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Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014

Flying Colors: Live In Europe (Music Theories Recordings)

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 When your band records a live album after previously releasing only one studio record, you usually fill your set with cover tunes. But if you’re progressive-rock supergroup Flying Colors, whose lineup includes ultra-talented current and former members of Dream Theater, Deep Purple and Spock’s Beard, you can augment that new music with selections from an astoundingly deep back-catalog.

Flying Colors—featuring Mike Portnoy on drums, Steve Morse on guitars, Neal Morse on keyboards, Dave LaRue on bass and Casey McPherson on vocals and guitars—released its debut disc in 2012, then issued this two-CD live set one year later. While the entire album is performed, the real gems here are tracks from other members’ bands, including Dream Theater’s dark and eerie “Repentance,” the melancholy and nostalgic “June” by Spock’s Beard and the Dixie Dregs’ majestic instrumental “Odyssey,” plus McPherson’s haunting solo version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” The latter may seem out of place, yet it perfectly demonstrates the transcending power of good music.