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Flying Colors: Live in Europe

In 2012 the pop/prog supergroup known as Flying Colors formed, releasing an acclaimed CD and doing a short tour that garnered rave reviews. The band was captured in Tilburg, Holland on September 20, 2012 and the full concert is now available on CD, DVD, and Blu-ray. This review is for the 2CD set, and it's a good one, as the band, made up of Mike Portnoy, Steve Morse, Neal Morse, Dave LaRue, and Casey McPherson, run through original Flying Colors material as well as some covers.

As solid as the Flying Colors debut CD is, these songs come across even better in a live setting. Melodic tunes such as "Love Is What I'm Waiting For", "Kayla", "Blue Ocean", "Forever in a Daze" and "Shoulda Coulda Woulda" sound even more hook laden, even more powerful musically in a live scenario, and the band sounds like they are having a blast playing them. McPherson really is a find, his pop styled vocals a perfect fit for the band and when paired with Neal's always alluring voice the results are magical. Of course, the group throw in a few nuggets from their other bands history, so look out for a venomous take on the Dixie Dregs classic "Odyssey", with Steve ripping it up on guitar and the whole band locked in tight. An acrobatic LaRue bass solo titled "Spur of the Moment" segues into an ominous rendition of Dream Theater's "Repentance", with Morse's guitar solo leading the band right into a gorgeous interpretation of the Spock's Beard classic "June", with Neal's vocals just soaring into the heavens. The best is saved for last though, with the three Flying Colors originals "All Falls Down", "Everything Changes", and "Infinite Fire", perhaps the most prog-rock sounding songs off their debut, and they are each given royal treatment here. The latter features some blazing guitar & keyboard trade-offs between the two Morse's.

I haven't seen the video of this concert yet, but judging by how good this live CD set is, no doubt it is spectacular. These guys really gel well together, and let's hope we haven't seen the last of them and that there's more Flying Colors to come.

Track Listing
1) Blue Ocean
2) Shoulda Coulda Woulda
3) Love Is What I'm Waiting For
4) Can't Find A Way (Endochine / Casey McPherson)
5) The Storm
6) Odyssey (Dixie Dregs)
7) Forever In A Daze
8) Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen)
9) Better Than Walking Away

1) Kayla
2) Fool In My Heart
3) Spur of the Moment (Dave LaRue)
4) Repentance (Dream Theater)
5) June (Spock's Beard)
6) All Falls Down
7) Everything Changes
8) Infinite Fire

Added: December 12th 2013
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 3904
Language: english

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Flying Colors: Live in Europe
Posted by Keith Hannaleck, SoT Staff Writer on 2013-12-12 07:16:39
My Score:

So what does a super group like Flying Colors do after releasing an amazing debut studio recording? Release a live album of course! It does make sense. While everyone is anxiously awaiting another studio project we can now enjoy Live In Europe. If you need some diversions they are plentiful as each band member has their own bands and solo projects they are always working on. It is an endless, albeit wonderful ongoing process that provides great music for the fan that enjoys progressive rock, rock and pop.
Flying Colors is Mike Portnoy (drums, vocals), Dave LaRue (bass), Neal Morse (keyboards, vocals), Casey McPherson (lead vocals) and Steve Morse (guitar). The band combines rock, progressive rock and pop in a most satisfying way. If you have not listened yet you need to discover this band! What better place to start than right here with this live release.

Live In Europe comes in several formats including a 2 CD set, DVD, Blu ray and a 3 LP limited edition set that is available on the band's website. For those familiar with the band and each individual member and their distinct sounds and recorded material outside the realm of the band, this will be a real treat. If you are concerned about quality well that does not have to be a sticky point. You can see and listen to the video provided of "The Storm" as everything and more is presented here with the utmost care and quality. Another point of contention normally with live releases is that bands have a tendency to be either unable or unwilling to duplicate what they have created in the studio. Again this is not the case here, they do it with all the flair and energy that each member can muster and it comes out sounding amazing.

Casey McPherson sounds great and he even does one of his own songs "Can't Find a Way" and it gives the young vocalists (young in comparison to the other band members!) a chance to shine on his own. It fits the set just right. Portnoy does Dream Theater's "Repentance," LaRue presents "Spur of the Moment," Morse does Spock Beard's "June," and Steve Morse gets his moment in the spotlight with the classic Dixie Dregs "Odyssey." This is all to the sheer delight of the crowd attending the concert as they get a cross section of prog rock history along with original band material.

Live In Europe hits the bulls eye in every aspect and if you are chomping at the bit for a great live experience on CD, DVD, Blu ray or LP I think this will set you straight, at least for a while until another album comes out. Progressive rock is enjoying tremendous growth and gaining popularity daily. With bands like Flying Colors that appeal to a large cross section of listeners, it opens the door to advances in musical development, plants the seeds for more growth and expansion and most of all adds new listeners within the genres broad scope. The "Infinite Fire" (a great closer for the show) of Prog has a multicolored paint brush that is continually creating new masterpieces, now we have one more to hang in the gallery.

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