RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Flying Colors - Second Flight: Live At The Z7
http://flyingcolorsmusic.com
https://www.facebook.com/flyingcolorsofficial

Rating: A

It is a given with live albums that you typically have to first like the group if you’re going to enjoy the live performance. It’s no different with Flying Colors’ Second Flight: Live at Z7. This band is an amazing collection of talent that has conspired to create a wonderful live album that deserves your time.

I suppose there are folks checking out this website who wouldn’t have interest in this CD/DVD set. I can’t imagine who, however; I don’t know how someone can like good, solid rock music and not like Flying Colors. The resumes of the members of this band would double the word count of this review - and would certainly be far more impressive than anything this reviewer can write!

By their nature live albums tend not to rise to an A rating. All too often they serve the purpose of cranking out a quick product with little effort in order to stay relevant and make a few bucks. That certainly cannot be said here. I can’t think of any reason to not give Second Flight: Live at Z7 any rating lower than it’s well deserved A. The live energy and venue atmosphere works here. It’s an amazing CD/DVD set recorded from one concert in Pratteln, Switzerland, at the Konzertfabrik Z7 concert venue. It’s not a collection of several concerts with the best parts spliced together; it’s one single badass concert! Personally, that means a lot. I only pay for one ticket for one night and see only one concert. If this is what they produce in that one show I am all the more impressed.

My first introduction to this set was the two CD’s. I listened to them several times before watching the DVD. I’m glad I did as it allowed me to focus solely on the music and check out the performance later. I am amazed by the tightness of the musicians. Half the material comes from their second album, Second Nature, which had only just been released at the time of the recording. Still, they play the material as though they are intimately familiar with it and have practiced every time change, shift in style, and key change so often that it has become muscle memory. Drummer Mike Portnoy admitted this was not the case. These guys all have other bands to occupy their time and energy, so they didn’t have that much time to polish up the performances. Yet they still delivered a powerful product. This is pure talent in its most entertaining form.

Second Flight: Live at Z7 has several songs that not only reveal the band’s compositional skills, but also the instrumental talents of the individual band members. In “One Love Forever”, for example, the band is able to freely shift from a 6/8 feel to a straight 4/4 and back numerous times so seamlessly that few will notice. What could easily be awkward transitions are performed so eloquently that it just feels like a natural progression of the song. So unbelievably cool!

Lead singer and guitarist Casey McPherson really comes into his own on these disks. He plays “Colder Months”, a solo effort that segues into the reflective “Peaceful Harbor”. This is one of the most powerful moments of the concert and album. It is very well done, especially McPherson’s solo parts and Steve Morse’s passionate guitar work. This is the kind of live adaptation of great studio songs I want to hear when I go to a concert.

The marquee song on the Second Nature studio album has to be “Cosmic Symphony”. Coming in at almost twelve minutes, this piece has everything a progressive lover could ask for. On Second Flight: Live at Z7 it also doesn’t disappoint. Flying Colors easily and beautifully negotiates all the time changes and shifts in style. Again, this is one of those songs that may be even better live than in the studio.

The final song on the album is also the concert encore, “Infinite Fire”. I will only say that if this doesn’t get your blood racing then put down your headphones, turn off your stereo and give up on live progressive style music altogether; it’s not for you. This is a stunning performance, one that makes me even sadder the tour didn’t come to Vegas and I didn’t make it to the LA performance. It’s easy to see and hear that the Swiss crowd loves every minute of it. I hope to be in the crowd next time.

This CD/DVD set is a must own, so buy it. You won’t be disappointed.


Track Listing:
Disk One:

Overture
Open Up Your Eyes
Bombs Away
Kayla
Shoulda Coulda Woulda
The Fury Of My Love
A Place In Your World
Forever In A Daze

Disc Two:
One Love Forever
Colder Months
Peaceful Harbor
The Storm
Cosmic Symphony
Mask Machine
Infinite Fire

DVD Listing:
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
Peaceful Harbor
The Storm
Cosmic Symphony
Mask Machine
Infinite Fire

By Roy Rahl

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