Fans of the first half of the career of Spock's Beard who have yet to hear this 1999 double CD release Live at the Whisky and NEARfest probably need to do so as quickly as possible, and revisit why this modern day progressive rock band has been such a beloved band over the last decade. Spanning 13 tracks, this set was recorded straight from the mixing board, containing highlights from both their May 11th show at The Whisky in Los Angeles and their June 27th headline appearance at the inaugeral NEARfest festival in Bethehem, Pennsylvania, both in 1999.
Most of the early Spock's Beard classics are represented here, like the epic "The Light" ( a fantastic version is included here, from The Whisky), the complex ditties "Mouth of Madness" and "Gibberish" (let the Gentle Giant comparisons begin!), as well as the moody & tender ballads "Go the Way You Go" and "Distance to the Sun". Plus, who can resist raging prog rock jaunts like "Crack the Big Sky", "The Doorway", and the vintage sounding "Walking on the Wind", all stellar slices of progressive music that made the band a perennial favorite among fans. Included also is a charming cover of the Genesis classic "Squonk", recorded at NEARfest.
With Neal Morse leaving the band a few years back, this version of the band is now but a memory, but it's a great memory that can be savored over and over by digging into this CD from time to time. From Neal's charistmatic presence and vocal ability, to brother Allan's wild guitar skills, to Nick D'Virgilio's tight drum work, to Ryo Okumoto's raging Hammond, synths, and Mellotron, and to Dave Meros' muscular bass work, this was a band firing on all cylinders in 1999. Savor the memories...
2. In the Mouth of Madness
5. Go the Way You Go
6. Distance to the Sun
7. Crack the Big Sky
11. Waste Away
13. Walking on the Wind