For CalProg concert promoter Jim “PapaJ” Harrel, arranging the Spock’s Beard show that would yield “The X Tour Live” CD and DVD, available now via Music Theories Recordings, was a special experience that brought his whole organization full-circle.

Harrel came on board with Spock’s Beard nearly a decade ago while the band was recording “Snow,” its final release with co-founder Neal Morse, recording all the video for the “Making of Snow” DVD.  Through the years he maintained a close relationship with the band.  So, after Morse had branched out onto his own and was looking to play a show in area, he called upon Harrel for help.

“I was able to find a venue, a sound company, and put out a ‘call for crew’ through internet channels and people I had met while working on some post-production acoustic shows following ‘Snow’’s release,” Harrel said.  “A crew of about 15 people came together to do that show and we all had a blast. A few weeks after the show the core of the crew got together for a dinner/de-brief and we all agreed that it was a lot of fun, and that we’d like to do more shows.  And CalProg was born.  Today, nearly 10 years later, we are essentially the exact same team doing all CalProg productions.  Having the Beard back for this significant tour was like a homecoming of sorts for us.”


Since Spock’s Beard is rarely afforded the opportunity to play live stateside, this one-off show was certain to stir up excitement in the prog rock community.  As expected, the concert drew fans from across the country, eager to take advantage of the rare opportunity to witness one of the top bands in the genre.

“Spock’s is pretty well known as being a ‘fun’ band,” Harrel said.  “From their back stage Japanese pre-show chants to their often over the top stage antics, they are just a band that leaves you with a smile on your face.  I remember when we were setting up for that day, there was a very light atmosphere as old friends got together and caught up on recent events, and shared their often wild stories.  But I was also struck by something all day, that was different then I’d seen from the guys over the years.  There was a very serious and almost reverent tone about the music, the production, and performance. They were VERY focused on doing a great show.  And I think the quality of the performance on the DVD bears witness to this.”

A personal highlight for the band was the standing ovation they received BEFORE they even began to play.  “It’s a real shame that we didn't capture it on camera,” said bassist Dave Meros.  “It was a really long and sincere standing ovation.  It was kind of moving, actually.  I guess it had been so long since we had played locally, and also because people really felt like ‘X’ was a strong effort, they were inspired to give us that incredible demonstration of support.”

“The X Tour Live” also captures the first time Stan Ausmus, longtime friend and co-writer, had the opportunity to take the stage with the band for a performance of “The Man Behind the Curtain.”

“It was a real treat to lay that one down with the guys,” Ausmus said.  “I couldn't have asked for a better experience.  Playing on stage with the Beard was as good as it gets.  Their performance that evening was transcendent.  Everything was on and the crowd was bristling, eager to hear what came next.”

“The X Tour Live” is a two-CD set, which is also be available in a limited edition deluxe version, including exclusive extra features such as a photo slide show, backstage and rehearsal footage, a version of “Their Names Escape Me” without the names but a killer sax solo, and also a time lapse video of the stage set up.

Spock’s Beard has established itself as the crème de la crème of modern progressive rock.  Not simply a musician’s band, Spock’s Beard has also mastered the art of penning catchy, harmony-driven songs that will appeal to any fan of well-written pop songs.  The music of Spock’s Beard is a reflection of their varied influences, which include classical, pop, rock, jazz and jazz fusion, and R&B, while their intricate multi-part vocal harmonies and use of counterpoint add a whole other dimension.

Mascot Records is an independent record company based in The Netherlands that specializes in guitar music, from metal to instrumental guitar, hard rock, prog rock and (guitar) fusion.

 

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