013, Tilburg (support-act JOHN WESLEY)

FLYING COLORS, 2014-10-22 (E)
woensdag, oktober 22, 2014

We remember the last gig by Flying Colors, the super-group from the US. From their show in Tilburg a DVD was filmed and recorded! Obviously things weren’t going according to the plan because by the time it should have been ‘doors open’ both bands were trying hard to get a decent soundcheck. So it was way past 7.30 PM before the first person was allowed to enter the building and have a quick meet & greet with Flying Colors and a possibility to have items signed by the band.

Just past 9 PM John Wesley and his band entered the stage for their part during this evening of progressive rock, or should I just say rock? There are not too much progressive elements in John Wesley’s music and as later on would turn out: not too much progressive music from Flying Colors as well. Of course, John Wesley grabbed the opportunity to play as a support act for Flying Colors, because it would mean practically each night playing for a sold-out venue. 013 in Tilburg wasn’t fully sold out, at least not at around 8 PM, in spite of this gig being the only show in the Netherlands. Still a lot of people were coming in during and even after the appearance by supporting act John Wesley. Usually, a support act isn’t granted much space on stage and has to perform with dimmed lights and a very limited lightshow. In this case things weren’t any different. Wesley, mostly known for his role as second guitarist with Porcupine Tree live and as lead guitarist for Sound Of Contact, tried hard to convince all people attending that his new album Disconnect would be a great choice to buy from the merchandise booth.

Although I heard several people talking about the music in a very enthusiastic way, I couldn’t quite share their enthusiasm. Without keyboards, it’s rather difficult to play what we usually believe to be ‘progressive music’. The compositions, mostly no more than five minutes length, should be classified as ‘rock’ in my opinion. However, this evening should perhaps not be considered to be a progressive rock concert, but rather an alternative rock concert. As such Wesley gave his best, as well as his bandmates. Although rather static and no, or very little, interaction with their audience, drummer Mark Prator, bassist Sean Malone (Cynic) and guitarist Ian Medhurst were playing with skill. Wesley seemed very pleased with the feedback from the audience and after three quarters of an hour he said goodbye and wished everyone a great time with Flying Colors.   

After a break of half an hour Steve Morse (guitar), Neal Morse (keyboards, vocals), Mike Portnoy (drums, vocals), Casey McPherson (leadvocal) and Dave LaRue (bass) came on stage and opened their show with Open Up Your Eyes, followed by a great rendition of Bombs Away and the sing-along song Kayla, a track from their debut album. Supporting their new album Second Nature, naturally a lot of songs were played from this album. To be more precise, from the nine songs on the regular edition only Lost Without You wasn’t performed. The atmosphere was truly great and as usual Portnoy turned out to be the main spokesman for the band. He stated that the band really loved to play in Tilburg again and that Holland always means a truthful and dedicated following. He also said he and his buddies had extremely good memories about that evening of their sold-out show in 2013. Before the show we were already informed that they had troubles with the tight schedule and indeed were looking a bit tired. Maybe due to a jet lag?

Unfortunately for me, I ended up right in front of Steve Morse but every time he stood in the spotlight, there were massive lights from behind him as well, making it quite impossible to get a decent shot of the guitarist of Deep Purple. Not good from a photographer’s point of view. Normally, where I was standing would have been a superb spot, standing right in the first row, but since Morse was mainly relying on the speakers right behind him, I didn’t hear much of the other members of the band, I only heard Morse’s guitar… After the show I heard other visitors, who were standing further in the back of the venue, say the sound quality was excellent. It was just too crowded to roam around so I decided to stay put, but I regret to say that on this evening I never got to hear the band properly.

Portnoy explained how he accidentally stumbled upon Casey McPherson when he was fiddling around with - I believe he said-  his cell phone, trying to find some decent music. He heard Casey’s voice, got goose bumps and he went looking for this voice. He found out how to make contact with Casey’s band Alpha Rev and the rest is history! Of course, on this night too Casey got the opportunity to have a solo spot featuring the Alpha Rev song Colder Months, sung beautifully. Obviously the extremely good atmosphere and raving rounds of applause by the audience gave the band some renewed energy, but still the whole show wasn’t as spectacular and most certainly not as frivolous as in 2013. After the encore Infinite Fire Portnoy stated they had no more stuff to play and although everyone shouted out loud for more, the band didn’t return for a second encore.

Flying Colors are a bunch of great musicians and to see this kind of quality musicians performing live is always a pleasure and a privilege. In my humble opinion this show will not be remembered as well as their previous show and talking about the music, I heard many people say that Second Nature is okay, but certainly not outmatching the first one… Time will tell whether the band is able to deliver an album worthy of their outstanding musicianship, or that they prove to be just a few guys trying to make an extra buck. Perhaps a little bit of bad luck for us at 013 that this show was the first gig of the European tour.   

Set list: Open Up Your Eyes, Bombs Away, Kayla, Shoulda Coulda Woulda, The Fury Of My Love, A Place in Your World, Forever In A Daze, One Love Forever, Colder Months (Alpha Rev cover), Peaceful Harbor, The Storm, Cosmic Symphony, Mask Machine.

Encore: Infinite Fire