Released in the summer of 2002, Spock's Beard’s sixth studio LP, Snow, was a landmark release in several ways. Not only did it stand as the American quintet’s first narrative album -- and arguably their greatest achievement thus far, as well as one of the greatest progressive rock records of all time -- but it also marked their final studio outing with vocalist/multi-instrumentalist/lead songwriter Neal Morse (who departed to focus on a spiritual solo career that’s still going strong).
Naturally, it’s been a dream of every Spock’s Beard fan ever since to see the two artists reunite to perform Snow live once again. Fortunately, they finally got their wish in July of last year, when every member of Spock’s Beard -- past and present -- came together to recreate the conceptual epic at Morsefest 2016. As the below clip of the heartrending “I’m Dying” (from the upcoming home release of the concert) shows, the performance’s inherent emotion was expounded by the nostalgic and symbolic context surrounding it.
Currently, Spock’s Beard consists of vocalist Ted Leonard, guitarist Alan Morse, keyboardist Ryo Okumoto, and bassist Dave Meros; joining them -- and Neal Morse -- for the set were ex-drummers Nick D’Virgilio (who also took over main vocal duties between 2003 and 2011) and Jimmy Keegan (who replaced D’Virgilio on percussion while Leonard took over singing in 2011). It’s easy to see, then, why The Prog Report declared it “an event for the ages... [and] a wish come true” for their devotees, as well as a symbol of how the genre as a whole “continues to bring people from all corners of the world together to celebrate great music and make friends”.
Fifteen years later, Neal Morse is still humbled and surprised by how much Snow “mean[s] a lot to many people. It touched the hearts and lives and had profound meaning to people all over the world”. Obviously, they were never able to play it live before, so they “never got to see how it lived out in the world. Until now”. In fact, he concludes that while “there was a lot of pain associated” with the record (because of the turmoil going on behind-the-scenes), they “always knew that [they] were going to get together and play it at some point”. Luckily for them and fans, Morsefest 2016 was the perfect opportunity to do it finally.
Speaking of “I’m Dying” in particular, Morse admits, “This section of the Snow album was definitely the most emotional for me. I found myself getting lost in the story and the almost ferocious level of emotion that was happening.” These sentiments come through immediately in the clip, as it’s clear both visually and musically just how much they value the album, the attendees, and their history and connections. Take a look below and feel the wind at your own back when Snow Live releases (in several formats) on November 10th via Radiant Records.