Concert Review Archive

 

Flying Colors support Beardfish

Thursday, 20th September 2012
013, Tilburg, the Netherlands

Article and photos By Menno von Brucken Fock

Years ago when I first heard of Spock's Beard I learned about the Morse brothers Neal and Alan and I wondered whether Deep Purple & Dregs guitarist Steve could be related in any way. Later I found out that was not the case and I began to hope that someday these superb musicians would be doing something together. It appears at least some of my wishes come true once in a while because all of a sudden there was a band called Flying Colors with a line up I never would have believed to be possible: Steve Morse, Neal Morse, Mike Portnoy, Dave LaRue (Dregs & Steve Morse Band) and a to me totally unknown young vocalist called Casey McPherson. A single album to their credit with music ranging from rock to pop and hardly a connection with progressive rock, yet very melodic and powerful, the band embarked on a European tour and fortunately also 013 in the south of Holland was one of venues chosen by the band. Possibly the highly successful shows with Transatlantic (also with Portnoy & Neal Morse) played a role in making this choice.

 

Beardfish

Anyway, on that fairly pleasant autumn-night special guest Beardfish were the first to take the stage. As always the support act has less space and for some silly reason the lights are down most of the time or the lighting simple sucks. Beardfish, founded in 2001, are Rikard Sjöblom (vocals, keyboards, guitar), David Zackrisson (guitar, backing vocals), Magnus Östgren (drums) and Robert Hansen (bass). The band originates from Sweden and were allowed to play a set of 45 minutes. A few songs from older albums (Mammoth, Destined Solitaire and Sleeping In Traffic Part One), and Beardfish introduced their brand new album The Void with the last song of their performance.

Beardfish

Influences of iconic bands Genesis, King Crimson, Yes and Gentle Giant from the their respective seventies' line ups are obviously the guiding light for Rikard and his mates. Melodic, yet not too easy to listen to and certainly the organ sound of Rikard's Nord is a trademark for the band. Vocally a bit of trouble with the higher notes but still a memorable performance by the quartet of whom especially bassist Robert Hansen tried to offer a lively performance.

Beardfish

Guitarist David tends to look down most of the time and Rikard, because he's singing and playing at the same time, is hidden behind some microphone quite a bit. From a photographer's point of view not an ideal band to take pics of! Their music however is technically far above average and the band have earned their place between the loads of bands offering some kind of progressive music to the world.

Beardfish

Their vintage sound most certainly appeals to a lot of fans judged by the response of the audience in Tilburg. It will be very interesting to see the band at their peak doing their own headline tour featuring their latest album! Too bad they weren't allowed (at least that's what I presume) to play a bit longer or to start off earlier, the crowd would have loved it.

Setlist Beardfish
And The Stone Said "If I Could Speak"
The Hunter
Destined Solitaire
Awaken the Sleeping
Voluntary Slavery
 

Flying Colors

After a break of over 45 minutes the light went down and the crowd welcomed Steve, Mike, Neal, Dave and Casey to the stage. The opening track they performed was quite obviously the first track of their homonymous debut-album. Immediately the audience responded with great enthusiasm when Dave laRue began teo play that catchy riff on his bass. Of course the main spokesman proved to be Mike Portnoy, tattooed all over and with a shiny purple colored beard.

Flying Colors

Both Neal and Mike were not as prominent in their performances as with Transatlantic for a change which I think was great. The rocker Shoulda Coulda Woulda was an excellent choice to keep things going and from the start it was clear this would be an amazing night. What a nice soulful voice this Casey McPherson has and how well does he fit in this all star band!

Flying Colors

A nice introduction by Portnoy led to the first song featuring Casey: a very tasteful version of a song he used to perform with his band Endochine. I guess many of the people attending this show went home thinking, "Hmmm , I gotta check out that band". Another track of 'the album' was followed by an oldie from the Dixie Dregs called Odyssey. A very cool rendition of that song, obviously without the violin but pretty close to the Dream Theater cover-version, recorded for the bonus cd accompanying the album Black Clouds & Silver Linings.

Flying Colors

After one more track from the Flying Colors album Casey got his solo spot: an emotional and impressive 'acoustic' version of the song Hallelujah, originally composed by Leonard Cohen and performed by many artists. Then three more songs from the album, the last one, Fool In My Heart featuring Portnoy on vocals. because he was already into singing the show was continued with a Dream Theater cover, Mike Portnoy sang first as a demo for LaBrie: Repentance. "Just the keyboardplayer and background vocalist" must have been a bit awkward for Neal Morse but after just over an hour he got his 'solo' spot performing Spock Beard's June featuring his buddies Mike and Casey singing the close harmony vocals.

Flying Colors

Meanwhile everyone on and off stage seemed to enjoy him- and herself for the full 100% and with two more songs from the album the band bid the crowd farewell for the first time. Although everyone knew a DVD was being recorded, in my opinion the response wouldn't have been any different. An impressive bass solo by Dave LaRue, impeccable performances by Neal, Mike and Steve and as the most wonderful surprise this incredibly talented vocalist Casey McPherson.

Flying Colors

For the encore the band played a superb version of the longest track on the album: Infinite Fire and the screaming and clapping from the audience in the (as good as or completely sold out) venue kept going and provoked another come back by this super-group.

Flying Colors

As Mike stated he had warned the others this could happen in Tilburg and the band rehearsed one song while soundchecking. They didn't perform it earlier on in the tour: a second encore for the special audience in 013 as a reward for their enthusiasm and loyal support: the Deep Purple cover Space Truckin' sung by Neal Morse in a way that would have made Ian Gillan jealous....

Flying Colors

A great night, a memorable concert and an amazing, awesome band!!

Setlist Flying Colors
Blue Ocean
Shoulda Coulda Woulda
Love Is What I'm Waiting For
Can't Find a Way (Endochine cover)
The Storm
Odyssey (Dixie Dregs cover)
Forever in a Daze
Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen cover)(Casey McPherson alone on stage)
Better Than Walking Away
Kayla
Fool In My Heart (Mike Portnoy on vocals)
Repentance (Dream Theater cover, Mike Portnoy on vocals)
June (Spock’s Beard cover)
All Falls Down
Everything Changes

Infinite Fire

Space Truckin' (Deep Purple cover)
Slideshow

Links
Flying Colors Official Website

DPRP's Review of "Flying Colors"

Beardfish Official Website

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