dvd & video review
The making of "V" & Don´t try this at home - 2002
Now that Neal Morse has quit his musical career and, in consequence, abandoned us, this generous double DVD offers what we could call the "posthumous" document from the great singer and composer. It's sad to know that he's gone to find heavenly peace, and see him on the studio, or on stage, enjoying himself like a child and showing his immense talent.
The first DVD includes a documentary, the extended version of the multimedia track included on the special edition of "V", about two hours long, that shows with detail the process of composing and recording their 2000' album. The band is recluses in the Lawnmower Garden Supplies studio, a sort of rebuilded warehouse, to create their, then, new work.
Surrounded by relatives (there's Neal's dad, wife and children, Nick's daughter...) and with a complete instrumental aid, the Beard improvise, discuss, rehearse...during intense hours when the brainstorming is unstoppable. So, Alan and Neal discuss the lyrics for "Thoughts Part II"; Dave Meros practices a bass line with a huge contrabass, Nick adds percussive ideas to the introduction for "At The End Of The Day", and Ryo Okumoto quietly composes the mellotron part for "The Great Nothing". Meanwhile, Neal rehearses and records voices in a domestic studio.
There's an atmosphere of camaraderie, where good humor and friendship make the long working hours feel easier.
Second disc is mainly devoted to a complete live show in the Netherlands, included on the "Day For Night" tour, that puts on moving pictures what we heard on "Don't Try This At Home" and its sequel, "Don't Try This At Home Either".
The shooting is reasonably competent, with diverse camera shots and a good editing.
The show is excellent; the high level and enthusiasm from the Beard (specially Neal and the amazing Mr. Okumoto, who plays a bizarre keyboard solo), and the setlist: "The Light", "The Doorway", "June", "Go The Way You Go", "Day For Night", "The Healing Colors Of Sound", a cover of Genesis' "Squonk"...
For anyone that never has seen them live, this is an excellent document. Unfortunately, it will be the last chance to see Neal Morse playing with the band.
Added to the documentary and the live show there are some extra features on this double set, as it is the promo video for "All On A Sunday" (much better than we could have expected), or sketches from "special" performances: an acoustic set on a record shop, Neal and Alan's guitar duet, Nick taking the lead (and showing that he's a worthy substitute to Neal)...
My only regret is that, being a DVD, picture quality, grainy and dull colored, could have been much better: For technology purists this will be a problem; if you're interested in Spock's Beard music, this double set is not to miss