Neal Morse, Spock's Beard Reunite For Two Shows
Spock's Beard is one of the best progressive rock bands of the last 20 years. In 2001, they were getting set to record their sixth studio album, and it would become a two CD concept album called Snow. Neal Morse was the principle songwriter and singer for the band, and he was going through a spiritual journey of his own, somewhat along the lines of the character Snow.
The story on the album follows the journey of Snow. He's gifted in the ability to connect with people spiritually and help them with their troubles. He leaves his small town and goes to new York City, where he meets all sorts of interesting characters, becomes famous, let's it go to his head, falls for a girl who dumps him, loses control and somehow comes out better in the end.
Writing began around the time of 9/11/2001. As the album neared completion, Neal had his own spiritual awakening and became a born again Christian. When the album was released, he left the band to pursue his own path in music. He also urged the band to continue on. They did a couple of acoustic sets to promote Snow, and then parted ways. They never toured to promote the album. The band immediately went back into the studio without Neal to record their next album.
Neal didn't stay away from music. In fact, he's been quite prolific in doing several solo albums, mostly progressive rock. He's also recorded with Transatlantic, Flying Colors and other groups. Last year, he did Morsefest, an event where he performed along with other bands. His old band, Spock's Beard, was invited. For the occasion, they performed the entire Snow album from start to finish for the first time. They later repeated the performance in Germany.
The group performed as if they never missed a beat. Neal's renditions of Long Time Suffering and I Am The Guy were highlights, along with Nick D'Virgilio's Welcome To New York City. Neal was visibly moved near the end when he played I Will Go. No doubt, the significance of the moment and all of the old memories came rushing back right then.
Snow is seen in the Prog Rock community as one of the band's best albums. In studio, it was the band at their best. It may have been that moment when they were about to take it to the next level, but instead it was a fitting last recorded statement by the original five members, Neal Morse and his brother Alan Morse, Dave Meros, Nick D'Virgilio and Ryo Okumoto.
The cameras were rolling for these shows, and Morse will be releasing a live DVD through his Radiant Records label. Neal recently released a new Neal Morse Band CD in November, The Similitude Of A Dream. It has been hailed by some as his best work yet. The others continue to tour as Spock's Beard and have recorded several CD's since Neal's departure. D'Virgilio left the band to pursue a solo career, but he has returned for the next album.
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