaks. This says a lot when their colorful sound is already healthy and beautiful without the light show.

9/10

PrawgDawg | 4/5 |

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