Flying Colors - Second Flight: Live At The Z7

Flying Colors - Second Flight: Live At The Z7

(DVD/2CD, Mascot Music, 2015)

FLYING COLORS is not the typical “supergroup”, simply because the musicians involved look like they’re having tons of fun when onstage. And I am saying this having watched these fine gentlemen live during the handful of US shows FLYING COLORS did in support of their sophomore LP, “Second Nature”. Also being a band having released the same number of LPs and DVDs says a lot about the excellent chemistry between those rich CVs. I think the difference with “Second Flight: Live At The Z7” is the format which is also available on Bluray, being an extra reason to get this one.

Unfortunately I’ve got the DVD/2CD version of this release, so there is not much to say about the quality of the picture and the sound which I am sure are better in Bluray. The footage was taken in the Z7 this time, instead of Tilburg's 013, so I guess the band liked the response of the European fans in the first one and wanted to repeat the successful recipe. The filming was done with several cams covering each musician but what I really like are the shooting angles from the venue’s arena (most probably from the soundboard and the balcony) which gives some taste of what the audience was seeing (ok, obviously I'm talking about the tall ones). In case you haven’t seen FLYING COLORS live, then know that Mike Portnoy and Steve Morse are occupying stage left and right underlining the importance of the keyboards in this perfect mix of modern and traditional Prog Rock. And when I say traditional, I mean the difficult one where the music actually makes sense and is not an ultra complicated set of riffs, keyboards melodies and impossible to comprehend song structures. On top of that, the high quality Prog Rock is meant to be enjoyed live while watching the high-skilled musicians delivering the goods effortlessly wearing huge smiles. Yeah, this is exactly the case with FLYING COLORS and you will only need to watch the intro and then “Open Up Your Eyes” to get what I am saying. Portnoy has the lion’s share when it comes to talking, and you can tell that he is doing a great job just by listening to how the audience responds. The ace inside FLYING COLORS’ sleeve is no other than the already known musician / singer Casey McPherson who I believe is more impressive live than he is in the studio recordings because you can see and listen how his singing style and, most importantly, his performing fits this band’s Progressive Rock aura. You can check the slower songs to see (and hear) what I am saying and, of course, “Kayla” is a fine piece of evidence. The piano-sounding keyboards lead the way for the mid-tempo, groovy and kind of moody “The Fury Of My Love” which by the way showcases what FLYING COLORS describe as using modern elements in their music. Steve Morse is one of those guitarists who make the lead guitar-playing look like it’s the easiest thing to do and really, it wouldn’t take much to do the same (yeah, right). The leads and solos flow extremely smooth with a shocking dexterity and the amount of passion which is rare to witness during a show nowadays.

The filming direction is not stationery and I’d describe it as being dynamic but without superfast camera angle changes, so it’s easy to get a good idea of what is going on onstage while enjoy the type of closeups all the nerd guitarists love. The audio setup is very interesting and you can choose whether you want to hear the show from the front row or from the soundboard. “Mask Machine” is the perfect song to check the two selections and experience the differences, although I’d choose the front-row option and get my eardrums blown up by the awesome bass doodle and the riff that follows. Here, Dave LaRue sounds rawer than in the studio, serving better the up-tempo and extremely catchy profile of this one.

I enjoyed watching this show from the comfort of my couch as much as I did when I saw FLYING COLORS live and this says a lot about the quality of the filming. Yeah, cranking up the volume on my home theater system did enhance the experience, so my advice is to get the Bluray to also get the best visual result. The only weakness of this release is the bonus material which features just the video clips without backstage footage or short interviews. On a personal note, I like having the option of having captions and get also the chance of reading the lyrics and - why not? - lip-sing a bit.

9/10


Links:

www.FlyingColorsMusic.Com
www.FaceBook.Com/FlyingColorsOfficial


Tracklist:

CD1

01. Overture
02. Open Up Your Eyes
03. Bombs Away
04. Kayla
05. Shoulda Coulda Woulda
06. The Fury Of My Love
07. A Place In Your World
08. Forever In A Daze

CD2

01. One Love Forever
02. Colder Months
03. Peaceful Harbor
04. The Storm
05. Cosmic Symphony
06. Mask Machine
07. Infinite Fire

DVD

01. Overture
02. Open Up Your Eyes
03. Bombs Away
04. Kayla
05. Shoulda Coulda Woulda
06. The Fury Of My Love
07. A Place In Your World
08. Forever In A Daze
09. One Love Forever
10. Colder Months
11. Peaceful Harbor
12. The Storm
13. Cosmic Symphony
14. Mask Machine
15. Infinite Fire
16. Peaceful Harbor (Orchestral Version)


Lineup:

Steve Morse - Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Neal Morse - Guitar
Casey McPherson - Vocals
Mike Portnoy - Drums
Dave LaRue - Bass