While Neal Morse was making his latest album, “The Great Adventure,” he prayed.
“I prayed we were doing something that will be a great blessing,” he says. Morse, who plays the Mesa Arts Center on Saturday, March 9, says he feels he and God succeeded.
By the time he gets to the double-album’s closing track, “A Love That Never Dies,” he’s overwhelmed with emotion.
“I think there were a couple shows where I was in tears,” he says. “I’m pretty much moved and in tears by the end every night. I’m known to be moved and cry on stage. I’ve done it before. This one is really a blessing. I’m thankful I’ve come to a place where we’re able to do this.”
True to the album’s title, the creative process was indeed a “great adventure.” Unlike many previous Morse albums, this time around the band spent almost a year working on the end result, producing an abundance of top-quality material.
While he was recording, Morse – who’s joined by drummer Mike Portnoy, bassist Randy George, keyboardist Bill Hubauer and guitarist Eric Gillette – realized he needed a new voice and perspective. This time, it is that of the pilgrim’s abandoned son, a younger, perhaps angrier, voice that was heard on “The Similtude of a Dream.” The closing line of “The Similtude of a Dream” proved to be prophetic. The new album is a companion piece to TSOAD’s partial retelling of John Bunyan’s “The Pilgrim’s Progress.”
“It was fun and a struggle,” says Morse, who recently launched the Waterfall App as a one-stop spot for his music. “Sometimes God’s in the struggle. A lot of times, with bands, there are different personalities and opinions. I had to drop the bomb on the band after we had done the first draft of this together that I didn’t think it was all there. I thought it was good, but I didn’t think it was great.
“Some of the band members didn’t agree with that. I very gently stuck to my guns and we wound up doing a whole rewrite and making it a double album. It wasn’t a sequel to ‘Similtude.’ We pushed it through and Mike was really moved, too. He came off stage in Montreal and he said, ‘Thank you,’ with a little mist in his eyes. ‘We’re really enjoying playing it every night.’”
The Neal Morse Band
Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 N. Arizona Avenue, Chandler,
480.782.2680, chandlercenter.org, 8 p.m. Saturday, March 9,