100 DVD Reviews in 100 Days

gamrrpolgamrrpol Road Warrior
edited July 2012 in History of Rock
EDIT: All right....due to personal issues I abandoned this a while back and decided to take it up again. Entering new posts as of today (July 11, 2012).

Okay, I've become a big live music DVD fan and the collection is starting to get substantial. I've been meaning to add reviews to Amazon and figure this post will give me some incentive to get going. I'll try to post one each day, but if I miss one here or there I'll try to make up for it. Each review will be a new post and I'll list them, as I add them, on the OP.

1. Rush - Rush in Rio
2. Queensryche - Mindcrime at the Moore
3. Queens of the Stone Age - Over the Years and Through the Woods
4. Lucinda Williams - Austin City Limits
5. Judas Priest - Live Vengeance '82
6. Alice in Chains - Unplugged
7. Coheed & Cambria - Neverender
8. Gorillaz - Demon Days Live
9. Deep Purple - Live in Concert 72/73
10. Roger Waters - In The Flesh
11. Rush - R30
12. Styx - Return To Paradise
13. Queensryche - The Art of Live
14. Queensryche - Operation: LiveCrime
15. Queensrcyhe - Live Evolution
16. Dio - We Rock
17. Led Zeppelin - untitled
18. Iron Maiden - Flight 666
19. Iron Maiden - Live After Death
20. Iron Maiden - The History of Iron Maiden - Pt. 1: The Early Years
21. Metallica - Live Sh*t - Binge & Purge
22. Blue Oyster Cult - Some Enchanted Evening
23. Porcupine Tree - Arriving Somewhere
24. Judas Priest - British Steel - 30th Anniversary Edition
25. Voivod - Tatsumaki
26. Smashing Pumpkins - If All Goes Wrong
27. Tori Amos - Live at Montreaux '91/'92
28. Joe Bonnamassa - Live From the Royal Albert Hall
29. The Cars - Musikladen - Live 1979
30. The Cult - Live Cult (Music Without Fear)
31. Pink Floyd - Pulse
32. Muse - H.A.A.R.P.
33. Marillion - Recital of the Script
34. Dream Theater - Metropolis 2000
35. Dream Theater - Live at Budokan
36. Dream Theater - Score - 20th Anniversary
37. Dream Theater - Chaos in Motion
38. Dream Theater - Images & Words Live in Tokyo / 5 Years in a LiveTime
39. Triumph - Live at the Us Festival
40. The Who - The Kids Are Alright
41. The Who - Live at the Isle of Wight Festival - 1970
42. U2 - Go Home - Live from Slane Castle
43. U2 - Zoo TV - Live from Sydney
44. U2 - Under A Blood Red Sky
45. Yes - Symphonic Live
46. Black Country Communion - Live Over Europe
47. Cheap Trick - Budokan
48. Dream Theater - When Dream and Day Reunite
49. Dream Theater - Santiago, Chile
50. Coldplay - Live 2003
51. Fantomas / Melvins - The Fantomas Melvins Big Band
52. Faith No More - Fat Bastards

Comments

  • gamrrpolgamrrpol Road Warrior
    edited April 2011
    Artist: Alice in Chains
    DVD: Unplugged
    Year: 1996

    Visuals: 4
    Editing: 5
    Audio: 5
    Performance: 4
    Set-list: 5
    Overall: 4.5

    An emotional, haunting performance captured in glorious detail. Alice in Chains had ceased touring 3 years prior and were barely a functioning band due to Layne Staley's severe heroine addiction. Layne's appearance on stage (frail, pale, skinny, shadows under the eyes, long sleeves and gloves covering needle marks?) did nothing to inspire confidence in a quality performance.

    But once the music starts and Layne begins singing a tight, powerful, cohesive band unleashes a memorable performance. Despite needing printed lyrics to help him out, Layne nails (virtually) every phrase of every song utilizing his unrestrained, unique high-pitched wail to great effect. His frequent harmonies with Jerry Cantrell were one of the secret ingredients of their success and they are well-done throughout the 13-song set-list.

    As befitting an unplugged show, the players are seated and surrounded by candles. The relaxed presentation is captured perfectly with soft camera angles and subtle transitions and effects. The sound is outstanding, so much so that I prefer many of these live versions to the studio versions.

    The set-list is near perfect, covering all the songs you'd expect (No Excuses, Rooster, Down in A Hole, Would?), some deeper cuts (Angry Chair, Sludge Factory) as well as some more obscure gems (Brother, and the amazing opener Nutshell). Penultimate closer Over Now is a stand-out and even the previously unheard song Killer is Me hits the mark.

    All this would be more than enough for virtually any DVD but adding the heart-breaking reality of watching a then-barely-sober Layne, and knowing he was headed for further drug abuse and his inevitable ending makes this one of the most powerful live DVDs you can purchase.

    If you're a fan of AIC, the Seattle grunge scene, acoustic music or the "alt" fad of the early 90's, this is a must-have DVD.

    Down in a Hole
  • CubecubedCubecubed Washed Up
    edited April 2011
    You should review Neverender,dude. if you haven't already,that is.
  • gamrrpolgamrrpol Road Warrior
    edited April 2011
    Artist: Coheed & Cambria
    DVD: Neverender
    Year: 2009

    Visuals: 4
    Editing: 4
    Audio: 5
    Performance: 5
    Set-list: 5
    Overall: 4.5

    It's hard to imagine a better-value than this DVD set. Recorded during the band's legendary Neverender-series of concerts, the 2 DVD set includes the first four of the band's releases in their entirety, over 5 hours of music in total.

    The band is absolutely amazing from beginning to end, with Claudio Sanchez being the obvious star and center of attention. It is the fans, however, who steal the show. From the first notes of night one opener Time Consumer to the final echoes of night 4 closer Welcome Home the entire audience seems to joyously sing every note while swaying, jumping, moshing and generally going crazy. The obviously loyalty and deep connection between band and audience is undeniable and gives the entire proceedings a potent shot of adrenaline. The DVD was recorded in NYC's Terminal 5 club and it is the absolute perfect venue for this event.

    The band itself seems to feed off the audience. Claudio is a better guitarist than I had realized and despite his awkwardness when not playing on stage is a stellar front man. The tight musicianship among the sea of insanity that is the audience must be seen to be believed.

    The video and audio are spectacular. While the stage production is relatively low-budget the images and sound seemed to have been captured with stunning clarity. The only negative is a bit of ADD-type fast editing; not horrible but at times I really wish I could just watch Claudio rip off a solo without having to re-adjust to a new angle every 4 seconds.

