The Neal Morse Band Live at The Space, Westbury, Long Island

There are talents and there are rare talents in this world like Neal Morse. The prolific progressive rock genius seems to top himself over and over throughout his storied career. Where others would just stand pat and repeat themselves, Neal continually writes, records and performs across a spectrum of styles. All of this has synthesized in The Neal Morse Band. Certainly not his final destination musically by a long shot, with 2016’s The Similitude of a Dream and the sprawling double album The Great Adventure (both InsideOut Music) he has gelled all of his various elements together impressively.

The Space is a beautiful venue that sadly I don’t get to often enough. Last time I was here the huge open room with great sound, brick walls, and a small seating section was wide open and packed with people in general admission show. Thought for the more grown-up prog rock opera/ theatrical experience there were two columns of seats with eager fans. The graybeard in the crowd likely appreciated the seat for the long show ahead of us and the younglings in the room were jumping out of their seats with joy.

Neal has a penchant for working with the best talent on earth, befitting of his own prowess. The band on The Great Adventure and the tour included legends like drummer Mike Portnoy (ex-Dream Theater, The Winery Dogs, Sons of Apollo), bassist Randy George, keyboardist Bill Hubauer and guitarist Eric Gillette, with Morse singing, playing keyboards and rocking it on lead and rhythm guitar.

Set in two parts, the album is a masterclass in songcraft, talent and technique. The band performs the entire album from The Great Adventure, without a break. Twenty-one songs, of high concept prog rock, and at the center Morse is the ringmaster. Part theater, part spectacle, Morse leads the way with his many costume changes, expressive performance, and his own talents musically. He brings the crow into his world, sometimes taking the spotlight and sometimes letting the music or the musicians shine. It doesn’t feel like a backing band (it’s not) or an all-star band (which it is), it feels like a great team with a lot of selfless sharing and stepping out. The staging and the video screen behind the band were incredible, some of the most stunning visuals we’ve seen in a long time, that really blew me away. Neal is a wonderful performer, connecting with everyone in the audience on a personal level. You feel as if he is singing right to you, right with you all the time.

The lengthy encore was practically an entire set unto itself, with hits from his over twenty solo albums to choose from, alternating between solemn folk songs, to ballads to prog rock workouts. The fans seem to ebb and flow with the songs, highlight moments raising our passion and our voices. It was a pretty magical night and such a unique show too. The only shame was that it had to end.

The Neal Morse band set list:

Overture/The Dream Isn’t Over

Welcome to the World

A Momentary Change

Dark Melody

I Got to Run

To the River

The Great Adventure

Venture in Black

Hey Ho Let’s Go

Beyond the Borders

Overture 2

Long Ago

The Dream Continues

Fighting With Destiny

Vanity Fair

Welcome to the World 2

The Element of Fear

Child of Wonder

The Great Despair

Freedom Calling

A Love That Never Dies


The Land of Beginning Again (Neal Morse song)

Reunion (Neal Morse song)

The Temple of the Living God (Neal Morse song)

12 (Neal Morse song)

The Conflict (Neal Morse song)

Leviathan (Neal Morse song)

It’s for You (Neal Morse song)

Momentum (Neal Morse song)

The Call

Broken Sky / Long Day (Reprise)