iO Pages Festival
Friday & Saturday
25th & 26th May 2007
Boerderij, Zoetermeer, The Netherlands
Article By Fred
On Friday 25th and Saturday 26th May I was at the IO-Pages festival.
The first day was opened by Steve Thorne, with his powerful voice and progressive compositions. A nice act to warm up and both Steve and the audience enjoyed it. Steve played acoustic guitar and had a tape with him for other instruments. He played songs from his album's Emotional Creatures Part 1 and Part 2.
The setlist consisted of God Bless America, Well Outta That, Ten Years, All The Wisemen, Julia, Overload, Last Line, Moth 2 Flame, The White Dove Song, Therapy, Goodbye.
The headliner of Day One was Spock's Beard. It was my first concert I ever saw of them. It was a good concert, but to my opinion they are joking too much between the songs. It is nice for once in a while, but it was overdone and it didn't work out for the concert as a whole. The Beard played a lot of the new album, simply called Spock's Beard. Those songs were played well and sounded live better than on the CD. Some things I noticed were that they played little of Ocatane (which I like very much) and nothing of feel Euphoria (to my relief). From the albums with Neal Morse, they picked out a song from all of them, except for Snow. Neal played however "Wind at my back" one night later. They played a track of Alan Morse's solo album as well, which wasn't necessary for me. Both drummer Jimmy Keegan and singer/drummer Nick D'Virgilio did some crowdsurfing and all in all it was a good atmosphere. The concert was filmed for DVD and at the end a few songs were played agian for the DVD. As a bonus for the audience who was asked to wait, they played the classic Led Zeppelin track Whole Lotta Love with drummer Jimmy on vocals. A perfect finish for a good concert which could have been even better.
On day Two, I was too late for Dial, but right on time for the Dutch band Mangrove. I really liked their double live album Coming Back To Live from 2006. They won the IO-pages award 2005 with their album Facing The Sunset, and were now allowed to play a set of 5 quartes of their music. At that moment, the concert hall of The Boerderij was filled with not so many people, but they missed some great music. I don't have a complete setlist, but they played a.o. Fatal Sign, City of Darkness, Facing The Sunset, I Fear The Day and Hidden Dreams. The last track was from the new album Mangrove is working on. It had some good bits, but it is sometimes difficult to review a long pice of music for the first time. I will keep an eye to their site when the new album is coming out. One point of criticism. The performance would be better when there would be more interaction with the public. This happened only at the end of the show, and just a little bit. It was visible that they played with fun, but they shared this only to themself and hardly to the crowd. The Setlist of Dial existed of: Wounded, Green Knees, Beautiful, Sadness, Nature’s Cruelty, Jewel, Hello, Childhood Dreams.
Before Neal Morse came on stage, the IO-pages award 2006 was handed to For Absent Friends. I could live very well with this winner, because I really like their "Square 1" album. I don't know if this will be a tradition, but in my opinion they would fit perfect at to the festival 2008.
Then it was time for the headliner; Neal Morse. Being a christian and a prog fan, it won't be a surprise that I love Neal's Music. It would be my 6th concert of Neal. And what for a concert. The concert would filmed on DVD and As neal made a DVD of his first tour which contained the whole Testimony album, I expected a lot of matrial of his other three albums "One", "?" and "Sola Scriptura". Neal opened with the epic "The Creation" from "One". A great track and I think a good one to open the concert with. The band had rehearsed 3 days, but it seemed like they played for years with each other. After that Neal continued with two Spock's Beard tunes who weren't played the evening before.
Then it was time for Neal to play some material of his newest CD "Sola Scriptura" which deals with the life of "Maarten Luther". They played the beautiful epic The Door in a complete 30 minutes lasting version. Very good track - sometimes with heavy riffs and at other times some beautiful accoustic parts. To me, it was impressive when Neal sang the last lines of the track: I will write my words my upon the door. The devotion was overwhelming, as if Neal were Maarten Luther himself.
After that they performed the two other epics of "Sola Scriptura" as a medley and this worked out very well. At the end of the CD, the flow is gone. However, in this way, it was a consistent masterpiece and lasted over 20 minutes. Another proof that sometimes the tracks on a CD are too long or overdone. A special remark about the vocals from bass player Wilco, who sung the I am your priest, I am your king. One of the highlights to me.
After 50+ minutes of "Sola Scriptura", it was now time for the "?"-album. This is my favourite album to which I can listen time after time without being annoyed. For me was the second highlight the end of the album (roughly spoken they played the first and last quarter of the album) when Neal sang The Temple Of The Living God Is You and he raised his hand to bless the people.
The first encore existed of a big so called Testi-medley. After a short break the band came back for another encore which meant two classic songs Wind At My Back from The Beard and We All Need Some Light from Transatlantic. The organisation promised us three hours of music, but it would be only 2 hours and 45 minutes. Neal had given his all emotionally and sometimes he had to fight against the tears. I guess we missed some of the last parts of One, but who knows - it might be bonus material on the DVD from another concert.
Playing for an audience of half believers and half not, the atmosphere was terrific, and I think that everyone enjoyed this show, and in this way definitely will come back for this great musician. Also very diverse material was played; the heavy progmetal of Sola Scriptura, the more prog and jazzy one, the filmish song The Creation and the somewhat more soft songs from Testimony and some great acoustic guitar tunes at the end.
At last two big compliments. The first for the band. They had only three days rehearsal, but this was hardly noticed. The second is for the English guitarist Paul Bielatowicz who seemed to be a schoolboy, but played very well.
I can't wait to see Neal again performing like this. I know what will be my favourite concert of 2007 for the annual poll.
God Bless America
Well Outta That
All The Wisemen
Moth 2 Flame
The White Dove Song
On a Perfect Day (Spock’s Beard 2007)
In The Mouth of Madness (The Kindness of Strangers 1997)
Crack the Big Sky (Day for Night 1999)
Slow Crash Landing Man (Spock’s Beard 2007)
Return to Whatever (4 o’clock and Hysteria – Alan Morse 2007)
Surfing down the Avalanche (Octane 2005)
Thoughts Pt2 (V 2000)
Drum Duet Nick and Jimmy
Skeletons at the Feast (Spock’s Beard 2007)
Walking on the wind (Beware of Darkness 1996)
Keyboard solo Ryo
As Far as the Mind Can See (Spock’s Beard 2007)
Dreaming in the Age of Answers
Here’s a Man
They Know We Know
Stream of Unconsciousness
Rearranged (Spock’s Beard 2007)
The Water (The Light 1995)
Corrections for the DVD
Whole lotta love (vocals Jimmy Keegan)
The Creation (One)
The Good Don't Last * / Open Wide The Flood Gates **
The Door (Sola Scriptura)
The Conflict / The Conclusion (Sola Scriptura)
The Temple Of The Living God (?)
Another World (?)
The Outsider (?)
Inside His Presence (?)
The Temple Of The Living God (?)
California Nights (Testimony)
Somber Days (Testimony)
Sing It High (Testimony)
I am Willing (Testimony)
Oh, To Feel Him (Testimony)
We All need Some Light *** / Wind at My Back **
Spocks Beard Official Website
Spocks Beard MySpace
Nick D'Virgillio MySpace
Alan Morse MySpace
Ryo Okumoto MySpace
Dave Meros MySpace
Neal Morse Official Website
Neal Morse MySpace