Toronto’s Mod Club Theatre was fully packed on Monday night as the crowd welcomed Nashville progressive rockers The Neal Morse Band. A pretty great way to start the week, if you ask us. The band’s latest offering, The Similitude of a Dream, is a double concept album (their eighth album together) that dropped in November and was being played in full. Accompanying Neal Morse (keyboards, guitar, vocals) this fine evening are Mike Portnoy (drums), Randy George (bass), Bill Hubauer (keyboards), and Eric Gillette (guitar).
Here’s how it went down…. The venue goes black, the crowd starts cheering. Suddenly, one single beam of light is visible, illuminating Neal Morse’s face. Next to appear is the Mike Portnoy, upon his throne of drums, with a stuffed monkey hanging off the front. Amid a sea of laser beams the rest of the band joins in and the show has officially begun.
Neal is great as a frontman; he never stays behind the keyboards very long, exchanging them at various times for both electric as well as acoustic guitars. Not to mention he interacts with both his other band members and the audience, to their delight. Mike Portnoy is just amazing to watch. Drumsticks are flying through the air and at one point both he and Neil donned what appeared to be a cross between welding goggles and clock maker magnifying glasses. How he was able to continue drumming while wearing them is quite impressive. I can’t imagine he was able to see very much. Must be the drummer’s sixth sense, right? The rest of the band are equally impressive and all in all it was a spectacular evening.