March 1, 2017 – First comes an album, then comes a DVD/Blu-Ray, then comes a tour.
THE NEAL MORSE BAND—singer/guitarist/keyboardist Neal Morse, drummer Mike Portnoy, bassist Randy George, keyboardist Bill Hubauer and guitarist Eric Gillette—released their highly anticipated and critically acclaimed double-disc concept album, THE SIMILITUDE OF A DREAM, November 11, 2015 on Radiant Records distributed by Metal Blade Records/SONY. It’s the eighth studio album with Morse, Portnoy and George, and the second as a true collaboration with this current lineup.
Clocking in at over 100 minutes, THE SIMILITUDE OF A DREAM is available in various formats: a two CD package, a Special Edition with the two CDs and “The Making Of A Dream” DVD, or as three vinyl records along with two CDs.
Later this month, THE NEAL MORSE BAND’s once-in-a-lifetime concert event, Morsefest 2015, will be released March 24 on Radiant Records distributed by Metal Blade Records/SONY as either 2 Blu-ray discs, or 2 DVDs with 4 CDs. Digital downloads of the music portion will be available from Radiant Records in uncompressed audio, and on iTunes.. Sonically, outstanding audio is delivered by veteran mix engineer Rich Mouser, who has mixed every frontline Neal Morse, Spock’s Beard, and Transatlantic album.
In addition to both concerts, a one-hour documentary puts audiences behind the scenes for this epic event. Featuring candid moments from the band, other musicians, and crew—it’s an engaging glimpse into the whirlwind staging of this event. Neal Morse’s classic TESTIMONY album will also be available for first time on vinyl.
Free from the constraints of studio recording deadlines, Morse expanded his musical vision on Morsefest 2015 and augmented the already amazing Neal Morse Band with live strings, five-piece horn section, orchestral percussion, female background singers and a full choir.
Over two nights (one on each video disc) in 2015, they perform new arrangements of material from Neal Morse’s career. The two concerts span over five hours, venturing beyond the studio versions they’re based on. In addition to complete performances of the SOLA SCRIPTURA and QUESTION albums, there are songs from Spock’s Beard (featuring guest Nick D’Virgilio), Transatlantic, and surprises—including performances with guitar legend Phil Keaggy. Accompanied by extravagant visuals, including three video screens and live dancers, Morsefest 2015 is the most massive live release of Morse’s career.
Now it’s time for THE NEAL MORSE BAND to hit the road again in support of both packages. Their latest round of U.S. tour dates will launch August 17 in St. Paul, MN at the Amsterdam Bar and Hall, preceded by shows in Europe and other international shows to be announced soon. Fans should check NealMorseBand.com for all the latest info.
Together, Morse and Portnoy have launched four bands, but the one that has endured the longest and has released the most musical output has been THE NEAL MORSE BAND. Over the years, Morse, along with Portnoy and George, always assembled musicians as needed to support Neal’s solo music. In 2012, they held auditions to find the musicians needed to fill out the band as a permanent lineup that would write music collectively. Hubauer and Gillette joined the band after three days of auditions. The fivesome went on to release THE GRAND EXPERIMENT in 2014 followed by the ALIVE AGAIN live DVD/2 CD package in 2015.
THE SIMILITUDE OF A DREAM has been racking up rave reviews since its release:
“…THE SIMILITUDE OF A DREAM is an expansive album that shadows similar beats (both musically and narratively) as past magnum opuses like Snow and the two Testimony offerings. Of course, that means that it contains everything that makes his music so special, like beautiful songwriting (‘Shortcut to Salvation’ and ‘Makes No Sense’), vibrant compositional freakouts (‘The Road Called Home’), and plenty of clever reprises (‘Confrontation’). That said, there’s also enough innovation (‘The Mask’ and ‘The Ways of a Fool,’ plus a general increase in vocal variety thanks to keyboardist Bill Hubauer and guitarist Eric Gillette) to let it stand on its own merits. In the end, THE SIMILITUDE OF A DREAM is a phenomenal accomplishment that further solidifies Morse as an exclusive and nearly matchless creative mastermind.”
—Popmatters.com, “The Best Progressive Rock and Metal of 2016” (#4)
“Serving astounding, progressive rock-style arrangements that balance adventurous instrumental passages and segments of restrained playing, the double-disc THE SIMILITUDE OF A DREAM never loses its grip on the concept of melody…This album delivers a listening pleasure we all deserve.”
— Times Record (AR)
“All in all, this is quite an achievement by a group of musicians that didn’t need to improve upon already magnificent careers filled with incredible albums…THE SIMILITUDE OF A DREAM does the impossible and exceeds all expectations. It is absolutely a jaw-dropping release that will no doubt rank alongside the best albums by Neal Morse and Mike Portnoy, if not above them.”
“THE SIMILITUDE OF A DREAM is prog at its most bombastic…Over more than twenty tracks, the band throws all the prog staples into the mix…It’s a sprawling prog epic that demands your attention.”
Check out THE NEAL MORSE BAND at any of the following stops: