Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Spock's Beard - Live at Whiskey and NEARFest (1999) (mp3, 160kbps)

I originally got this set because I desperately wanted to hear the Beard's version of Genesis' Squonk. So many years later, I can easily say that is the worst song in the bunch. I was not able to get into this band right away. I knew they were big fans of 'old' Genesis and I also knew there was a big Gentle Giant thing going on. Even though I wasn't well-versed in the ways of Gentle Giant, Genesis was about the best thing in the world, so I hung in there. What I discovered was the genius of Neal Morse. What a fascinating guy. He can crank out the 30 minute epics without even breaking a sweat. He split the band in 2002 after finding that his commitment to Jesus Christ would not allow him to be in 'rock bands' anymore. Yet, since that date, he has proceeded to make music that is even more amazing and inspirational. You may not agree with his evangelical message, but there is no arguing with the authority and sincerity of his songwriting gift. I truly believ that he has been called by God (whatever that means) to make progressive rock. I know it sounds crazy, but when you listen to ? and Sola Scriptura, its easy to understand that this man is not like the rest of us. In this so-called Christian period, he is making the best music of his life.

But back in 1999, he was just the front man of a prog rock outfit from LA. This is what that band sounded like at the height of their powers. When these recordings were made, Spock's Beard was moving forward and moving up and there was no limit to what they imagined was possible. This quintet attacked their compositions and set a new standard for 'difficult' music that was also highly emotional and moving. This set included the favorites 'Doorway', 'June' and 'Waste Away' as well as the early epick 'The Light' from their first album of the same name. But it is the too often forgotten pieces such as 'Skin' and 'Walking on the Wind' that make this a special collection.

Don't worry about the Genesis cover. That's not what it's all about. Instead, check out a great band that worked its ass off to become a big deal in a music scene that probably wanted nothing to do with prog. In the most improbable place and time, Spock's Beard created amazing songs.

  • "Introduction" – 1:01
  • "In the Mouth of Madness" – 5:00
  • "Gibberish" – 4:40
  • "Skin" – 4:14
  • "Go the Way You Go" – 13:27
  • "The Distance to the Sun" – 5:19
  • "Crack the Big Sky" – 9:50
  • "The Doorway" – 14:04
  • "The Light" – 20:13
  • "June" – 3:48
  • "Waste Away" – 5:04
  • "Squonk" – 3:33
  • "Walking on the Wind" – 10:01
The link is in the comments.

3 comments:

MPomy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dave said...

Thanks for the nice words. Not so many thanks for offering our CD up for illegal downloading, though.

You P2P and Bittorent guys are killing us. .. literally.

Dave Meros / Spock's Beard

MPomy said...

I've removed the link as it is not my desire to kill anyone, especially not gifted prog rock musicians.