    In summary, you really couldn't ask for more of a live DVD: four entire albums presented in their entirety (plus some encores), an outstanding performance by the band, a maniacal, thoroughly engrossed audience, top-notch video and audio quality. If you're a fan of C&C, you probably already own this. If you're not, it is the perfect (and very affordable - only $16.49 from Amazon) way to familiarize yourself with this high quality band.

    Welcome Home
  • gamrrpolgamrrpol Road Warrior
    edited April 2011
    Artist: Gorillaz
    DVD: Demon Days Live
    Year: 2006

    Visuals: 5
    Editing: 5
    Audio: 4
    Performance: 4
    Set-List: 3
    Overall: 4

    A great challenge for "virtual band" Gorillaz is how to pull off a live presentation. The giant 3-D animatronic approach was used and while some people seemed to like it I found it horrible. Watching clumsy machine-screens is not my idea of a "live" presentation.

    For their Demon Days release, Damon and the gang came up with a much different and highly effective approach: place the "primary" band members behind screens, creating shadow-silhouettes, and have every range of singer / dancer / instrumentalist perform in front. Sounds kind of goofy in words but in practice it proved a unique and compelling show.

    The sheer number of performers on this disc is overwhelming. In addition to the primary band is a 10+ piece orchestra, a small group of backup singers, a larger children's choir, a adult choir, and numerous special-guest singers and rappers. Amazingly it all comes together and works, with every song at least matching the CD versions in terms of performance (with one exception I'll get to later).

    All is caught in beautiful, high-def glory and presented with excellent, subtle editing and effects. As per most modern live DVDs, the visual presentation is gorgeous and the sound is equally well-done. The Demon Days songs themselves provide the foundation of the show while the high quality front-of-screen performers provide the structure; almost all are excellent. Highlights are numerous including Nenah Cherry's psycho-rap on Kids With Guns, 25 children joyously singing and gyrating on-stage while Bootie Brown raps out Dirty Harry; De la Soul's spot delivery of the Feel Good, Inc. rap, to name a few. Even the night's sole low-light has its charm as during Dare, an obviously completely drunk Shaun Ryder has trouble shouting out his sole contribution "It's Dare"....it's horrible...but also funny as fellow singer Rosie Wilson earnestly sings her part to perfection while Ryder stumbles around the stage, barely able to stand up. Wilson, btw, performs superbly and is gorgeous as well; worth the price of admission alone.

    The only drawback to this DVD is the relative shortness of it. Clocking in at exactly one hour, it pales compared to something like Coheed & Cambria's five hour extravaganza Neverender. The absence of any extras makes it a relatively thin product. It is, however, the best visual document of Gorillaz and a brilliantly captures a superb concert in its entirety.

    Dare
  • CubecubedCubecubed Washed Up
    edited April 2011
    gamrrpol;4359707 said:
    Artist: Coheed & Cambria
    DVD: Neverender
    Year: 2009

    Visuals: 4
    Editing: 4
    Audio: 5
    Performance: 5
    Set-list: 5
    Overall: 4.5

    It's hard to imagine a better-value than this DVD set. Recorded during the band's legendary Neverender-series of concerts, the 2 DVD set includes the first four of the band's releases in their entirety, over 5 hours of music in total.

    The band is absolutely amazing from beginning to end, with Claudio Sanchez being the obvious star and center of attention. It is the fans, however, who steal the show. From the first notes of night one opener Time Consumer to the final echoes of night 4 closer Welcome Home the entire audience seems to joyously sing every note while swaying, jumping, moshing and generally going crazy. The obviously loyalty and deep connection between band and audience is undeniable and gives the entire proceedings a potent shot of adrenaline. The DVD was recorded in NYC's Terminal 5 club and it is the absolute perfect venue for this event.

    The band itself seems to feed off the audience. Carlos is a better guitarist than I had realized and despite his awkwardness when not playing on stage is a stellar front man. The tight musicianship among the sea of insanity that is the audience must be seen to be believed.

    The video and audio are spectacular. While the stage production is relatively low-budget the images and sound seemed to have been captured with stunning clarity. The only negative is a bit of ADD-type fast editing; not horrible but at times I really wish I could just watch Carlos rip off a solo without having to re-adjust to a new angle every 4 seconds.

    In summary, you really couldn't ask for more of a live DVD: four entire albums presented in their entirety (plus some encores), an outstanding performance by the band, a maniacal, thoroughly engrossed audience, top-notch video and audio quality. If you're a fan of C&C, you probably already own this. If you're not, it is the perfect (and very affordable - only $16.49 from Amazon) way to familiarize yourself with this high quality band.

    Welcome Home

    You called Claudio Carlos a couple times,other than that,spot on.
    Also i feel like In Keeping Secrets is better to represent the DVD,but thats just me.
  • gamrrpolgamrrpol Road Warrior
    edited April 2011
    Artist: Deep Purple
    DVD: Live in Concert 72/73
    Year: 1972/1973

    Visuals: 3.5
    Editing: 5
    Audio: 4
    Performance: 4.5 (72) / 3.5 (73)
    Set-list: 4
    Overall: 4

    This is a tremendously interesting and valuable historical document in that it captures the MKII version of Deep Purple (which most fans consider the best) in their "Made in Japan" heyday. If you are a fan of the seminal live album (as I am) then this is a mandatory purchase.

    The bulk of the disc contains a show filmed in Copenhagen. It's just amazing to me to see the SUPERSTAR band Deep Purple playing in what seems to be a high school gymnasium, on a tiny stage, in front of what appears to be an audience made up, primarily, of adolescent children. It's just weird and yet very compelling.

    The set-list is virtually identical to the Made in Japan release except for the baffling omission of Smoke on the Water; not sure if it wasn't played at the show or somehow didn't make the final cut. Regardless, what you get are stunning renditions of some of rock's all-time great stoner-spacey-heavy metal. You get a lot of Jon Lord's spacey noodlings on the keyboard, Ian Paice's manic drumming (a truly underrated skins man) and Ritchie Blackmore's egotistical posturing and mindless showmanship. Ian Gillan is as strong in voice and stage-presence as I imagined when listening to his wails on Live in Japan as a child.

    Seriously, it's like a trip back in time when rock was very pretentious and the musicians aspired to somehow be DIFFERENT even if it meant rubbing your guitar across your butt. Does Space Truckin' last about 10 minutes too long? Yes. Could the endless number of extended solos be shortened? Sure. Does Ritchie Blackmore come across as an absolute idiot? Absolutely. Yet it all somehow works because the songs are great and, despite the absurd showmanship, these guys were astoundingly good musicians.

