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Spock's Beard - Gluttons For Punishment - Live 05 CD (album) cover


Spock's Beard


Symphonic Prog

4.00 | 79 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars The new live album Gluttons for Punishment is the proof of that and shows that this band is still a force to be reckoned with. It was recorded over two gigs in Germany and the set contains a good mix of old and new, starting with their latest 30-minute epic A Flash Before My Eyes and finishing with their very first epic from their first album The Light. The seven part A Flash Before My Eyes is delivered particularly strong. I prefer the live version over the studio version, as the band plays much stronger (and heavier). Only Nick D'Virgilio seems to have some problems coping with the different vocal styles he used on the studio version. While it seems that Al Morse is always tripping on something other than his guitar playing when he plays on a Dutch stage, it is nice to hear on this album what his contribution to the music is supposed to sound like. He is on great form, and fills the music with loads of little riffs and licks not heard on the studio version.

Of the other tracks from their latest album the instrumental NWC is particularly fun. It includes both Ryo's portable keyboard solo, and a drum duet between D'Virgilio and tour-drummer Jimmy Keegan, which inevitably reminds of the similar stuff Phil Collins and Chester Thompson used to do at Genesis gigs.

Their previous album Feel Euphoria is only represented with two tracks on this live album: The quirky The Bottom Line, which works excellently in a live setting with all the different bits and pieces this miniature epic contains, and the post-Neal Morse song Spock's Beard has written, Ghosts of Autumn. Like the rest of the tracks it is delivered with much more power than the studio version. As for the oldies in the set, there were a lot more of them than on their previous tour. First up is an epic from The Kindness Of Strangers album: Harm's Way. Neal who?? While Nick's voice may seem a bit odd the moment he starts singing, you will forget all about the other guy before the sentence is finished. Talking about making a song your own. At The End Of The Day, was never one of my favourites (V simply isn't their best album), but it is a nice inclusion on the album anyway. Once again, Neal Morse's vocals aren't missed the slightest bit.

The Light is probably the hardest Neal Morse-era song to tackle, as this was pretty much a Neal Morse solo track conceived back in 1995, for which the rest of the band were called in to play their instruments. This is the only time on the album where you do miss Morse's vocals. I would say D'Virgilio is a stronger live singer than Morse, whose voice often wears out throughout the course of a gig, but D'Virgilio's voice does miss the aggression and venom needed for The Light. The Light is extended nicely with a long piano solo, and a full band jam at the end, keeping the Beard tradition of concerts becoming real parties onstage.

Ironically, Spock's Beard never released a particularly good live album when Morse was still in the band. All of the live albums the band released previously (and that's quite a lot of them) failed to capture the live spirit of the band. Fanclub bonus outtake album Don't Try This @ Home Either being the only exception, but that wasn't a proper album. Now, with Gluttons For Punishment Spock's Beard finally managed to release a live album which truly captures the spirit of the live Beard. Highly recommended!

| 5/5 |


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