|Price:||CDN$ 16.95 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details|
From the Contributor
Neal Morse's "Testimony", the musical sequel to Spock's Beard's epic concept album "Snow", was brought to the stage in November 2003. With seven other musicians, Morse performed his 'Testimony' live in various cities over Europe. The show in Tilburg, Germany was filmed and recorded for this DVD release. The fans will enjoy nearly 3 1/2 hours of live footage (the entire concert) plus a tour documentary on two DVDs. Neal and his band, which includes Mike Portnoy from Dream Theater on drums and vocals, performed the whole double concept album plus two songs from Transatlantic (We All Need Some Light and Stranger In Your Soul) and one Spock's Beard classic (The Light). The tour was a massive musical undertaking, expertly executed by some of the top performing and studio musicians you are likely to hear.
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Mike Portnoy, Dream Theater's drummer, who was also a member of Transatlantic, joins Morse onstage together with some of the musicians that also played on the CD. All musicians performing in this concert are highly skilled, so there is no lack of musical quality. Neal Morse's voice breaks at times - but those who have followed his career know that this has become something of a trademark. There is no doubt the author of the songs is the same person who wrote a large amount of the Spock's Beard material - the resemblance is quite obvious. Keyboard and guitar sounds, use of layered vocals and song structure all have that distinct Spock's Beard "flavor". The songwriting is top notch and clearly displays Morse's abilities.
However the lyrical content is a definite departure from his previous solo efforts, Beard material or Transatlantic recordings. His spiritual development is the focus of the lyrics. This spiritual/Christian "storyline" might be a bit too much for some.
Due to the more serious nature of the music (this is not KISS or Mötley Crüe), there is not much in the form of a stage or light show. Morse simply lets the music speak for itself. The picture quality is quite good - however the lighting is rather dark at times. But then again, this is a concert. The way it is filmed reminds me of Germany's television program "Rockpalast" (in which the Beard once made an appearance).
For fans of drumming in general and Mike Portnoy in particular, a camera was positioned over the drum kit and shows an interesting view of Mike's office and Mr. Portnoy at work.
The sound quality is very good. (I attended the concert featured on this DVD and would have been happy to have heard the concert with the same quality as it is featured on the DVD.) Furthermore there are no feedback or other bothersome and irritating noises.
The mix has also turned out well. Unfortunately the DVD only features 2.0 sound, which is quite disappointing. With the amount of musicians onstage a 5.1 or perhaps even a 6.1 sound would have been a very interesting experience. One of the great features of the DVD medium is the possibility of truly engulfing sound and 2.0 sound simply is antiquated. Of course one could argue that a good 2.0 mix is preferable to a bad 5.1 one. I just wonder "what might have been?"
As far as "special features" are concerned, there is a documentary of the tour included on the second DVD. This features backstage views, impressions from rehearsals and onstage performances. It has clearly been shot by members of the band, which has a certain charm, but do not expect high-definition quality.
The DVD captures an excellent Neal Morse appearance with a solid musical performance by all musicians. Unfortunately the Christian message is a bit overbearing at times and the more easygoing attitude of Spock's Beard or Transatlantic is missed. I personally bought this DVD as a memento of the concert in Tilburg. As discussed the 2.0 sound mix on the disc is good, but I wish it would have been 5.1. If you are a fan of prog rock, especially Transatlantic and Spock's Beard, you will enjoy the music, although the lyrics might be a bit too much on the preaching side. When I attended the concert I was hoping for more of his early solo material and Beard and perhaps even Transatlantic songs. The encore on the second DVD contains 3 songs from the Beard and Transatlantic era. (It is funny to watch the audience really getting enthusiastic when this final encore is performed, while the band - aside of Portnoy and Morse - seem to be more at ease with the Testimony material.)
I rate this DVD, which features almost 3 hours of live play, 4 out of 5 stars due to the somewhat disappointing picture quality and the 2.0 sound.
