Archive for the ‘Prog DVD’ Category

Queensrÿche - Mindcrime At The Moore

Queensrÿche - Mindcrime At The Moore

Mindcrime At The Moore is a live release by the progressive metal band Queensrÿche, recorded in the Moore Theatre in Seattle and originally released in 2007. It has been released on CD, DVD and Blu-Ray.

In terms of set list, the band performs the entire of their classic 1988 album Operation: Mindcrime and then its heavier 2006 sequel, back to back and in their original running-orders. There is also a two-song encore of ‘Walk In The Shadows’ and ‘Jet City Woman,’ from Rage For Order and Empire respectively, resulting in a total of 44 songs, lasting two hours and twenty nine minutes.

The performance as you may imagine is big and theatric, with lots of additional personnel on stage acting around the band. There are set pieces, props, costume changes for singer Geoff Tate and guest vocalist Pamela Moore, video screens and elaborate lighting, all helping to drive the narrative of the story that is told in the two concept albums.

The camera work, picture quality, direction and editing of the actual live performance is absolutely top-notch and when the screen is showing the band actually playing live this is a truly fine looking concert recording.

There is a lot of additional film footage and text that comes up on the screen augmenting the concert footage however, and because the theatrical performance was played out in front of aforementioned video screens much of the content from them is often shown superimposed over the live performance, or sometimes shown instead of the concert footage all together. For most people this will help you get into it even more but if you usually don’t like it when concert DVDs do this sort of thing then you may really hate this particular release, as the phenomenon is much, much more prominent here than usual.

Another potential problem is that during the first few tracks the audio seems to be ever so slightly out of synch with the visuals, however this is rectified by the time the title track of the first album is over. These two issues aside, the main feature is very good, especially once Geoff’s voice has warmed up and he can really lay into the material and get closer to the original performance.

In addition to the main feature, there is a brief twenty three minute tour documentary and a two minute feature about a charity motorcycle ride called ‘Rock and Ride’. The most interesting bonus feature however is an alternative version of ‘The Chase’ where Ronnie James Dio joins the band live, as opposed to in a pre-recorded video like in the main concert.

Overall, if you have issues with screen time being taken up by non-concert footage or are massively put-off by synching issues then it may not be the right release for you, but otherwise this is a very entertaining and interesting release that is definitely worth checking out.

Caravan – Classic Rock Legends: Caravan Review

Posted: October 4, 2011 by kingcrimsonprog in Music Reviews, Prog, Prog DVD

Caravan - Classic Rock Legends: Caravan

Caravan - Classic Rock Legends: Caravan

Caravan are one of the big names associated with the Canterbury Scene branch of the Progressive Rock genre. This Classic Rock Legends DVD sees the band reforming to play a selection tracks mostly drawn from their much loved early albums.

It was recorded on December 4th 2010 in a cramped 7×14 meter television studio in London, for an intimate feeling but televised gig in front of a small group of very lucky fans.

I was a little skeptical of how good this might be considering that it was recorded for terrestrial British Television and didn’t have my hopes up in terms of the audio visual side o things. Luckily this skepticism proved unnecessary.

The first thing that will hit you is the surprisingly high picture quality, this is a very good looking DVD. Additionally there is a lot of (restrained and tasteful) camera movement and all musicians are covered well from more than one angle, leaving an impression of professionalism and quality.

The line-up features Pye Hastings on guitars and vocals, as well as Geoff Richardson on viola (and just about everything else too, including Gardening Shears) Jim Leverton on bass, Jan Schelhas on Keyboards and the excellent new drummer Mark Walker, with original drummer Richard Coughlan back on stage for some additional percussion.

The band really deliver in terms of performance and put in a good show all around, tracks like ‘The Unauthorised Breakfast Item,’ are bursting with energy, Pye’s voice is on top form and each musician goes at their instruments like a band half their age.

