Neal Morse -
Testimony 2 Live In Los Angeles

(CD 2011, 59:09 / 77:51 / 50:12, Radiant Records)

The tracks:
Disc 1:
  1- Lifeline
  2- Leviathan
  3- The Separated Man
         - I'm in A Cage
         - I Am The Man
         - The Man's Gone (Reprise)
         - Something Within Me
         - Remembers
  4- Sola Scriptura
Disc 2:
  1- Seeds Of Gold
  2- Testimony 1
         - Overture No. 3
         - Rejoice
         - Oh Lord My God
         - God's Theme
  3- Reunion
         - No Separation
         - Grand Finale
         - Make Us One
Disc 3:
  1- Testimony 2:
         - Mercy Street
         - Overture No. 4
         - Time Changer
         - Jayda
         - Nighttime Collectors
         - Time Has Come Today
         - Jesus' Blood
         - The Truth Will Set You Free
         - Chance Of A Lifetime
         - Jesus Bring Me Home
         - Road Dog Blues
         - It's For You
         - Crossing Over/Mercy Street Revisited

Neal Morse Website        Radiant Records

I have always found Neal Morse to be on his best on stage, especially when he's playing his concept pieces. And Testimony 2 Live In Los Angeles can be qualified as an epic fest galore. Not only does Neal Morse play all of Testimony 2, he also cuts tracks like Lifeline, Leviathan, Seeds Of Gold and Sola Scriptura into pieces! These are tracks which cannot be called short poppy songs by a long shot! This performance has been recorded live at the Whittier Theater in Los Angeles in May 2011. Morse was backed by a band consisting of Eric Brenton (guitar, violin, flute, pedal, steel guitar, mandolin, vocals), John Krovosa (electric cello), Bert Baldwin (keyboards, backing and lead vocals), Rick Altizer (guitar, keyboards, percussion, vocals),   Randy George (Ajalon, bass, keyboards, backing vocals), Mark Leniger (percussion, saxophone, backing vocals) and Mike Portnoy (ex-Dream Theater, drums, backing vocals).

Morse twists and turns through his intricate compositions as if it's all in a day's work. I liked the studio version of Testimony 2, but the stage always brings something extra with Neal Morse. It could be his banter, the spirit which comes over him, the conviction of his playing and singing, but whatever it is; it makes for one hell of a performance of this long piece with big, big sounds. Testimony 2 Live In Los Angeles thus gives us three CDs worth of top progressive rock music and if you buy the DVDs you also can watch the show. In addition you'll see the reunion of Neal Morse with Spock's Beard during the High Voltage 2011 and a tour documentary. I only have one wish remaining: a live CD of Testimony 2 with Morse's European band, because secretly I like that band even more than the one playing on this release. That must be my Dutch heart...

***** André de Waal (edited by Peter Willemsen)

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