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Spock's Beard

Symphonic Prog

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Spock's Beard  The Official Live Bootleg album cover
3.82 | 37 ratings | 1 reviews | 22% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Live, released in 1996

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Light (16:19)
2. Go the Way You Go (12:40)
3. Thoughts (7:05)
4. The Water (23:12)
5. On the Edge (7:01)

Total Time: 67:07

Line-up / Musicians

- Neal Morse / vocals, synth, piano, acoustic guitar
- Alan Morse / electric guitar, acoustic guitar, vocals
- Dave Meros / bass, vocals
- Nick D'Virgilio / drums, vocals
- Ryo Okumoto / mellotron, hammond, ARP odyssey

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
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SPOCK'S BEARD The Official Live Bootleg ratings distribution

(37 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(22%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(41%)
Good, but non-essential (30%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

SPOCK'S BEARD The Official Live Bootleg reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Warthur
4 stars Spock's Beard's first live album comes in two distinct configurations and - confusingly - under two different titles, though in terms of the actual music you get the versions are almost identical. To keep them straight: The Official Live Bootleg is what the release was called when it came out on Radiant Records, the independent label Neal Morse originally set up to put out the band's own works on, whilst The Beard Is Out There is what the album was retitled as when InsideOut gave it a wider release.

Either way, the basis of the album is the band's set at Progfest 1995, in support of The Light, and includes performances of all the tracks from that album, plus Thoughts from Beware of Darkness. The Beard Is Out There version adds on to the end the finale - a performance of Waste Away, also from Beware of Darkness, intertwined with Jimi Hendrix's Fire to bring the set to a rocking conclusion.

Whichever release you are dealing with, you're getting into an interesting spot in ​the band's history. They're riding high from the warm reception The Light received in prog circles, and they've just added Ryo Okumoto on keyboards, but they've not yet gone into the studio to complete Beware of Darkness. Okumoto slides seamlessly into the lineup, making it possible to perform live renditions of the complex epics from The Light in the first place (Neal wouldn't have enough arms otherwise!), the band's ability to bring those studio marathons alive in tight, energetic versions is impressive, and the previews of Beyond of Darkness are welcome. Thoughts, in particular, is about as unabashed a tribute to Gentle Giant as any 1990s band would produce.

The recording quality is broadly fine - a little shaky towards the start of the album, perhaps, but this may well be down to the live mixing desk not quite being right until a little way into the performance; such is often the case at festivals, after all. Either way, in whichever configuration, this is a decidedly solid live album which really shows how well Spock's Beard's early material translates to the stage. If you'd only heard The Light at this point in time, you might have wondered whether the Beard could really pull this off, or whether they were relying on studio wizardry; this is where they prove they could tackle the stage right from their earliest days.

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