Released: 2008, Inside Out Music
As Spock’s Beard takes to the stage for the performance that became the SPOCK’S BEARD LIVE DVD, you understand something immediately - - it’s not about showmanship, it’s about musicianship. There’s very little build up to the show, the lighting is simple, the stage set up is somewhat cluttered, and you would have to try hard to find five more regular looking guys on a stage. The end result of it all, though, is a first rate performance by one of progressive rock’s finest acts.
The sound is absolutely crisp and powerful. The performance itself is extremely energetic, perhaps no more so than when in “Surfing Down the Avalanche” Ryo Okumoto jumps up on his keyboards to beat upon them furiously. The lion’s share of the material comes from 2006’s self-titled album, which turns out great as that was clearly one of their stronger efforts in the last several years. Some of the show’s other highlights include some earlier material before the exit of Neal Morse from the band. “Crack the Big Sky” and Thoughts (Part 2)” sound incredible with Nick D’Virgilio putting his own stamp on them and claiming them as his own. Watching this DVD will really give you an appreciation for D’Virgilio’s talents overall, too, as he seems to be able to do it all effortlessly – sing, play the guitar, keyboards, and drums. Things do get a bit derailed near the middle of the set for a bit as we are presented with a drum dual, an instrumental, and a keyboard solo all within a four song stretch, making the viewer long for some more of the signature songs of the band’s extensive catalogue. Of all the hallmarks of a progressive metal show, the useless, meandering solos need to go. When you are a band with as many songs as thee guys, it seems hard to believe that the audience wouldn’t rather hear another one of their favorite songs than a go nowhere solo – perhaps something from FEEL EUPHORIA or SNOW, which are completely neglected. Ultimately, though the show goes out on a high note with a complete performance of “As Far as the Mind Can See” and then an encore featuring a great medley of “the Water” and “Go the Way You Go” from the debut album, THE LIGHT.
With this DVD (and CD also available) Spock’s Beard proves why they are one of the best purveyors of progressive rock. All one need do is look into the crowd from time to time throughout the show and see how the crowd seems to be hanging on each note and every word. Few prog bands write such memorable compositions that, while being often long and adventurous, are always simply good songs at their heart, and that makes this performance yet another in a great history of shows for this veteran outfit.