DVD REVIEW: FLYING COLORS – “Second Light Live At The Z7”
Owais 'Vitek' Nabi
“It is not the beauty of a building you should look at; it’s the construction of the foundation that will stand the test of time.” – David Allan Coe.
A musical group’s foundation is quite surely dependent on the first spark of chemistry that ignites through their first album. If successfully executed, the next album is sure to be a step above the predecessor. Here, we have the musical super-group, Flying Colors, who came out with their second successful album last year, Second Nature. As part of the tradition, Flying Colors are releasing another Live DVD titled “Second Flight Live at the Z7”. I was really eager to see what the virtuosic quintet had cooked up this time, and boy did they not let me down.
The stage set up was simple, with Neal Morse (keys/vocals) & Mike Portnoy (drums) at the back and Dave LaRue (bass), Casey McPherson (vocals/guitars) & Steve Morse (guitars) at the front. The stage presence of the band was impressive despite the simplistic arrangements. Casey and Neal usual did not fail to demonstrate their incredible vocal skill and endurance throughout the long show. Talking about endurance, Flying Colors is a band that demands a lot of from each member. The DVD spins off with “Open up Your Eyes”, that has Neal Morse playing an endearing piano intro that escalates to the band’s arithmetic progressive, yet groovy sound. The energy of the band is simply amazing. Shortly after, Dave LaRue joins the party by injecting his groovy, noodled up bass line into “Bombs Away”. Casey McPherson does a great job to gel along with what was already a great instrumental display, into what one can now call, a complete performance. There are moments when I literally had tears in my eyes as I heard Casey pouring his heart out on tracks “The Fury of My Love” & “Peaceful Harbor” & “The Storm”. It’s difficult for a singer to emulate what they do in the studio but Casey & Neal managed to strike a chord with the fans as you could see them singing along. There is a moment towards the middle half of the DVD when Neal, Mike and Casey come in front and sing the intro of “One Love Forever” with multiple vocal harmonies and one can see how fans loved it.
The DVD takes you on a ride, a ride which traverses through both the discs. From classics like “Kayla” to “A Place in Your World” to the epic prog pieces like “Cosmic Symphony” & “Infinite Fire”. There can never be a moment when you see Mike Portnoy not having fun on stage. He and Neal Morse keep complimenting each other during epic prog pieces which we have seen during Transatlantic shows. Steven Morse is a legend, churning out solos after solos effortlessly. His soulful playing on tracks like “The Fury Of My Love”, “Infinite Fire” or “One Love Forever” is serene that gets you lost in the contemplation of your train of thought. It’s amazing to see how Dave LaRue adds his own flavor to each track. His basslines are heard clearly and one can see the level of joy on his face while playing in front of Flying Colors fans. There are moments when Mike tells a story to the fans how he found a gem like Casey. There are moments when Casey explains how he lost the loved ones and dedicated an acoustic song “Colder Months” to every fan.
With regard to production and cinematography, the production team behind have done a wonderful job. The instruments are clearly heard and don’t tend to go out of place, which is particularly crucial as there are multiple vocal harmonies with Mike, Neal and Casey singing along adding flavor to the music. The camera work is perfectly balanced with various parts of the stage shown with good distinction. Be it the band or the fans, one wouldn’t be left wondering what’s coming from where. The simplistic lighting not only shows everyone on stage in good light but also gives a deep texture to the on-stage presence of the musicians.
Overall, this DVD once proves yet again as to why progressive rock has to be more in the limelight, and more appreciated. But I guess we listeners and the artists themselves prefer quality over the quantity of fans. This DVD is for everyone into progressive rock music, and also for the ones stuck up in the old school abyss looking for new, genuine music rooting back to classic rock itself. I guess something I loved about the album as well as the DVD the most is the team work, the chemistry the way they fuse in, is just remarkable, and rare, may I point out. The best way to describe this DVD is how band and the fans connect on musical, spiritual level. There are tears, smiles, laughs and what not. Five lives, overflowing with experiences, knowledge, skill and creativity have unanimously sculpted this majestic album, and all I can say is we’d be honored to hear more and increasingly better music from the respective musicians. Flying Colors, have aced it with flying colors!