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SNOW LIVE

Spock's Beard

Symphonic Prog


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Spock's Beard Snow Live album cover
4.62 | 47 ratings | 5 reviews | 54% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
progressive rock music

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DVD/Video, released in 2017

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD 1:

Made Alive/Overture
Stranger In A Strange Land
Long Time Suffering
Welcome To NYC
Love Beyond Words
The 39th Street Blues (I'm Sick)
Devil's Got My Throat
Open Wide The Flood Gates
Open The Gates Part 2
Solitary Soul
Solitary Soul (continuation)
Wind At My Back
Second Overture
4th Of July

CD 2:

I'm The Guy
Reflection
Carrie
Looking For Answers
Freak Boy
All Is Vanity
I'm Dying
Freak Boy Part 2
Devil's Got My Throat Revisited
Snow's Night Out
Ladies And Gentlemen, Mister Ryo Okumoto On The Keyboards
I Will Go
Made Alive Again/Wind At My Back
Falling For Forever

DVD 1:

Made Alive/Overture
Stranger In A Strange Land
Long Time Suffering
Welcome To NYC
Love Beyond Words
The 39th Street Blues (I'm Sick)
Devil's Got My Throat
Open Wide The Flood Gates
Open The Gates Part 2
Solitary Soul
Solitary Soul (continuation)
Wind At My Back
Second Overture
4th Of July

DVD 2:

I'm The Guy
Reflection
Carrie
Looking For Answers
Freak Boy
All Is Vanity
I'm Dying
Freak Boy Part 2
Devil's Got My Throat Revisited
Snow's Night Out
Ladies And Gentlemen, Mister Ryo Okumoto On The Keyboards
I Will Go
Made Alive Again/Wind At My Back
Falling For Forever

Line-up / Musicians

Neal Morse (lead vocals, piano, synths, electric and acoustic guitar)
Alan Morse (electric guitars, vocals)
Ted Leonard (electric and acoustic guitar, vocals)
Jimmy Keegan (drums, percussion, vocals)
Nick D'Virgilio (drums, percussion, vocals, acoustic guitars)
Ryo Okumoto (keyboards, hammond organ, mellotron, jupiter 8, minimoog, vocoder)
Dave Meros (bass, vocals)

Releases information

Label: Radiant Records / Metal Blade Records
Release Date EU: November 10th, 2017

Thanks to 3LR3YCARM3SI for the addition
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SPOCK'S BEARD Snow Live ratings distribution


4.62
(47 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(54%)
54%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(30%)
30%
Good, but non-essential (9%)
9%
Collectors/fans only (7%)
7%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

SPOCK'S BEARD Snow Live reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by rdtprog
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Heavy / RPI / Symphonic Prog Team
4 stars Here another live release involving Neal Morse with one of his many groups of friends. This time he is with his old Spock's Beard friends that have not release a live album in a while. The event was recorded at Neal home church in Nashville where he has previously released some live shows with his others projects. The band did the whole "Snow" album, the most successful album of the band. This album has been written twice in the context of The World Trade Center event and in a period of time where Neil was uncertain about his future until he heard the voice of God telling him to go in another direction. The rest is history... It's nice to hear for a change a "song album" instead of long epic songs of 20 minutes that we have usually with Neal Morse. The line-up is impressive with two drummers, two guitar players and everyone chipping in on the vocals. The picture quality is crisp and clear, and quite entertaining to watch the visuals with the big screen in the back. You can enjoy the passion and fun that every musician got just playing this big double concept album that they did not have the chance to play because of Neal's departure. I rediscovered this album that is not my favorite but still has enough high-quality moments to make it a good concert. The second disk has the encore with the song "June" and "Falling For Forever". The making of documentary is worth watching for the Q&A session of each member with fans. Recommended!
Review by kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Reviewer
5 stars Back in 1995 a totally unknown quartet released their debut album. This was back in the days before internet existed, and the mainstream hated prog, so it was actually incredibly hard to hear about new bands, socially from America unless they were signed to a label such as Kinesis who were getting publicity. But, pretty soon everyone involved in the underground scene in the UK knew who they were, and were talking about them. I remember going to a gig at Shepherd's Bush, and afterwards everyone just seemed to be talking about this new band, and had anyone actually heard 'The Light'? Martin Orford was incredibly excited that GEP had secured the European rights and the first time I played that album I was in awe.

From there on Spock's Beard could do no wrong in my eyes or ears, as anyone reading Feedback will attest to, as I was shouting from the rooftops that this was the best band I had ever heard out of America. I saw them every time they came to London, and each gig was better than the last. Then in 2002 they released 'Snow'. At the time I was working on a project which involved me spending many hours in a car visiting different supermarkets each Thursday, which gave me the opportunity to blast this out at the correct volume, and I was saying that the best band in the world had just released the finest album possible. Then it was announced that Neal Morse had left, and that there would be no tour. I was in shock, and went through all the stages of grief (especially denial), as it just made no sense to me whatsoever. I mean, Gabriel went through with the Lamb tour didn't he? But no, it was all over. The next time I saw Spock's Beard they had California Guitar Trio as the initial support, followed by Enchant. They had long time been a favourite band of mine, so really enjoyed the set, but the same can't be said to Spock's Beard, and I left halfway through the set. I was fortunate enough to catch Neal on the 'Testimony' tour, and it was like old times, but I accepted that the finest album released in the past 20 years would never be played at a concert.