    It's also interesting to see the interplay between the members, and how it changed from the '72 show and the '73 show. By the time '73 rolls around, the band is about to break-up and you can see the disdain on stage. Blackmore and Ian Gillan barely acknowledge each other or the others and both seem to be just going through the motions. The energy is almost non-existant compared to the Copenhagen show. The fact the audience is made up of a bunch of '70's hippies who can't seem to clap in time just adds to the negative energy. Clearly a band on its last legs.

    Amazingly, the quality of both sound and picture is high for something recorded almost 40 years ago. Oh how I wish modern live music editors would take a cue from some of these aged films and use simple, straight-forward editing where the viewer can actually watch the musician play his instrument.

    A must for any fan of the MKII version of Deep Purple and a compelling historical document for fans of heavy metal or 70's hard rock.

    Highway Star
  • gamrrpolgamrrpol Road Warrior
    edited April 2011
    Artist: Roger Waters
    DVD: In The Flesh
    Year: 2000

    Visuals: 4
    Editing: 5
    Audio: 5
    Performance: 4
    Set-list: 5
    overall: 4.5

    You can basically break Pink Floyd fans into two groups: the Roger Waters devotees and the Pink Floyd devotees. Count me squarely in the Roger Waters contingent. In my opinion, nothing produced without him should even bear the Pink Floyd name.

    Knowing that, you'll know I'm more likely to embrace this DVD than dismiss it. However, if the songs weren't good and their performance high quality I wouldn't care for In The Flesh. In both respects, however, Waters got it right.

    First, the set-list is impeccable. Waters did a number of things I didn't expect:

    1. included rare gems such as Southampton Dock, Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun and Every Stranger's Eyes
    2. Included, in their entirety, both Dogs and Shine on You Crazy Diamond
    3. Included robust performances of concert staples Welcome to the Machine, Wish You Were Here, Time and Money

    Really, the only negative is the inclusion of a handful of lackluster songs from Water's Amused To Death release. Otherwise, every song hits its mark.

    The comprehensive nature and perfect pacing makes the concert as a whole better than the individual parts. While Water's utilizes a complete group (two guitarists, second bassist, keyboardist, drummer, trio of backup singers) the show is short of the usual pyrotechnics associated with a traditional Pink Floyd show. Here, the songs are the focus, not the visual displays.

    This is a direct contrast to Pink Floyd's Pulse, which is visually stunning but lacks any emotional chemistry between the people making the music on-stage with each other or the audience members.

    Not that Water's show is throbbing mass...it's a mature audience happy to sit and hear their favorites along with some other highlights. The visuals are captivating, as good as any I've seen and the sound is, without question, the best-sounding live DVD I've come across.

    This perfectly captures the group of high-quality musicians Water's assembled. Texan Doyle Bramhall and Snowy White combine to fill in David Gilmour's guitar parts. Otherwise, the musicians aren't much different than what you would have gotten at a standard PF show.

    If you're looking for the "Pink Floyd experience" in your live DVD, go with Pulse. If you're looking for the best presentation of Pink Floyd (and Roger Waters) music, In The Flesh is your best bet.

    In The Flesh
  • gamrrpolgamrrpol Road Warrior
    edited April 2011
    Cubecubed;4365055 said:
    You called Claudio Carlos a couple times,other than that,spot on.
    Also i feel like In Keeping Secrets is better to represent the DVD,but thats just me.

    Sorry about the Carlos thing....just typing too fast. And yeah, IKS is an outstanding choice. There's so many on that DVD to choose from.
  • GNFfhqwhgadsGNFfhqwhgads 99% Washed Up
    edited April 2011
  • gamrrpolgamrrpol Road Warrior
    edited April 2011
    Artist: Rush
    DVD: R30
    Year: 2005
    Visuals: 5
    Audio: 5
    Performance: 4.5
    Setlist: 4
    Overall: 5

    I thought it a little odd that Rush would release a second live concert DVD so shortly after Rush in Rio. Upon viewing, however, I understand the decision. In essence they have capture two concerts from complete different end of the spectrum.

    Where Rush in Rio was all emotion and sweat (outdoors, poor sound, crazily enthusiastic crowd) R30 was clinical, controlled and polished. Also, the setlists are substantially different, so it's not a case of plundering the same material.

    R30 is designed to take viewers through the entire Rush history and it does just that. My favorite song is the opening medley, combining instrumental bits from each of the band's first 6 albums (although it is a little depressing that this period of the band's history is captured in less than 8 minutes). The band is spot-on throughout the show, with Lifeson improving dramatically on his sub-par Rush in Rio performance. The visuals are simply jaw-dropping, capturing the spectacular stage-show and giving everything a larger-than-life feel to the show. An outstanding set-list is marred only by the energy-zapping series of covers (I would simply prefer to hear Rush play Rush songs as opposed to someone else's songs).

    The second disc is also entertaining. The best moments are early mpegs of Finding My Way and In the Mood. In both cases the band is playing on a tiny studio stage and doing their best to make themselves look like ROCK STARS. Geddy, in particular, acts much differently than in later years, trying hard to be a frontman. Interviews and late-70's live on stage clips round out a complete package that any Rush fan will revel in.

    My one wish would be slightly more energized crowd. The Germans act is if their at church, rarely making noise and basically invisible throughout. If we could somehow capture the R30 performance and combine it with the Rush in Rio audience we'd have the best concert DVD ever.

    Still....5 stars...one of the best concert DVDs available.

    Der Trommler
  • gamrrpolgamrrpol Road Warrior
    edited April 2011
    Artist: Styx
    DVD: Return To Paradise
    Year: 1996
    Visuals: 4
    Audio: 4
    Performance: 4
    Setlist: 5
    Overall: 4

    Wow...Styx...what a guilty pleasure. I know I shouldn't like them.....grade A cheese and, during the late 70's a complete sell-out. Nevertheless....they have a lot of songs I like. So I bought the DVD and have to admit it's pretty good. Pretty predictable list of hits songs but a few surprises. A very competent performance, with all players contributing. The audience just eats it up and that seems to inspire the band even more.

    The thing that surprised me most about this disc is just how talented these guys are. Both guitarists are better than I gave them credit for. They have three singers who are outstanding (DeYoung), very good (Shaw) and good (JYoung) and harmonize exceptionally well. Their skills shame many the vast majority of today's mainstream rock bands (though, they obviously fail compared to some of the extreme musicianship in many metal bands).