Highlights include a funky rendition of ‘Memory Lane, Hugh,’ from 1973’s For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night album and brilliant versions of ‘Golf Girl,’ and the rousing twenty minute epic ‘Nine Feet Under Ground,’ from 1971’s In The Land Of Grey And Pink.

With great sound, great picture and especially a great performance; this DVD is an absolute must have for existing Caravan fans and would make a fine introduction for prospective fans too. So if you are a fan of prog with big keyboard solos, occasional violin and flute centric moments along with lots of atmosphere and attitude then Caravan are certainly a proposition that you should check out.

Jethro Tull – Nothing Is Easy DVD Review

Posted: July 25, 2011 by kingcrimsonprog in Music Reviews, Prog, Prog DVD

Jethro Tull - Nothing Is Easy DVD

Jethro Tull - Nothing Is Easy DVD

Jethro Tull’s Nothing Is Easy DVD showcases the band performing live at the 1970 Isle Of Wight Festival, (The same show Jimi Hendrix’s Blue Wild Angel DVD is taken from) just before the release of their seminal fourth album Aqualung.

Unfortunately, the DVD is not a straight up concert DVD like the band’s excellent Live at Madison Square Garden 1978 DVD or the Jack In The Green: Live in Germany 1970–1993 DVD; both of which I would recommend more highly than this particular DVD unless you are not a fan of the band’s later work.

Instead, the film is presented in nineteen chapters of assorted type, such as documentary footage from the time or a mimed performance of ‘A Song For Jeffrey,’ taken from the Rolling Stones ‘Rock N Roll Circus,’ movie (you know, the one with Tony Iommi from Black Sabbath on guitar) mixed in with live footage from the festival. If the idea of the live show being incomplete and interrupted by other footage upsets you then you probably should give this a miss.

If you’re happy enough to take the set as it is even in this format, you’ll find the show very enjoyable. The band play ‘My Sunday Feeling,’ ‘My God,’ ‘Dharma For One,’ and ‘Nothing Is Easy,’ with the Anderson/Barre/Bunker/Evans/Cornick line up in a fairly good looking and sounding recording. The songs are mostly extended with additional flute or guitar solos and Dharma’ even contains a pretty lengthy drum solo. If it needed to be said, the band play very well and it is a good energetic performance of their early material.

This show is also available, sold separately, as a CD and should you get then that you’ll find that there are extra tracks in the form of “With You There to Help Me,” “To Cry You a Song,” and “Bourée” along with a complete version of the “We Used to Know / For a Thousand Mothers,” medley which is incomplete on the DVD. The reason for this being the expense and limitations of filming at the time leading to this material being literally unavailable for inclusion on the DVD.

Overall, there are better Jethro Tull DVDs on the market and even another version of this show, but for what it is Nothing Is Easy is a decent enough DVD, if you can get over the fact that the complete uninterrupted concert is not featured. If you want the visuals from the 1970 IOW Tull performance this is the best you’re going to get. If you just want a Tull DVD you might want to look elsewhere first.

Coheed And Cambria - Neverender DVD

Coheed And Cambria - Neverender DVD

Coheed And Cambria’s Neverender DVD was filmed in New York back in 2008 and released in 2009 and contains all of the band’s first four albums played live, in their entirety from beginning to end.

The first thing that needs pointing out is that as an actual DVD, this is incredible. I own over one hundred live concert DVDs from a variety of different genres and time periods and even now a few years on from its release, I still think that Neverender has some of the best visuals, camera work and editing any band ever had on a live DVD.

This is added to the band’s great stage design, with screens and backdrops, excellent lighting and just a general visible air of effort all around.

For the most part (and especially on Second Stage Turbine Blade concert) the performance of the band is utterly incredible, improving on the studio version with added power and confidence. Claudio’s vocals are much better than on their The Last Supper DVD and drummer Chris Pennie does a great job all around, really giving the songs depth and attitude, and he even gets an excellent drum solo at one point.