Fast forward to Saturday July 2nd, 2016, at New Life Fellowship Church in Cross Plains, and the unthinkable happened. The current line-up of Spock's Beard (Alan Morse, Ryo Okumoto, Dave Meros, Ted Leonard and Jimmy Keegan) were joined by Neal Morse and Nick D'Virgilio for one night only, and they performed 'Snow' in its entirety. Being performed in a church (as part of Morsefest) there was only ever going to be a small audience, so it was also recorded and filmed, and what I have here is the 2 DVD/2 CD set. There was no pressure on the band, all they had to do was perform the album note perfect for an audience that knew the words as well as they did, but also it was very much a one-off, never to be repeated. The first thing I did was play the DVDs, so that I could then listen to the CDs knowing what was going on. I must state that I felt sorry for Ted Leonard through this whole performance, as although he was always onstage, and made valuable contributions, he was very much the third wheel. Having a second drummer made a lot of sense as it allowed Nick to be at the front when he needed to be, but Ted was raised on a small dais behind Alan and just didn't look comfortable which is a real shame as he is one of the best singers around, and I have always enjoyed his work.

But, tonight was all about Neal being back where many SB fans feel he totally belongs, front and centre of the Beard, performing his songs. Not only was he the voice, but he also wrote the majority of the songs, and his ability to move between keyboards and guitar gave the band presence and ability they have missed without him there to provide it. Was it a brilliant performance of the album? Pretty much, it has to be said, and with an additional electric guitar from Leonard when the time was right, it added some crunch that would have been missed otherwise.

The DVD filming of the evening is also good, and the interplay between Jimmy and Nick is wonderful to see, especially in the duet on 'Falling For Forever', one of the only two non-'Snow' songs from the night (the other of course being 'June'). The question and answer section was interesting, especially as Rich Mouser was involved. The 'making of' was also really interesting, where they talk about the original recording and what had happened. I hadn't realised that the combination of Nick being incredibly unwell and the falling of the Twin Towers had a major impact on the album, which was basically re-written due to that.

Anyway, if you have no idea what 'Snow' is about then this four disc set isn't the place to start, go and get the original instead. If you are already a fan then this is indispensable. 'Nuff said.

Review by Gerinski
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Spock's Beard double concept album Snow was released in 2002 and Neal Morse left the band right away, without ever doing a tour for the album. This caused many to consider Snow 'the Beard's Lamb Lies Down on Broadway', but at least Genesis did tour the album before Peter Gabriel left. So in a sense, dreaming of a Spock's reunion to play Snow in its entirety felt to many like many of us dreamed of a Genesis reunion to play again the whole The Lamb in the 1980's or 90's. Nope, it never happened'

But this time the dream came true. With occasion of MorseFest 2016 and for a one-off concert, Neal rejoined the new complete Spock's lineup together with Nick D'Virgilio to perform Snow from top to bottom. So we get a 7 members band plus a trumpet and a sax for some songs. The 2 drummers Nick and Jimmy Keegan, 2 keyboardists Neal and Ryo (with Neal of course also playing guitars), Alan Morse, Dave Meros and Ted Leonard who sings and plays guitars, and all of them doing some vocals. The venue was Neil's local church so the audience is rather limited, and I envy them.

The performance is top notch and the sound and video quality are very good as you can expect from a 2017 release. You can see that the guys really enjoyed themselves in this gig. Having Keegan as double drummer allowed Nick D'Virgilio to take more center stage and sing lead vocals on some songs, something he clearly enjoys. Alan also visibly had a great time. The only one looking a bit more contrived is Ted Leonard, which is rather understandable being relegated to a small podium behind Alan and with Neal Morse clearly stealing the show with his endless energy. Even though Ted gets to sing lead on both runs of 'The Devil's Got My Throat' and does a lot of backing vocals and accompanying guitars.

As said the performance of Snow is flawless, and as encores we have (yeah you guessed it?) 'June', and the 27 minute suite 'Falling for Forever' including a very nice drums duet between Nick and Jimmy. And as bonus we have about 1 hour of Q&A with the band members, including producer Rich Mouser, and about half an hour interview with Neal about the writing of Snow and the idea of rejoining the Spock's for this gig. Plenty of stuff to enjoy.

So for all fans of The Beard this is a dream come true.