    The one funny thing is watching front-man Dennis De Young. You can see in his performance all the tension and anxiety that existed / exists in the band. He' no rock-n-roller....and looks like he'd be much more comfortable in a Broadway play (where he has spend a lot of his post-Styx career). You can just see the other guys kinda laughing at his feminine stage presence and overall goofiness. But it is also his exceptional voice, bombastic arrangements and over-the-top musical approach that made Styx whatever they are (to me, without him Styx is a pedestrian, uninteresting rock band).

    An honest performance, great songs, enthusiastic audience, solid video production and great sound.....all in all a 4-star DVD. If you're a Styx fan, a must-have. If you're kinda interested, it'd be a good purchase. If you hate all things Styx, why are you reading?

    Come Sail Away
  • gamrrpolgamrrpol Road Warrior
    edited April 2011
    Artist: Queensryche
    DVD: The Art of Live
    Year: 2004
    Visuals: 1
    Audio: 4
    Performance: 4
    Setlist: 3
    Overall: 2

    This DVD has the smell of a band cashing-in. It was obviously made on the cheap, with few camera angles and lousy production values all around. This is compounded by the fact they decided to render everything is this weird, sepia tone that makes it look almost like a film negative.

    Which is too bad b/c there are some good songs here. The closing piece featuring the band with Dream Theater on Comfortably Numb and Won't Get Fooled Again is outstanding. As is the middle acoustic setion featuring My Global Mind and Roads to Madness. Add solid versions of Della Brown, Tribe and Open and you have the potential for a solid DVD. Too bad it's so underdone. For collectors only.

    Roads to Madness
  • gamrrpolgamrrpol Road Warrior
    edited April 2011
    Artist: Queensryche
    DVD: Operation: LiveCrime
    Year: 1991
    Visuals: 5
    Audio: 5
    Performance: 5
    Setlist: 5
    Overall: 5

    While I have not watched this in a long time, it is one of the very first musid DVDs I ever purchased (in fact, I had the VHS version released way back in 1991). My live music DVD collection has grown to over 100....so now that I have a significant library for comparison, I decided to go back and look at it again.

    And boy was I impressed. This brings together eveything good that a live music DVD offers. You have outstanding production both visually and aurally. The band both looks and sounds great. The editing is also first-rate, though it does suffer from quick-edit MTV video stylings. The mixing in of the video images helps flesh out the story. Geoff Tate never sounded as good as here. In fact, for something that's 20 years old the production here is ahead of its time.

    More importantly, this DVD captures QR at the absolute top of their game. Even though OM is what's presented here this was presented during thier EMPIRE tour. So you have outstanding stage presentation, with video screens, lasers and all the usual heavy metal 90's props. But you can also see the band is extremely passionate about what they're doing and also having a hell of a time. You also can't overlook their youth at the time. Most of the QR video library consists of them in their 40's....it's kind of eye- opening to see them when they were young, vibrant and full of energy.

    For those who might wonder about the appeal of QR and why they have lasted 20+ years....this shows what they once were and what heights they once achieved.

    My Empty Room / Eyes of a Stranger
  • gamrrpolgamrrpol Road Warrior
    edited April 2011
    Artist: Queensryche
    DVD: Live Evolution
    Year: 2001
    Visuals: 4
    Audio: 5
    Performance: 4
    Setlist: 4
    Overall: 4

    This is an outstanding DVD that captures the history of Queensryche but is plagued by a significant flaw.

    First the good....extremely high production quality. The visuals are stunning, some of the best of any live DVD I've seen. The sound is also excellent, and especially shines in a 5.1 stereo mix. THe set-list is also very good, mixing the expected (Take Hold of the FLame, Silent Lucidity, Jet City Woman) with hidden gems (NM 156, Screaming in Digital). Heck, even the new songs from HITNF and Q2K work well, especially Hit The Black and The Right Side of My Mind. (My only complaints on the set-list is the absence of several songs from the CD version).

    Taking all that into consideration...I'd be more than willing to give this 5 stars and rank it among the top live DVDs out there. Unfortunately, Kelly Gray is in the damn thing. You remember him don't you? The guy who replaced Chris Degarmo when he left QR after 15 years? Yeah, Kelly Gray, also known as Candlebox's producer. Yeah, he plays guitar as well.

    Too bad he looks like a total dork and isn't much of a guitar player. You know how new guitarists will rely on incessant use of the wah-wah pedal to make up for the lack of skill? Yeah, that's Gray. He is so out of place among an accomplished band banging out Prog-metal classics that I cringe every time he's shown on screen.

    Otherwise this is a great DVD..and if you're a QR it is a must-buy.

    NM 156
  • RodeoRodeo Unsigned
    edited April 2011
    Interesting idea for a thread and very informative so far! Especially since it appears I'm far less perceptive about most aspects you discuss. :)
    I won't necessarily change my opinion (fat chance) but I'll check often...

    I also have Gorillaz' Demon Days. One of my favourite bands, but I only watched it once or twice. With most of their usual presentation absent I felt something was left to be desired, visually.
  • gamrrpolgamrrpol Road Warrior
    edited April 2011
    Rodeo;4379845 said:
    Interesting idea for a thread and very informative so far! Especially since it appears I'm far less perceptive about most aspects you discuss. :)
    I won't necessarily change my opinion (fat chance) but I'll check often...

    I also have Gorillaz' Demon Days. One of my favourite bands, but I only watched it once or twice. With most of their usual presentation absent I felt something was left to be desired, visually.

    Thanks for the comments.

    I'm more of a "band" guy...I enjoy watching a small group of people play music live. If I had to choose between a massive stage show or a bunch of video / animation and a bare stage with four guys playing music I'd choose the latter. Just a matter of taste....
  • gamrrpolgamrrpol Road Warrior
    edited April 2011
    Artist: Dio
    DVD: We Rock
    Year: 1983/1984
    Visuals: 3
    Audio: 3
    Performance: 3
    Setlist: 3
    Overall: 3

    This DVD seems to get a lot of love from many fans but I'm not feeling the vibe. On the positive side, you get a video document of Dio performing at the height of his skills and his band performing their best material. There are songs from two shows taken from the Last in Line tour. The band is in fine form with RJD's voice sounding as good as he ever did and the Vivian Campbell / Jimmy Bain / Vinnie Appice all making their usual stellar contributions.

    The setlist is comprised of all great songs, including Dio classics such as Stand Up and Shout, We Rock and Don't Talk to Strangers. Also included are Black Sabbath gems such as Heaven and Hell, Mob Rules and Children of the Sea.