For the two later albums, the band get out guest female vocalists to cover for the amount of intertwining simultaneous overlaid vocals that appear on the studio albums, which is largely fine although they obviously don’t sound exactly like how Claudio sang them on the album. All throughout there is an additional keyboard player on stage to replicate the string sections and other extras in the songs.

The DVD and the performances therein are exceptional. There are very few critisms to be made at all. The final album, No World For Tomorrow loose a little something live, in that the studio counterpart was much heavier than the band play it here and Claudio sometimes struggles with some of the more complex vocal parts. The album also gains something however, as it was the band’s most overproduced studio album and tracks like ‘Mother Superior,’ and ‘On The Brink,’ sound incredible in their stripped down live forms, which I feel balances it out.

If you like Coheed And Cambria you’d be mad not to buy Neverender, the quality is astounding and there is a hell of a lot of it to enjoy.

Yes – YeSymphonic Live DVD Review

Posted: July 2, 2011 by kingcrimsonprog in Music Reviews, Prog, Prog DVD

Yes - YeSymphonic Live DVD

Yes - YeSymphonic Live DVD

Yes have about 19 different concerts available on the market, from all different eras, with countless different line-ups and of differing quality. Yes Symphonic Live has the unique selling point of being performed live in conjunction with a Symphony Orchestra.

The sound and visuals are top notch (apart from some cheesy, but thankfully short animations) and there are no major complaints to be made about the camera work or editing. The sound is equally impressive, balancing your need to hear the band’s performance with your desire to hear the Orchestra’s addition well.

The actual performance is strong too, this concert stands on its own merits and is not worthwhile only because of the Orchestra’s involvement. Howe, White, Squire and Anderson are on rare form and deliver classic material like “And You And I” and “Long Distance Runaround” with passion and precision.

The tracklisting too, is perfect for this type of event. The material concentrates on Yes’s grander and more symphonic works, the band manage to play three of their longest compositions “Close to the Edge,” “The Gates of Delirium,” and “Ritual” all in the same concert three hour concert. The track listing comprises primarily of material from the band’s classic Wakeman/Howe/Anderson period (from ‘The Yes Album,’ until ‘Going For The One’) although there are one or two songs from their post millennial, orchestral album ‘Magnification,’ in addition to the 1980s smash hit “Owner Of A Lonely Heart,” which is the sole Trevor Rabin composition in the set.

Despite the heavy leanings on Wakeman era material, Rick himself is absent from the band during this recording and the keyboards are handled by the talented Tom Brislin, who makes a more than capable replacement.

Many other bands release Orchestral concerts (Kansas, ELP, Ian Anderson, Deep Purple, Kiss, Metallica and Serj Tankian, to name a few) and they usually deliver something interesting, providing a new spin to the music and inspiring the original musician’s to give it their all. This is no exception and could even be described as one of the best examples of this sort of collaboration. After all, their albums ‘Time And A Word’ and ‘Magnification’ have given Yes Orchestra experience before and their music is so frequently described ad grand or symphonic on its own merits.

Overall, I highly recommend this DVD; Yes put in a brilliant performance, it looks and sounds good, they play The Gates Of Delirium and the Orchestra adds considerably to the experience. What more could you ask for ?

