Spock's Beard, January 20th 1998
Zeche, Bochum, Germany

By Barbara Schnepf

Wow, what a show AGAIN. No doubt about it: Spock's Beard belong to the best live bands I've ever seen, and I've really seen a lot.

They had obviously so much FUN on stage, and played the songs with flawless precision. And the audience really freaked. In many respects the show and the audience's reaction reminded me of Dream Theater back on their European Images & Words tour in 93: There was the same feeling among the audience - the feeling of watching an incredible band at the very beginning of their career, and what is more, the feeling of watching a band who is COMPLETELY in their music and LOVES to play. Not the faintest trace of routine, in spite of overwhelming perfection. Usually you don't get both at the same time - perfection AND fun - at least not up to this extend. But SB proved that it is still possible. The enthousiasm of the band was extremely contagious, and blew everyone in the audience away.

The best part for me (being a guitarist myself) again was the acoustic duet of Neal and Alan in the middle of The Doorway. AWESOME!!! Alan's playing style just knocks me out anyway. To those who haven't seen SB live yet - he plays completely (!) without a pick!
But the "problem" with a SB show is, you just don't know where to look at. You really wish you had five pairs of eyes instead of only two, because watching one of those maniacs means that during those minutes you miss the others. In a way you can say SB have five frontmen. One moment you look fascinated at Alan, next moment Nick's drumming knocks you out, then you look at Ryo and you're unable to take your eyes off that freaking energetic phenomenon, and the next moment you're totally captured by Neal's singing + playing, and a moment later you find yourself watching Dave who's grinning constantly while he's watching his bandmates himself.

It's a pity most people hadn't been able to listen to the new songs before; I think the enthusiasm of the SB fans would have been even more incredible if the tour had been a couple of weeks later. It has been almost impossible in Europe to get Kindness.. yet, and to hear the new songs for the first time at the show definitely isn't the same as listening to songs you already love. Well, I already knew and absolutely loved the new songs, and so it has been a perfect and extremely emotional show for me throughout. It have been the shortest two-and-a-half-hours I ever experienced. And I know I'm not alone: The show being over you could hear the remarks all around you: "That was the best show I've ever seen!" "That was the show of the year". "This cannot be topped".

I really hope SB will do another European tour soon, but I'd prefer BY FAR seeing them headlining again instead of opening for Dream Theater. Of course this would be a perfect chance for SB to play in front of a real large audience (DT play in front of 3000-4000 people in Germany), but personally I absolutely dislike the thought of getting only one hour of SB... They rule too much to be the opener of ANYONE!


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