    On the negative side, both video and audio are okay, even taking into account the fact this was recorded 25+ years ago. The images and sounds just don't seem very crisp. More notably, the band itself seems more like four individuals than a cohesive group. This was a bit of a dirty secret throughout Dio's solo career.....when the others on stage seemed more like side musicians than a tight band. This gives the entire performance a somewhat lackluster quality. Finally, there just isn't enough material here. I saw this tour and Dio played for two hours, yet the total time of these two shows is barely an hour and a half. This would be much more compelling if at least one of the shows had been included in its entirety.

    All in all, if you're a big Dio fan this is a must-have, as it's the only real document from the best era of his solo career. If you're just only modestly interested in Dio, there's not enough here to compel a purchase.

    We Rock
  • gamrrpolgamrrpol Road Warrior
    edited May 2011
    Artist: Led Zeppelin
    DVD: No title
    Year: Various
    Visuals: 5
    Audio: 5
    Performance: 5
    Setlist: 5
    Overall: 5

    Simply, the best live music DVD ever sold. There are three key elements that combined to create this undeniably awesome product:

    1. Performances - while there are some hiccups here and there, for the most part these are stellar performances. Zeppelin, despite their enormous success on vinyl and the airwaves, was a live band. This video captures that better than any of their live record/CD releases.

    2. Jimmy Page's perfect remastering and restoration of both sound and images. Some of the video here was 35+ years old upon release, yet the images are pristine. You will simply not find a better looking....or sounding...live DVD release. This is a remarkable accomplishment since all of the shows occurred between 1970 and 1979

    3. Comprehensive. These two DVD hold virtually all known video of Led Zeppelin. While they were enormously successful, they rarely played in front of cameras. For the band to collect every known video (with exception of official The Song Remains The Same recordings) and package them in one super high-quality release is a gift. I could easily have seen this material released piecemeal, without quality restoration (The Royal Albert Hall 1970; Knebworth 1979; Earls Court 1975), then restored and re-released....so that we ended up with six DVDs and multiple versions of the same material (check out the DVD options for Jimi Hendrix, The Doors and scores of older bands to see what I mean).

    To get a one-time release the gives you pretty much all you're going to get...and have be of the absolute highest quality....Led Zeppelin has set the standard for what a live DVD should be.

    As for the actual material...the 1970 show is great because it was before the band were stars, and they had to go on stage and win over every audience. It is Zep as few people ever saw them and they were very good. You can see the seedlings of their improvisations that would improve and grow over the years. There were more blues and less bombast but it was clear the four of them created something magical from their earliest efforts.

    The Earl's Court show catches them at their heights....after they had become rock gods and before drugs and the R&Roll lifestyle started sapping the quality of their shows. For sheer watching enjoyment, these are the songs I enjoy most (especially the acoustic set and In My Time of Dying).

    The Knebworth show is the "bloated" Zeppelin, and they're clearly not at the top of their game. And yet they're still very good...showing just how strong the songs were and how talented the musicians.

    Bonus material such as a 3-song 1969 set in an Iceland public television studio in front of (maybe) 75 kids sitting on the floor is priceless.

    In total, an absolute must-have for any fan of rock music.

    That's The Way
  • gamrrpolgamrrpol Road Warrior
    edited May 2011
    Artist: Robert Plant and the Strange Sensation
    DVD: Soundstage: Live
    Year: 2006
    Visual: 4
    Audio: 4
    performance: 4
    Setlist: 4
    Overall: 4

    Robert Plant's post-Zeppelin career has ranged far and wide but has rarely wavered in quality and honesty. Still, it was very surprising to me (a huge fan) that his 2005 release Mighty Re-Arranger featured arguably the best music he'd produced since his Zeppelin heyday. Luckily for us, the band featured on Re-Arranger was captured on the Soundstage series performing one of their rare shows.

    Now, Robert Plant is 58 years old at this point and looks a lot like an aging hippie. But when he lets loose with one of his signature wails and holds the note during an energetic rendition of Shine it All Around, it's hard to hear the difference. Seriously, Plant has lost a little, but not as much as you'd expect. And he seems rejuvenated by the unique and interesting band he's surrounded himself with. They play a bewildering array of instruments to create unexpected versions of such Zep classics as No Quarter and Gallow's Pole. The originals from Plants recent work combine prog, folk, world and rock in a mesmerizing whirlwind of sound.

    It all works amazingly well as the band combines older classics with excellent new songs from Plants two recent releases. It's all shot in a studio which results in a somewhat subdued audience, which is probably appropriate. There's nothing particularly special about the visuals or the sound but neither suffer either.

    This isn't epic stuff, and it's unduly short (barely over an hour when his shows went 90+ minutes)...but it is Robert Plant surrounded by an excellent, tight, well-rehearsed band playing vital music. For me, that's enough.

    Shine It All Around
  • gamrrpolgamrrpol Road Warrior
    edited May 2011
    Artist: Iron Maiden
    DVD: Flight 666
    Year: 2008
    Audio: 5
    Visual: 5
    Performance: 4.5
    Set-list: 3.5
    Overall: 4

    As a fan of Iron Maiden from their very first record, but who basically outgrew them by the Somewhere in Time record, I'm an unlikely customer for their Flight 666 release. However, while I stopped buying their new albums in the late 80's, I still enjoyed their old stuff and always liked the band, as I they were honest and true to their roots throughout their career. So the opportunity to see the band playing songs from their mid-80's heyday captured with modern recording technologies made sense.

    And I have to admit....I was very impressed with the band's vitality. This isn't a group of old geezers performing a nostalgia show, like most concerts featuring 80's-era bands. These guys absolutely ROCK throughout the show and the fans are equally energetic. Add the fact Bruce Dickinson hasn't lost anything from his voice (amazing) and the band itself is every bit as skilled as when I saw them in 1982 and you have a great live DVD.

    As with most modern DVDs, the images are jaw-dropping and the 5.1 / PCM mix is solid. This just helps clarify just how good these songs are. Chosen exclusively from their 1980 releases, the entire concert is one IM hit after another. The songs have held up well over time and their performance just clarifies in my mind that what passes for a lot of "hard" music nowadays is very poorly played.

    About the only complaint here is the set-list is almost identical to the Live After Death DVD release from 2008. I would have preferred a run-through of some of their more obscure or overlooked material from the early days (Transylvania, Murder in the Rue Morgue, Killers, Remember Tomorrow, Drifter, Phantom of the Opera, Wrathchild, Genghis Khan, Prodigal Son, Children of the Damned, The Prisoner, Where Eagles Dare, To Tame a Land - just to name a possible set-list off the top of my head). And I can imagine some younger fans would like to hear some of the post-early stuff.

