SPECIAL PRE-ORDER OFFERS:
- Free audio download of the first single “Welcome to the World” with ALL pre-orders.
- Four additional songs from the album will be released as videos. As they are released, if you have pre-ordered the album in any format, those four songs will be made available as free audio downloads (“The Great Adventure,” “Welcome To The World 2,” and “Vanity Fair” available for download now.)
To get your free audio download of “Vanity Fair,” first pre-orderThe Neal Morse Band – The Great Adventure and then CLICK HERE (You will purchase the audio download for $0.00 and then follow the download instructions in the return email you receive from Radiant Records. Only those who have pre-ordered “The Great Adventure” will be able to download the singles.)
Back in 1995, a totally unknown quartet released their debut album. This was back in the days before the internet existed, and the mainstream hated prog, so it was actually incredibly hard to hear about new bands, especially from America unless they were signed to a label such as Kinesis who was getting publicity. But, pretty soon everyone involved in the underground scene in the UK knew who they were, and we’re talking about them. I remember going to a gig at Shepherd’s Bush, and afterward, 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 at the time 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 in its entirety, 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 a long time been a favorite band of mine, so I really enjoyed the set, but the same can’t be said to Spock’s Beard, and I left halfway through the gig. 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) was 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 center 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 in-‘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 realized 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.
Kev Rowland 10/10
Would you like to spend a week learning music composition, arranging, and audio recording with NEAL MORSE? The Radiant School is your opportunity to do just that!
Neal says: “We have had two Radiant School weeks over the last few years and they have been so cool! I have been astounded by the quality of people that have come to Nashville to join me in my studio for a week of creating together. I’m not sure right now which engineer is going to join us but it will be awesome I am sure. While I was on the Similitude tour last year, many people told me that they would like to be a part of the Radiant School, but they needed more notice. So, here you go!”
Each student will have a small space to set up their music workstations. Neal will demonstrate an example of how he composes and records. Then he will be listening to the participants and giving ideas as they compose and work together. Students will take turns coming into the tracking room with Neal and working on their music. Then we will spend some time recording some of the best music that is written. This will be determined by Neal. On the last day we will mix as much of the music as we can. (You are free to use any recordings from this class as you wish.)
When: Monday, July 23rd – Friday, July 27th
Where: Radiant Studios in Cottontown, TN
Click here for more information on pricing and logistics.
SPACE IS EXTREMELY LIMITED! We are only accepting a small number of students, so secure your spot today.