Welcome to the World! Neal Morse, Mike Portnoy, Randy George, Eric Gillette, and Bill Hubauer rolled through Toronto last Thursday, February 21st, and delivered a dizzying display of exemplary prog music over a two and a half hour time period to an enraptured audience of Torontonians. I have only ever experienced two (2) seated shows at The Opera House, and tonight’s performance was one of them.
While it would be a tough proposition for any band to top a double album like 2016’s The Similitude of a Dream, the 2019 offering The Great Adventure somehow manages to do just that. Every track on …Adventure showcases exploratory storytelling throughout another double album with a level of majestic musicianship that only Morse, Portnoy, George, Gillette, and Hubauer can deliver. This evening was rife with some fantastic displays of synthesizers, guitaring, drumming and emotions, complete with a rotating assortment of projected visuals, lighting and wardrobe changes as the group wove their way through the tale of an abandoned son from the lead Similitude character.
Get your boots laced up and prepare yourself for “The Great Adventure”.
Fans clapped and sung along to “Welcome To The World,” “The Great Adventure,” and “A Love That Never Dies.” After performing for two hours, the band came back on stage and played for another half hour, working their way through a medley of tracks the touched on every album of Morse’s solo career.
There’s nothing I could really compare a show like this to: maybe Steven Wilson? Perhaps that’s a stretch, but given that I just saw Wilson and company a few months back in this very same venue progging their way through an emotional two and a half hour set in a similar fashion, the comparison might stand. The Neal Morse Band totally brought their A-Game this evening, delivering a level of technicality and showmanship that acts in full-sized arenas would have a hard time delivering the same standard of performance.
The album The Great Adventure dropped on January 25th, 2019, via Metal Blade.