    But that's getting pretty picky. The accompanying documentary on the tour is also very interesting, but not something I would watch more than once or twice. If you're unfamiliar or vaguely familiar with Iron Maiden and don't own any of their other DVDs, I think this is a good one. If you're a mid-level fan, you probably have LADeath, and might not need this. If you're a die-hard, you already own it.

    The Trooper
  • gamrrpolgamrrpol Road Warrior
    edited May 2011
    Artist: Iron Maiden
    DVD: Live After Death
    Year: 1984
    Visuals: 3
    Audio: 4
    Performance: 4.5
    Setlist: 5
    Extras: 5
    Overall: 4.5

    Really the Holy Grail for Iron Maiden fans. This is a 2-disc orgy of classic Iron Maiden performing at the peak of their career. The centerpiece is a complete version of the famous Long Beach, California show recorded during their equally famous World Slavery Tour in 1984.

    I can still vividly recall seeing IM on that tour and rank that concert among the top I've ever seen; it was the best IM show of the six times I saw them. The setlist was top-notch from beginning to end, the band was on fire and the audience was crazy. To now have that show on DVD with surround sound is a true gift to all IM fans.

    The only drawback is the bland visuals. Yes, this was recorded 25+ years ago, but it appears as if no effort was made to restore the visuals (as Jimmy Page did with the Led Zep material). It looks like a straight transfer from an ancient VHS tape. The 5.1 sound mix fares much better but the disc also gives the viewer the choice to hear the original stereo mix, which some prefer (but not me).

    The LAD concert would be enough, but the 2.5 hours of bonus material make this a must-have for any IM fan. "Behind the Curtain" sees the band performing 7 songs on their initial foray into then-Communist lands. There's almost an hour form the band's first Rock in Rio performance in 1985 (expect horrible video-tape based visuals here). Finally, there's a full one hour documentary on the WSTour, a quick 3-song burst from their Texas visit (6 show in 6 cities) and a 20-minute photo gallery.

    All-in-all, very much a worthwhile investment. Only the failure to restore the concert images prevents this from being a 5-star classic.

    2 Minutes to Midnight
  • gamrrpolgamrrpol Road Warrior
    edited May 2011
    Artist: Iron Maiden
    DVD: The History Of Iron Maiden - Pt. 1: The Early Days
    Years: 1980 - 1983
    Visuals: 4
    Audio: 3
    Performance: 4
    Setlist: 5
    Overall: 5

    It might seem illogical to give a DVD 3/4 stars for visuals and audio and a 5 overall rating but the content of this DVD is so rich and rewarding, it's impossible to give this any other rating. There's two discs here, one collects pretty much all live video of the band from their first three album tours and the second contains an exhaustive 90 minute documentary on the band's early days.

    The live footage consists of three shows. By far the best of these is Live at the Rainbox which contains mostly material from their first album and features Paul D'Ianno on vocals. The quality of the images and sound on better than expected. I personally like D'Ianno and think the band lost something when his more "street" approach was replaced by the operatic vocals of Bruce Dickinson (not that it was worse with BD, just that something was lost). This show is just awesome, capturing the band as they were still proving themselves and just beginning to taste success.

    The Beast Over Hammersmith show suffers from worse sound and a fascination with Bruce Dickinson even during instrumental sections. Still, it's the band performing (IMO) the best album they ever produced. Highlights include songs like 22 Acacia Avenue and The Prisoner, which I don't believe have been performed since this tour.

    Less compelling is the Live at Dortmund show with new drummer Nicko McBrain. I'm in the minority, but have always preferred Clive Burr's skin work to Nicko...and this show also suffers from poor sound.

    None of these shows features surround sound or, seemingly, any restoration whatsoever. I personally would like to have seen that effort made but the truth is much of this is "documentary" type material and not necessarily the kind of thing you're going to watch repeatedly (the Rainbow show being the exception).

    Disc two is a treasure trove of material that will interest any IM fan. The documentary seemingly connects with anyone ever associated with the band and gives great insights into their early days. There's also video of the band the day their fist album was released (yes, it's grainy black and white handheld stuff, but still interesting). There's also a documentary produced in 1980 that looked at the budding "headbanging" scene that makes you shake your head. Finally, a couple tv appearances and some low-budget videos.

    Add it all up and it is yet another must-have purchase for any fan of Maiden.

    Phantom of the Opera
  • exploderexploder Road Warrior
    edited May 2011
    Glad to see that Iron Maiden(the best Metal band ever) is still going strong after so many years,and they aren't stopping anytime soon.
  • gamrrpolgamrrpol Road Warrior
    edited May 2011
    Artist: Metallica
    DVD: Live Sh*T - Binge and Purge
    Year: 1989 / 1992
    Visual: 3
    Audio: 3
    Performance: 4.5
    Setlist: 5
    Overall: 3.5

    If you're a Metallica fan, this is a no-doubt, must-have purchase. First, there is an enormous amount of content here; in addition to two concerts capture on DVD, there's also a complete separate show captured on CD. Second, these shows were recorded during the ...And Justice For All and Black Album tours, meaning the songs come from their five best albums and before the band abandoned their thrash beginnings.

    The shows captured on DVD include an AJFA show from 1989, which is a mammoth show that contains most of the band's bet songs. Blackened, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Master of Puppets, Sanitarium, Four Horseman, Fade to Black, Seek and Destroy, Battery and of course the AJFA title masterpiece as well as One.

    The band itself is pretty much at the top its game. Hetfield has the audience willingly in his hands, Lars attacks his drums, Hammett does his thing and Jason Newsted is a bass-guitar playing beast. So why the relatively low scores? First, the sound is borderline atrocious. For a DVD recorded during late 80's / early 90's, the sound should just be better. It's muddy throughout, and difficult to hear the individual instruments. Worse, the DVD suffers from fast-edit / overly produced syndrome. Not only do you rarely get a shot lasting more than 3 seconds, whenever things slow down, the editor insists on some kind of visual effect. You can watch the entire show and never really get a sense of what's going on.

    The Black album show has equally bad sound and slightly better visuals. However, the set-list pales compared to the '89 show because many of the early-album classics are replaced by the mid-tempo songs from the Black album. I just like thrash Metallica much better than rock band Metallica and find songs like Unforgiven, Sad but True, Wherever I May Roam and Nothing Else Matters to be boring.

    If you're a Metallica fan, you really must have this as it's a comprehensive live document of the bands first decade. If you're a casual fan it's probably a bit much, as there's 8 hours worth of material and the S&M show is probably a better DVD product.

