After being lost in the post-office oblivion for a few months, today we received a promo package containing the DVD portion of this 3CD/2DVD package that has been highly coveted by prog fans since it came out in November. Featuring around 3 hours of live material, Neal Morse, Mike Portnoy, Randy George, Eric Brenton, Rick Altizer, Mark Leniger, Nathan Girard and Nathan Brenton play some very intricate and exciting progressive music that has a very natural and free-flowing nature that only the best in the scene can achieve.
As a first thing to notice is that there is quite a lot of ‘praise and Jesus-stuff’ in this release to the point of being a bit annoying, but the music makes it quite bearable and when not focusing on the lyrics everything played in this release is excellent. Every since 2002 Neal has focused more on the spiritual side of things and this is very prevalent through the release. Nothing wrong with this and we are not against it, but we don’t really like it rubbed that much on our faces, especially on top of fantastic music.
Anyways, getting that out of the way, we can’t tell you enough how awesome it is to listen to this ensemble of excellent musicians hammer out massive tunes with perfect execution of their instruments. Every track is very well executed and features a ‘jam-band’ vibe that for this type of music is quite impressive. Every track they played, they totally pull it off graciously. The audio quality is very impressive (for a 2.0 Stereo mix only), but we could only wish it was available in a 5.1 mix for total enjoyment.
In terms of video, here is the only weak element of the release. We understand the DVD’s are the bonus part of the CD’s, but they could have used higher resolution (and quality) cameras since there are plenty of times where some of the long-shots are out of focus and some web-cam quality footage as well. Thanks to the snazzy editing, this is partially obscured, but when staring at it on a 52” screen, it is very evident. In the end, each musician’s performance is excellent and emotive, and this is nicely captured in the footage.
The extras are excellent since they show 10 minutes of the Spock’s Beard reunion (so-so quality), and the in-depth 1.5 hours tour documentary is excellent. Being shot by the band members at odd places and times, it really gives you the feeling that you are traveling with the band and a part of the entourage. There are some live clips that greatly enhance the overall experience and gives the fans a very nice look into the band’s dealings during their hectic tour.
In general, when compared to DVD releases in 2011, we have to say that the video leaves a lot to be desired. In terms of the audio, this release is pretty up to par with the average live DVD of this day and age. With the extras, the DVD becomes an essential item for any fan of Neal Morse and should be acquired by any fan of prog music since there is some excellent musical parts that only a handful of musicians can pull-off so graciously.
|Band: Neal Morse||Album: Testimony 2 – Live in Los Angeles|
|Label: Radiant Records/InsideOut||
Release: November 8th, 2011
|Genre: Progressive Metal/Rock||