Spock's Beard - January 18th, 1998
Live at Tivoli, Utrecht, The Netherlands

By Jan Jaap de Haan


For those of you who were still wondering if 1998 already had begun (from a musical point of view, of course), it did !! Spock's Beard is visiting Europe, presenting their brand new album The Kindness of Strangers and a terrific show.... Beware of.... music!

Spock's Beard brings you anything a real progressive rock-fan desires: Hammond-organs, Polymoogs, fast and melodic guitars-parts, a Rickenbacker-bass, and many 10-minute-plus songs. After the opening song Beware of Darkness and Thoughts from the same album, the band dared to play several songs from their brand new album. For most of the audience, this concert was the first chance to hear the new songs. Cakewalk on Easy Street and In the Mouth of Madness are both real powerful songs, played with agression, but with beautiful intros and rythm-changes.

Go the way you go received a warm applause from the audience. Only three years old, this one's a classic! After that both Neil and Alan Morse took the acoustic guitar, and drummer Nick d'Virgilio joined them on vocals for the beautiful June. At this point, the crowd went mad! This song reminds me of Genesis' Ripples, but then again it's totally different.
Flow was written by Neil when he was 16 years old ('So that was last week', someone in the audience joked) and is one of the more complex songs of the new album. People started to shout for The Light, but they had to be patient, since Spock's Beard wanted to save 'best for last'. After an awesome Walking on the Wind, with many variatons to the original, the band left for a special part of the show........
Keyboard-player Ryo Okumoto, took the center-position of the stage, 'wearing' a red portable keyboard. Standing in smoke and blue light, he produced an ambient sound and atmosphere..... The audience didn't know what to think of this for the first 3 minutes, but then bass-player Dave Meros and Nick d'Virgilio returned to the stage to accompany Ryo. The result was a fusion-rock jam (reminding me of ELP), which grew heavier and faster every minute. Ryo jumped from the stage with his keyboard and ran into the crowd playing a marvellous keyboard-solo.... The audience helped him back on the stage again and the jam ended with an excerpt from 'the Peter Gunn-theme'. This man is really crazy !

The Morse brothers returned to stage....and started the wonderful rock-song The Doorway. In the middle of it, they took the opportunity for their own little show: an acoustic guitar-duet. Like Ryo ten minutes before, they got a big hand for this improvisation. The Doorway was a great climax and a well chosen song to finish the (official) setlist.
But of course after a few minutes, Spock's Beard returned to stage for the long awaited The Light. This time Nick d'Virgilio had the chance to prove that his guest appearance on Calling all Stations wasn't an accident: he really is a fine drummer. In this song, the 'I am a Catfish-man' phrase was shouted out loud by anyone who still had a voice left. A giant catfish in the middle of the venue (made out of old 7"s) with lights in his eyes, made this song even more impressing.

Since the enthousiastic audience begged for more, Neil and his mates returned once again for two encores: Waste Away and On the Edge. After two-and-a-half hour this really was the end. What a great band this is! The year 1998 has begun in an extraordinary way.......

SETLIST:

Beware of Darkness
Thoughts
In the Mouth of Madness
Cakewalk on Easy Street
Go the Way You Go
June
Flow
Walking on the Wind
Keyboard-jam
The Doorway

The Light

Waste Away

On the Edge


Spock's Beard - January 18th, 1998
Live at Tivoli, Utrecht, The Netherlands

by Coen Schilderman

Yesterday I went to Spock's Beard in Tivoli. The support act was the German band Chandelier. I have to admit that I didn't really like the latter, although the man next to me in the toilet did. He tried to convert me to the belief of Chandelier then and there, but he didn't succeed. Chandelier sounds a bit like the old Genesis, but not as good.

But then, Spock's Beard ! That's what I came for. Beware of Darkness hardly ever left my CD player since I bought it (while I've got more than 500 CDs to choose from). ;-)
And indeed, they were at least as good live as on the album. Besides songs from their first two CDs they also played some tracks from the third album, Kindness of Strangers, which was not yet available. It had sold out before the show started, so I couldn't take it with me to play it tonight (Grrr !!).

Especially the songs with three vocalists were brilliant. I seldom heard a drummer who sings better. Especially during the ballad of the new album he really proved his abillities. This could easily turn into a hit single if it would get some airplay.
The highlight of the evening was The Doorway of the Beware of Darkness album, which is (as far as I'm concerned) one of the best prog rock songs of the last couple of years.
I was really amused by the keyboard player. A stereotype posur, but with enormous joy in what he was doing. Just like the rest of the band, by the way.

 

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1998 DPRP