Van Der Graaf Generator - Live at the Paridso 2007

Van Der Graaf Generator - Live at the Paridso 2007

Van Der Graaf Generator’s live at the Paridso 2007 is certainly worth getting if you’re a big VDGG fan, because there are a shortage of VDGG DVDs about, most of which are the same ‘Godbluff live,’ concert in a new box with a new title.
As a modern DVD from prog legends VDGG it will certainly hold interest to see how material from ‘Pawn Hearts,’ and ‘Godbluff,’ will sound without the trademark saxophone (as discussed in the brief but very enjoyable extra, an interview with Peter Hammill)
The band’s performance is certainly worth 5 stars, with powerful and delicate material played with finesse and abandon, the band really belt out some of the louder moments hammering drums and bellowing vocals like it was still the mid seventies, making for a very interesting watch.
The DVD as a DVD though, isn’t up to the standard of many other prog and classic rock DVDs available, coming only in 4:3 and with only a stereo option available, and the camera work while basic and honest is sometimes a little unprofessional and it seems like the camera at the back of the audience keeps being bumped into, although this is a very petty complaint, but worth mentioning. You do get a lot of shots of musicians playing their instruments which is a huge concern as it is always annoying watching a concert DVD and spending most of your time watching the band’s faces, the audience and the lighting and never seeing a guitar string or foot pedal.
The sound isn’t bad, but again it is not exactly superb considering what other concert DVDs can sound like, and the mix somewhat underplays Peter Hammill’s vocals which can be distracting with a band like VDGG who place such importance on lyrics and vocal intonation.
Finally there is the track listing, which is very good. While some people may complain that there is no ‘Refugees,’ no ‘Darkness 11/11,’ and definatly no ‘A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers,’ and I would personally have been very happy to see ‘Arrow,’ and ‘Still Life,’ but the choice of songs on offer was very clever, the band seemed to chose songs that suited the trio line up well as well as adding some new material to freshen things up.
The Tracklisting is:
1. Lemmings
2. Place To Survive
3. Lifetime
4. In the Black Room
5. Every Bloody Emperor
6. All That Before
7. Gog
8. Meurglys iii the Songwriter’s Guild
9. Sleepwalkers
10. Man-Erg
11. Scorched Earth
Overall this is a pretty decent DVD of a very good concert and you could probably add one star on if you’re a big Van Der Graaf Generator fan. It may not be a great place to start off with if you’re just getting into the band but its worth taking a look at if you’re already a fan and definatly if you’re sick of buying that Godbluff concert over and over.

***

Kansas - There's Know Place Like Home

Kansas - There's Know Place Like Home

I was expecting great things when I first bought `There’s Know Place Like Home,’ but the sheer quality of this DVD came as quite a surprise to me. The picture is amazing; simply brilliant with a really spectacular job in both editing and camera work which makes the DVD just so enjoyable to watch.
The sound is unbelievable; one of the best concert recordings I’ve come across, the concert boasts one of the greatest live drum sounds ever captured, with a huge `feel the air particles moving,’ kick drum sound, a clear sharp snare sound and perfectly mixed cymbals. I have a few DVDs where rock bands play with an orchestra and I honestly believe this concert implemented the idea the best, working to augment the material instead of dominating it.
The stage looks fantastic and the lighting is really impressive, giving the whole show a really epic atmosphere, appropriate during material like the `Howling at the Moon,’ section of `Magnum Opus,’ or the very grand `Miracles Out of Nowhere.’
Then on top of all that, the tracklisting is excellent, paying particular focus to the classic era; all the fan favourites are here from radio legends `Point of Know Return,’ `Dust In The Wind,’ and `Carry On Wayward Son,’ to prog masterpieces like `Song For America,’ `Cheyenne Anthem,’ and `Icarus: Borne on Wings Of Steel.’
The bands performance throughout is amazing, from the incredibly intricate drumming on the proggier numbers, to the soulful singing on the ballads Steve Walsh’s vocal performance on `The Wall,’ is pretty breathtaking and all that before even considering the violin work. Take that into account then remember there’s a top notch symphony orchestra and guest performances from Kansas veterans Kerry Livgren and Steve Morse and you can just imagine what a spectacle this 35th Anniversary gig really was.
The Bonus Track, an extended version of the classic `Down The Road,’ recorded in the soundcheck is particularly energetic and impressive.
If you enjoy concert DVDs or are a Kansas fan then you can’t afford to be without `There’s Know Place Like Home,’ in terms of performance, picture and sound this is simply one of the best DVDs out there.

*****