Momentum (2012, see review) is an outstanding album by Neal Morse and now, only a couple of months later this prog workaholic already released another mammoth called Live Momentum. These three (!) live CDs, recorded in New York, feature Mike Portnoy (drums, vocals, ex-Dream Theater) and Randy George (bass, vocals). Beside these two well-known musicians Morse recruited three unknown players as well via YouTube auditions. These are Adson Sodré (guitar, vocals), Eric Gillette (guitar, keyboards, percussion, vocals) and Bill Hubauer (keyboards, violin, sax, vocals).
Especially Adson Sodré shines on this album as a really fantastic guitar picker! The set list is rather unusual which means, that you can't find any tracks from Testimony 2, but instead many rather 'old' songs. The first disc kicks off with the title track of Neal's latest album, followed by Weathering Sky, another song from Momentum. Then I get my first surprise, namely Author Of Confusion from the album One (2004) which is one of my favourite songs on CD1; don't forget to play it loud! Next I'm 'treated' to the acoustic piece The Distance To The Sun, one of the most boring Spock's Beard songs ever from the album Day For Night (1999). CD1 ends with Testimony Suite consisting of four songs from Testimony (2003) of which Sleeping Jesus is again too acoustic and too preachy to me.
The second disc starts with the amazing Spock's Beard-like song Thoughts, pt.5 followed by The Conflict, the second best song of the album. It's a 26-minute prog epic from the highly acclaimed album Sola Scriptura (2007). Next are Question Mark Suite, comprising four songs from Question Mark (2005), and Fly High from Lifeline (2008). These songs complete CD 2. The last disc starts with World Without End, in my opinion the best track of the entire album! It's a monster prog beauty with a playing time of 33 minutes and without any dull passages whatsoever. After this great epic piece Neal decided to cover Crazy Horses by The Osmonds (!?) followed by Sing It High from Testimony and King Jesus, a bonus track from One.
All in all Live Momentum is a great prog album, but to me a bit disappointing as well, mainly due to tracks like The Distance To The Sun, Sleeping Jesus, Sing It High and the totally redundant Crazy Horses! This release also contains two DVDs of the same concert with an additional tour documentary. Unfortunately I could only review the audio section because no DVDs were available for this review!
***+ Martien Koolen (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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