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars It was one of the biggest shocks to hit the early 2000s prog scene: no sooner had Spock's Beard released Snow, an ambitious double concept album, band leader Neal Morse (who had composed a substantial majority of their material to date - including almost all of Snow) quit. His declared reason at the time was that he wanted to focus his time on making solo work exploring his religious beliefs, and didn't think it would be right to expect the band to follow him down that particular rabbithole; as he would later allude to on the Testimony 2 concept album, a health scare involving his young daughter may well have prompted him to want to pull out of band projects altogether and stay at home more. Ambitious plans to perform Snow live were shelved, never to see fulfillment...

...until 2016, that is. After shocking the prog world by quitting all his existing band projects in 2002, Neal shocked it again in 2009 by returning to band work, reforming Transatlantic. Between that, the brand new Flying Colors project, and The Neal Morse Band (in which, despite the name, songwriting duties are shared much more evenly than on Neal's solo albums), it became evident that Neal was now comfortable with working as part of a band again, even on projects which didn't have an overt, explicitly stated Christian focus.

He'd even make appearances with Spock's Beard, joining them onstage at a festival or two and even making contributions to the Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep album, though being careful to be credited as a guest rather than a full member of the band. This was a classy move, because that album was the debut of Ted Leonard as the group's full-time frontman (after filling in for a departing Nick D'Virgilio on some live gigs), and it's clear that whilst Neal was happy to stop by to help out, he was also humble enough not to upstage the new singer right when he needed that spotlight.

Snow Live, however, represents perhaps the biggest and most significant reunion of Neal and Spock's Beard to date: a full live performance of the album, performed at Morsefest. (Morsefest is Neal's homegrown fan convention, a bit like his version of Marillion's weekend bashes - one likes to think of him chatting with his Transatlantic bandmate Pete Trewavas between takes in the studio, picking his brains about the logistics of running such things.) This consists of the full Snow epic, plus two encores - old favourite June and Falling Forever, a track previously recorded by Neal and Spock's Beard for the First Twenty Years compilation album.

Inevitably, such an undertaking involves Neal being prominently featured front and centre - a de facto reunion, even if just for this show (and a repeat in Europe a short while later). Snow was an extremely personal concept for him - it's basically him working through his feelings about quitting the band before he actually quit the band, he wrote almost all the music and lyrics, that's just inevitable.

Nonetheless, Neal and the band do a grand job of making the show less about Neal coming back and acting as frontman for one more night, and more about a celebration of the band's entire history. Far from sitting this one out, Ted Leonard is included in the show, the group doing a fine job of finding ways for him to contribute some lead performances as well as assisting with the backing vocals where it would serve the concept to do so. Likewise, Nick D'Virgilio came back for this gig, with the band using a two-drummer setup to allow him and Jimmy Keegan to play together, and he also contributes some vocals too in keeping with his role of frontman for the run of albums between Neal leaving and Ted Leonard joining.

(Having multiple vocalists on hand, in fact, turns out to be not just a bonus, but essential - after all, as with much early Spock's Beard stuff, there's some moments where they get into intricately intertwined vocals reminiscent of some of Gentle Giant's experiments in that vein; you might be able to do that solo in a studio by multi-tracking your voice, but you need a bunch of vocalists on hand to do that live!)

In other words, the album doesn't just include Neal Morse playing with Spock's Beard again - it also includes every single person who'd been an official member of Spock's Beard on a studio album up to this point. (Original bassist John Ballard isn't on it, but John was only in the band fairly briefly, departing before they recorded The Light.) The result is a performance of Snow which is somewhat warmer than the chilly title implies - and it works an absolute treat. Some credit has to be given to the delightful acoustics of the venue - it's Neal's local church, which gives the whole thing a nice, intimate sound, and on the whole I actually think the resulting performance sounds better than the rather clean, precisely-produced studio album.

The execution is absolutely spot on; despite the fact that neither Spock's Beard nor Neal's solo backing bands have performed all this material like this, they really nail it, like they've been playing this setlist regularly since Snow originally released. Or perhaps it sounds even better than that - maybe letting the material sit fallow for this long gave Neal and the group the appetite to really get their teeth into it now this wonderful opportunity had arisen. The fact that they deliberately only planned to play this show a very limited number of times, rather than doing a full Spock's Beard And Neal Morse Play Snow tour, might have also added a certain helpful frisson - nothing like knowing that you've got limited chances to get this right to focus the mind!

Of course, it'd be foolish to write off the possibility that Neal and Spock's Beard will perform this set again in future, or otherwise collaborate again - the very existence of this live album proves that all bets are off and "never say never" should be one's motto. But at the same time, if this is the last major collaboration between the two parties and it's just occasional guest appearances on a song here and there from here on out, this is a magnificent way for the Neal Morse-fronted incarnation of Spock's Beard to bow out, and does a fantastic job of providing the closure we never got back in 2002.

Latest members reviews

5 stars It's good to go back in time and try to make things right. That may be one of the reasons for Neil to rejoin SB for this concept album. It is reproduced very well with the orchestration and harmonies. This is a one-off and was not taken on the road. The band is really hyped to the max for th ... (read more)

Report this review (#1873193) | Posted by MaxnEmmy | Wednesday, February 7, 2018 | Review Permanlink

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