NEAL MORSE – Jesus Christ the Exorcist – Live at Morsefest 2018
- by J.N.
- Posted on 25-01-2021
The highly skilled Neal Morse staged his "Jesus Christ the Exorcist" prog rock concept album at Morsefest back in 2018, and this deluxe package consisting of two CDs and a DVD captures the whole performance and nicely illustrates just how huge in scope and elaborate the whole thing is.
From a purely musical perspective, this is an impressive piece of work with several interesting nuances and textures to it, and it is a varied yet utterly cohesive affair. The more playful and 70s-inspired tunes and passages stand out the most as they are colorful and hardly ever predictable. Although the lyrical content is dreadful and somewhat cringeworthy at times, the overall storyline does lend itself well to Morse’s musical visions and ideas, and if nothing else, the show certainly does not lack any passion or professionalism on the part of those involved. Great vocals emphasize the grand feel and ambitious edge of the endeavor, the sound is warm and crisp, and the musicianship is superb throughout. The DVD offers very little and you really only need the CDs, but at least it displays just how much Morse and the big ensemble are enjoying themselves on stage when immersing themselves in the narrative and playing their respective parts.
Should you find yourself in the mood for an epic prog opus, then this one might be of interest to you. Some might find the overt Christian motif of "Jesus Christ the Exorcist" abhorrent (I know I do at times), but if you can overlook that then this is generally a satisfying listening experience. This live document is by no means a triumph, but it is a concise and deftly executed effort.