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Neal MorseRockhal, Esch sur Alzette, Luxembourg
27th March 2019
The Neal Morse Band

NEAL MORSE is an American singer, multi-instrumentalist, bandleader and progressive Rock composer based in Nashville, Tennessee. In 1992, he formed the Progressive Rock band SPOCK’S BEARD with his brother Alan and released an album which was moderately successful. In 1999, he joined former DREAM THEATER co-founder Mike Portnoy to form the super-group TRANSATLANTIC. In 2002, NEAL MORSE became a born again Christian, left SPOCK’S BEARD and began a Christian Rock solo career, releasing many Progressive Rock concept albums about his new religious faith. In the meantime, he continued to play with TRANSATLANTIC and formed three new bands with Portnoy, YELLOW MATTER CUSTARD, FLYING COLORS and THE NEAL MORSE BAND.

Music & Performance
The start of the concert had already been scheduled for 8 pm. Although this indicated that an opening act would play, THE NEAL MORSE BAND performed immediately. Great, without a previous support act you can dedicate yourself completely to the band you came for to the Rockhal on Wednesday evening. The latter was full of expectant fans, prepared for a few hours of entertaining prog music with a remarkable live performance. It was noticeable that it was - apart from a manageable number of women - a pure male audience waiting for the band in a good mood until the back of the hall. Just in time the intro started and the crowd roared that this wonderful evening finally started. Neal Morse appeared in the dark… with a white hoodie jacket. Little by little the band joined in. They started with a brilliant show. Mr. Morse also left the stage between the songs to stand in front of the crowd in a new outfit. He has really given a lot of attention to how he can best express his music visually.

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Bassist Randy George seemed like the calming influence of the band and didn’t have a big radius of action. Exceptional drummer Mike Portnoy stood out for his joy of playing and his usual agile drumming. Besides there were always interactions with the audience and the bandleader. In changing roles (as a singer, guitarist or keyboard player) Mr. Morse was full with honest enthusiasm. In general, singing was one of the most outstanding element of that concert evening. All five musicians on stage took more or less part in the backing vocals, but especially keyboarder Bill Hubauer and guitarist Eric Gillette took over several lead parts. Especially the young string-artist attracted attention. He had appealing vocals for the fans and also the instrumental performance was of high quality. The musical performance of THE NEAL MORSE BAND was visually accompanied by video recordings on the stage background.

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After the first set of an hour (and the legendary whistle part of Mr. Morse), the band pauses for a brief intermission, allowing the audience to catch their breath and have a drink after an energised first half. Regarding the setlist it is important to mention that on the one hand there was the complete current album with its 22 songs to listen to. Together with the encore you got 31 songs. Chapeau!

Setlist
---Act 1---
01. Overture: The Great Adventure
02. The Dream Isn’t Over
03. Welcome to the World
04. A Momentary Change
05. Dark Melody
06. I Got to Run
07. To the River
08. The Great Adventure
09. Venture in Black
10. Hey Ho Let’s Go
11. Beyond the Borders
---Act 2---
12. Overture 2: Long Ago
13. The Dream Continues
14. Fighting With Destiny
15. Vanity Fair
16. Welcome to the World 2
17. The Element of Fear
18. Child of Wonder
19. The Great Despair
20. Freedom Calling
21. A Love That Never Dies
---
21. Encore Medley
22. The Land of Beginning Again (Neal Morse song)
23. Reunion (Neal Morse song)
24. The Temple of the Living God (Neal Morse song)
25. The Conflict (Neal Morse song)
26. Leviathan (Neal Morse song)
27. It’s for You (Neal Morse song)
28. Momentum (Neal Morse song)
29. The Call
20. Broken Sky / Long Day (Reprise)

Rating
Music: 8
Performance: 8
Sound: 9
Light: 9
Total: 8.5/10

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All Pictures by Elena Arens
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