Saturday, December 14, 2013

Live at the Apollo (2011)

Live at the ApolloWithout rehashing the astute comments of other reviewers, here's what your 20 plus bucks will get you: One of the absolute best (in every way) concerts ever captured on film, bar none! From the material selected (Ferry said that he had a "short list of 50 songs" from which this final list emerged) to the stage set; from the DTS/Dolby surround mix to the camera work; from the audience/band rapport to the incredible musicianship, this has it all.

As good as Roxy Music's studio recordings are, they could never match the live performance, and this DVD is proof positive (compare, for example, the original version of 'Mother of Pearl' to this one). I caught Bryan Ferry in concert about 10 years ago (with Phil Manzanera, Andy Mackay and drummer Andy Newmark), and as good as it was, this concert was better. With four of the original members (including drummer Paul Thompson) augmented by equally talented support musicians Colin Good (piano), Zev Katz (bass), Lucy Wilkins (violin, keyboards and synth) and Julia Thornton (percussion, keyboards and vibraphone), the result is nearly magical. Flawless musicianship, exhuberant stage dynamics and thrilling versions of great songs make this an almost life-affirming experience. (Good, Katz and Thornton were part of the small orchestral backing group Ferry used in his 'Bryan Ferry in Concert-Live in Paris' release of 2000)

While some may quibble about the song selections (I would like to have seen 'Angel Eyes' included), to see and hear musicians of this calibre whenever the mood strikes (which for me is daily) is something special. It is impossible to recommend this DVD too highly.

Thomas Wolfe and his famous You Can't Go Home Again spring to mind when you think of bands trying to relive their glory years. Roxy Music and this video are an exception. I went to go see them during this tour with a bit of hesitation. While I love the band, the last tour I saw them on for Avalon was not the best; it looked like they were sleep walking through the performances. The video of that performance was pretty bad as well; the quality and the direction were just not up to snuff.

This time they get it right. While Eno's stage presence is missed (he was never much of a musician compared to the others in the band), the musicians fleshing out the original remaining quartet (the amazing Paul Thompson is back on drums in addition to Andy MacKay on sax, Phil Manzanera on guitar and, of course, Bryan Ferry on occasional keyboards, harmonica and lead vocals)do a great job of helping to recreate the band's studio and concert sound. I only saw Roxy one time with Eddie Jobson and can attest that, yes, they were amazing. On the other hand, this line up more than makes up for his absence. Lucy Wilkins manages to recreate Jobson's key moments on electric violin but she also adds touches of her own on Dance Away (not always my fav Roxy song nor the band's as its no challenge to peform in concert).

Unlike the recent CD release (which is also very good), this is all taken from one venue not pieced together from various performances around the world. The result is that the show has more continuity in the performance than the piece meal approach.

The song selection is fairly strong with the focus on the band's singles and strongest album tracks. Sure there are audience favs missing (and some of the song list was drawn from a survey that Phil Manzanera had on his website) but, on the whole, the song selection is very, very good.

Buy Live at the Apollo (2011) Now

I knew and liked a few of their songs, so rather than pick one album "out of the blue," I bought this DVD when I came across it. I've always found it easier to get into a band by seeing a concert (whether live or recorded), and that was definitely the case here.

I hate to sound like I'm shilling for them, but after watching this DVD thirty times (or more), I went out and bought all of their albums, based on the strength of the performaces here. And though I love the albums, with several songs I still prefer the more energized live performances here to the original studio recordings -that's how strong it is.

Technically, the direction's smooth and understated (no tenth-of-a-second MTV quick-cut crap here), the video is saturated and near-perfect in recording quality, and the audio is just gorgeous -a great, professional-quality live recording that sounds neither weak or overproduced.

Anyhow, if you're of a similar mind -you know a few of their songs, and/or you like elegant pop/rock music that pushes the envelope a bit without being pretentious, and/or you're a fan of live music in general -I'd definitely recommend that you put this DVD on your short list.


Read Best Reviews of Live at the Apollo (2011) Here

and go get this DVD. The sound, the editing, the song list is all top notch. Bryan Ferry and the gang bring it all home with this masterful release. This is what all DVD concerts should strive to achieve. Perfect harmony. There's no cheesey special effects, no cheap cliche's, just honest music, sound, lighting, and of course songwriting, packaged together for fans of the band. This is what you expect when you plunk down your hard earned dollars for a DVD concert.

Want Live at the Apollo (2011) Discount?

This band wrote the book on style and originality, and they gave it to us mixing musical mayhem with finesse and soul. And never once took themselves too seriously doing it.

And now, 30 years later, out of the blue these geezers pop up on a stage and put on a show that puts any contemporary pretender to shame.

30 years later and they are still ahead of their time.

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