Another one of those Mike Portnoy led super-groups released their debut album in 2012 and while this in many ways might be typical prog-rock super-group, there is more to Flying Colors then so. The project displays somewhat different sides to some of the band members (especially Portnoy and Neal Morse), by putting the technical abilities to the side and focusing on simpler songs and is characterized by the songs that despite some escapades, mostly focus on that very gist, the very idea of a song. This suits the band well, none the less because of Casey McPherson’s singer/songwriter aura.
McPherson, who’s in a way a black sheep of this project, is actually the glue that holds it together, none the less live. His singing is far from magnificent, but his feel and ability to become part of the song and lyrics is remarkable. The best example of this is a song that shouldn’t work that well live, but ends up being one of the highlights of this album, if not the highlight. It’s the cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” (which much like other 1000000 covers of this song actually leans more on the Jeff Beckly’s cover then the original), which displays this young singer’s talent the best. Whatever you preconceptions might have been, you just can’t help, but be drawn into this simple vocals/guitar cover.
Flying Colors only have one album under their sleeve so to fill out the hour and a half worth of concert (and perhaps fulfill many of the fans wishes) the band covers some of the well-known songs from the many bands the Flying Colors’ members are best known for. Live and the venue, this probably worked well, but on the live recording it feels somewhat redundant.
Live in Europe is a live documentation of a band, which consists of many experienced gentlemen, who play flawlessly, but as an album it lacks something that truly captures the feel of a concert and it lacks something that you basically can’t get on their debut. Sure there are some covers, but they are far from something unique and uplifting.