    Master of Puppets
  • gamrrpolgamrrpol Road Warrior
    edited May 2011
    Artist: Blue Oyster Cult
    DVD: Some Enchanted Evening
    Year: 1978
    Visual: 2
    Audio: 2.5
    Performance: 4
    Setlist: 3
    Overall 3.5

    This gets an inflated overall rating because of one simple fact: outside of SEE, there does not exist any video evidence whatsoever of BOC during their 70's heyday. This is sourced from a show captured on videotape and both the sound and visuals suffer horribly; it is barely above bootleg quality.

    At times, all you see on screen is darkness as the equipment simply couldn't capture the lighting used at the time. This makes watching the show somewhat of a challenge. The sound also suffers, although, after listening for a few minutes you'll adjust and make out the different instruments. It's not ideal, but not as bad as it seems at first.

    Further hurting this DVD is the bewildering exclusion of two the band's biggest hits, Godzilla and Don't Fear the Reaper. Have no idea why they were left off, as they are both present on the accompanying CD.

    Really, the only thing salvaging SEE is the show itself. The band is great and show off both their substantial chops and their talented song-writing skills. Guitarist Buck Dharma is the obvious star, but singer / guitarist Eric Bloom also shines. The remaining members all contribute and, together, it's clear why BOC was such a successful band during their time.

    If you're a BOC fan AND you can tolerate sub-standard visual and audio quality, go ahead and check this out. Otherwise, it's probably not for you.

    5 Guitars
  • gamrrpolgamrrpol Road Warrior
    edited May 2011
    Artist: Porcupine Tree
    DVD: Arriving Somewhere
    Year: 2006
    Visuals: 1
    Audio: 5
    Editing: 0
    Performance: 5
    Setlist: 4
    Overall: 3

    I'm not real sure who Lasse Hoile is, but I hate him (assuming, of course, "Lasse" is a he). Why, you ask, do I possess such venom for someone I know almost nothing of? Because, he edited Porcupine Tree's 2006 DVD Arriving Somewhere.

    This DVD has it all.....one of the best progressive bands of the 21 century, captured during their Deadwing tour playing some of their heaviest music. A fascinating setlist that found the band at the absolute peak performance with every member hitting on all cylinders. The sound a stunning 5.1 / DTS document that showcases the phenomenal talents of this high-powered band.

    All of it rendered unwatchable by the ADD-addled workings of the Lasse person. While not submitting to the ultra-quick edits of some DVDs, Arriving Somewhere instead fails under the weight of numerous, mis-guided video effects that leave viewers wondering whether Lasse's prescription ran out during the editing.

    You know how when old movie film overheats the whole screen kinds goes white? Yeah, expect to see that effect used about a dozen times. Enjoying a shot of Steven Wilson working through a technically challenging solo? Don't get used to it, we'll soon see a black-and-white shot of some old guy in the audience. Think blurry, out-of-focus camera shots make for better viewing? This video is for you.

    Seriously, these editors just need to stop it. This guy basically employs every single stupid "effect" available with no thought behind it. I can understand if a song sets a certain mood and you want to reflect that mood with editing....but the effects are applied randomly without any pattern or cohesion.

    This wouldn't be such a travesty if it weren't for the fact the band is absolutely great throughout. Steve Wilson combines amazing song-craft with some major guitar chops. Gavis Harrison is an absolute clinician on the drums and a major talent. The remaining members all match Wilson and Harrison's lead. Are they immobile and pretty boring on stage? Yes. But guess what Lasse? Most of us are happy enough to watch talented musicians play great songs....we don't need your fancy editing tricks to "entertain" us.

    I'm going to start keeping track of the DVDs ruined by the editing. This one goes to the top, followed by Queen of the Stone Age's Over The Years and Through the Woods.

    If you're a Porcupine Tree fan, this is a must-have, even with the mindless editing. If you're not, get it just for the music as the music is that good.

    Arriving Somewhere But Not Here
  • gamrrpolgamrrpol Road Warrior
    edited May 2011
    Artist: Judas Priest
    DVD: British Steel - 30th Anniversary Edition
    Year: 2009
    Visuals: 5
    Audio: 3
    Performance: 3.5
    Setlist: 3.5
    Overall: 3.5

    First, it's really hard for me to swallow that it's been 30 years since British Steel was released; makes me feel very old. Second, don't understand the love for British Steel as I consider it the point where JP turned from a unique, inventive, proggy metal band to a straight metal band - they still produced some good music but nothing that hadn't been done before (Painkiller the one exception). Third, this being 2009, the guys are old.

    Considering all this the expectations here are not real high...and in some respects the band lives down to those expectations, and in some they surpass them.

    The good: the band still has it as far as chops. Glenn Tipton, in particular, seems like he can play every solo and power chord as well as ever. KK Downing is also very good, but I always thought him the lesser of the two guitarists. Combined, however, they're as potent as ever and provide the bulk of the power and charisma on this disc.

    I'm a huge Rob Halford fan so I was very interested to hear how he sounded...and I'd say good but not great. He obviously struggles or completely omits some of his higher-pitched wails....but it's not like he's a shell of his former self. His stage presence, however, is somewhat alarming. He's hunched over throughout the show, and seems to be perpetually squinting making him seem even older than the other band members.

    Still...this is JP and for the most part they're pounding out (mostly) great tunes. There are a few BSteel songs I could do without (I'm looking at you United) but BS holds up pretty well. The remainder of the setlist is full of classics (Victim of Changes, The Ripper, Diamonds and Rust), well-known hits (You've Got Another Thing Coming, Freewheel Burning) and a marvelous version of the title song from their most recent album The Prophecy. Frankly, these songs form a much better group than the BS songs.

    As with most modern day DVDs, the visuals are crystal clear and stunning. Happily, the editors chose to let the band's performance speak for itself and doesn't resort to fast edits and fancy special effects. The sound is not great, however. Part of this is Halford's, uh, mature voice and part of it is the mix which is muddy in portions and lacks the pop of many modern DVDs; the bass and drums are buried and difficult to hear.

    Overall...it's exactly what it purports to be....legendary Judas Priests ripping through a retrospective setlist. Older and less vital than 20 or 30 years ago, but still able to rock. If you're a JP fan it's a worthwhile buy, if not, there are better options.