It has been 5 years since I bought this DVD. This is a concert to behold and each time I go back and listen my spirit is lifted - there is something deeply attractive about this rock opera - it's a combination of the powerful music motifs and the emotionally rendered personal message of spiritual revelation sung by the multi-talented, composer, singer, keyboardist guitarist - Neal Morse.
Actual running time is 255 minutes of a riveting performance of eight musicians. Most of them, other than Morse and Portnoy, I had never heard before - but that just indicates how many multi-talented unknown professional musicians are out there. Eric Brenton was particularly impressive and takes a pivotal role as lead guitarist, violinist, flautist, pedal steel guitarist and then throw in some mandolin as well!
All the musicians seem engrossed with the music and the fun element is palpable - these guys enjoyed themselves.
It is infectious watching, so much so that we have a break out of dancing during the hoe-down with an incredible Morse acoustic chicken-picking guitar battle with Breton on violin. Yes, I forgot, in "Sing it high" there is even a blue-grass section like a Dixie Dregs workout except Morse also intertwines country tight vocal harmonies as well. Yes, the Christian message is strong, and Neal's life story comes across very clearly with his unaffected, annunciated vocal style that is influenced more by the Beatles, Beach Boy approach than anything from this century. For some the lyrics will attract and I realise from previous reviews that also repels some. An observation is that Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater), the monster drummer that sets the stage alight and drives much of the musical excitement in this concert, is obviously attracted enough to the music to play with his usual enthusiasm and intensity - irrespective of the message.
Some of this strangely reminds me of the musical `Les Miserables'(a rock version perhaps) in that there is a story over repeating musical motifs that echo through this entire concert. Indeed there are three Overtures that begin the five parts. The wonderful variety means that when the story and quieter interludes just begin to lengthen you are jolted into the next part with intense instrumental pieces - this is never impromptu jamming but tightly structured. The breaks and accapella vocal harmonies that cut through frenzied playing is spine tingling - and when they move into "The storm before the calm" with the repeat prog motif from Overture No.1 you feel like cheering yourself. It is during this central prog motif that Portnoy is finally unleashed to play some of his most memorable ensemble playing. Even Neal is visibly excited as he bends over his keyboard to allow an unobstructed view of Portnoy's tom-tom theatrics that propels this repeating prog motif to a crescendo. Wow!
Stylistically there are echoes of Kansas, Dregs, Pink Floyd, Yes, Beatles and Beach boys! A real musical blend but with an unmistakable melodic Morse stamp. The concert begins and closes with Morse singing alone just with acoustic guitar and then finally piano - his connection with the audience direct and engaging. This is a powerful and moving concert.
Some DVD comments - unfortunately this is only available in stereo. I'd love to have heard this in DTS! Fortunately this is still a rich, well recorded concert; drums and percussion subtleties all coming through so you can still differentiate between the multi-keyboard, strings and guitars and splash cymbal. Camera work is above average and the overhead camera on the drums is something I wish we saw more often. There are no intrusive artistic fades instead an appropriate mix of wide shots of the entire stage cutting to close ups of musicians as they play key breaks or to visually highlight aspects of the performance.
PS: And then there is disc two - where they come back on stage for a three track lengthy heavier 54 minute encore with Transatlantic tracks "We all need some light", "The light" and "Stranger in your soul". 5 stars for great value, 5 stars as a musical statement and for excitement. The lack of 5.1 or DTS sound unfortunately prevents a 5 out of 5. It is still in my top 5 favourite concert DVDs.
Look for similar items by category
- Movies & TV > Music Video & Concerts > DTS
- Movies & TV > Music Video & Concerts > Hard Rock & Metal
- Movies & TV > Music Video & Concerts > Other Music > Christian & Gospel
- Movies & TV > Music Video & Concerts > Pop
- Movies & TV > Music Video & Concerts > Rock & Roll
- Movies & TV > Special Interests > Religion & Spirituality > Christian DVD > Music
- Music > Christian & Gospel > Christian Rock
- Music > Christian & Gospel > Gospel
- Music > Pop > Vocal Pop
- Music > Rock > Christian Rock