Neal Morse at The Boston Music Room, Tufnell Park, London

Neal Morse plays a stunning solo run at The Boston Music Room.

By Andy Rawll.

Renowned for his myriad musical collaborations, this latest tour sees the prog polymath as lone minstrel and focusing on his gallery of songs from his latest 'Life and Times' release. Yet, this far from a kumbaya campfire strum-along, that some suspected found Morse cracking the code of some of his most fiendishly complex compositions with the aid of a looper pedal.

Autobiographical opener 'Songs for freedom' set the polyphonic tone, with intricately constructed and perfectly executed excerpts of Purple's 'Space Truckin'' and Yes's 'Heart of the Sunrise'. Equally, the acapella 'Thoughts' with its counterpointed Gentle Giant style harmonies is rendered flawlessly.

Yet, the show remains centred around his inspired song-smithery from the sobering 'He Died at Home', the elegantly wistful 'JoAnna' and the melodic nous that somehow makes 'Taking the Midland Train to Manchester' sound exotic and full of northern promise.

It's a testimony to the strength and depth of his own oeuvre that a jaunty cover of 'Solsbury Hill' is overshadowed by more extraordinary self-penned songs with 'Bridge across Forever' and 'We All Need Some Light' beautifully arresting.

A captivating evening from a master craftsman.


Paul Davies