    The Prophecy
  • gamrrpolgamrrpol Road Warrior
    edited May 2011
    Artist: Voivod
    DVD: Tatsumaki
    Year: 2009
    Visuals: 4
    Audio: 3
    Performance: 4.5
    Setlist: 5
    Overall: 4

    Most people have never heard of Voidvod. If you have, then you're probably a fan. And if you're a fan, you're probably a big fan. There's really no in-between with Voivod, you either love them, hate them or are unaware of them.

    If you are a fan, then you simply must get Tatsumaki, as there is no other video of the band. If you're not a fan, this DVD is unlikely to convert you.

    Knowing the history of the band would help, as they've been around 25+ years, almost hit it big in the early 90's, staked out a comfortable underground status, then endured some years of rotating members, the sad death of guiding force "Piggy" Denis D'Amour and finally, the wholly unexpected resurrection of the band. An understanding of what the band has gone through simply to get to the point where this DVD was recorded gives the event an additional emotional whallop.

    For the unfamiliar, Voivoid play intense, fast, challenging songs; this is not for the faint of heart. They were the first band (to my knowledge) to be called "cyber-punk, in the late 80's. Remarkably, this show perfectly captures the quintessential elements of the band: one-of-a-kind, do-it-yourself, frenetic, instrumentally challenging music unlike anything else you've ever heard.

    The show features three of the four founding members, with guitarist supreme Daniel Mongrain filling in for the late D'Amour. All of the band perform amazingly well; they absolute tear the place up. Mongrain, in particular, deserves kudos for perfectly nailing the extremely difficult D'Amour guitar parts. He also possesses the largest head of hair I've ever seen, which gives him an almost cartoonish look. I do find singer Denis' Belanger's voice more gravelly than I remember from the studio versions and, at times, indecipherable. Bassist Jean-Yves Th
  • gamrrpolgamrrpol Road Warrior
    edited May 2011
    Artist: Smashing Pumpkins
    DVD: If All Goes Wrong
    Year: 2008
    Visuals: 5
    Audio: 5
    Performance: 4.5
    Setlist: 4
    Overall: 4.5

    First, I'm not a huge Pumpkins fan. I can remember when they first came out and thinking "If they ever get a singer they could be a really good band". Unfortunately, Billy Corgan has never viewed his singing as something that needed fixing. Keep that in mind, as I'm not able to put this release in context of the band's overall catalog, as I'm just not that familiar with all of the band's material. This makes, for instance, my judgement of the setlist as kinda suspect, as I could never create my own ideal Pumpkins setlist.

    Having said that, this DVD was a major eye-opener for me. From beginning to end, the show captured here is a tour-de-force of outstanding song-writing and excellent musicianship. Additionally, Corgan knows exactly how to pace a show, lifting the audience up and then bringing them back down, providing an exhilarating roller-coaster ride through the set's 14 songs. And while his singing still leaves much to be desired, his delivery is honest and nuanced; while not up to the same high quality as the song-writing and instrumental prowess, his vocals aren't terrible.

    The setlist pulls mainly from later and more obscure material; this is definitely not a collection of the Pumpkin's greatest hits. Nevertheless, the songs are fabulous throughout; not a stinker in the bunch. There are hard rockers that would charm the heaviest of head bangers (Superchrist, Lucky), tender singer-songwriter acoustic numbers (The Rose March, Peace and Love, The Crying Tree of Mercury), instrumental workouts (Heavy Metal Machine), straight-ahead pop-tinged songs (99 Floors, Death From Above). All these are are performed superbly and demonstrate Corgan's exceedingly polished song-writing skills. As long as he's able to craft such a wide array of solid pieces he'll be a relevant musician.

    The unquestioned centerpiece of the set, however, is the 33-minute Gossamer. The piece combines all of Corgan's musical influences into a single epic. The entire band is challenged at various points, going from proggy opening to spacey ambience to churning rocker to crazy instrumental workout to brief (and compelling) drum solo to an extended, spell-binding and ultimately draining climax.

    I give Corgan major props for not doing the expected but instead challenging his audience with not only a half-hour song but an entire set that probably was not what they expected, or wanted, but satisfied, nonetheless. The entire show is captured beautifully and is gorgeous throughout with outstanding editing that makes viewers feel as if they're sitting in the audience.

    The show captured here makes up the bulk of one DVD; it also includes a handful of rehearsal songs (three are repeats from the main set). The second disc includes a documentary that helped me understand where Corgan is coming from and what motivates him; interesting but nothing I'd watch again.

    Overall, I'd highly recommend this to anyone who is a fan of the Pumpkins, progressive hard rock or who simply enjoys good musicianship.

    Gossamer - pt.1
  • gamrrpolgamrrpol Road Warrior
    edited May 2011
    Artist: Tori Amos
    DVD: Live at Montreaux '91 / '92
    Year: 1991 / 1992
    Visuals: 3.5
    Audio: 4
    Setlist: 5
    Performance: 3
    Overall: 3.5

    If you're a Tori Amos fan, this is a fantastic historical document. It captures two shows at the Montreaux jazz festival at the beginning of her career. The two shows, despite having virtually the same setlists, are two entirely different performances.

    The first shows a virtual unknown, alone on a stage with her piano, passionately baring her soul to an audience that no doubt had no idea what to make of the fiery redhead singing openly of the most intimate details of her life. Tori is more-than-slightly awkward and clearly not accustomed to playing to large audiences.

    The second, while also featuring Tori alone with her piano, features a completely different performer. This Tori is confident and poised and practically DEMANDS attention (at one point actually scolding the talkative sorts in the audience). She's also more willing to let herself go, experimenting more with her delivery and employing more daring vocals.

    I prefer the first show, as it's more innocent and tender, which better fits her delicate songcraft and piano-focused music. It reminds more of when I saw her at tiny clubs in Baltimore's Fell Points district. And that's probably my biggest issue with this DVD. Tori Amos and a piano simply comes across better in small intimate settings than in large theater / arena settings. She's able to communicate much more directly with the audience and the audience with her and that element is almost completely missing from these sets.

    The one thing that could have improved this would have been the presence of a backing band. The band has always been little more than ambient back-up to Amos' music but, IMO, it's crucial. Songs such as Precious Things would have been more powerful with a full band. Finally, songs after song of simply voice and piano can become a bit monotonous and a band would have helped to add some much-needed variety.

    Nevertheless, you get Tori delivering some of her best songs in an interesting setting. It's compelling viewing and, if you're a fan, something you'll definitely want to check out. If you're not a fan or not familiar with her, it's equally interesting. The setlist is the best element here as it focuses almost exclusively on her first release Little Earthquakes. I consider LE to easily be her best work and having a video document of these songs performed openly, honestly and passionately is great.

    Precious Things
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