An excellent performance that exemplify why we love the Man called E (Mark Oliver Everett)!
The 2006 Eels with Strings - Live at Town Hall DVD offers glimpses into the musical genius that is E. His stage presence and sardonic delivery only enhanced the dark whimsy of many of his pensive compositions. If you love Eels, you will love this DVD. The production and sound quality is excellent, you feel like you are right there on stage with the musicians.
The music is not studio polished--but perhaps better, if not just as good. It is taken mostly from the Blinking Lights and Other Revelations double album, and it sounds even better live. While the man called E smokes smoothly on his omnipresent cigar, sipping from a glass of brown whisky-like liquid, he delivers his impeccable best. This is a man who sings for the underdog, the misunderstood, the disenfranchised and even if you aren't any of those things, you still feel a pull towards his lyrics and a deep empathy for the "bus stop boxer" and "dog-faced boy."
Eels unique keyboard style and guitar strums are accompanied by a backdrop of excellent musicians. Chet's musicianship is nothing short of amazing, big Al's bass can't be beat. The four ladies will wow you with their skills on the violins and cello. All of the instruments synch up and commingle in a way that keeps things sounding spontaneous and fresh. The familiarity of the songs are sprinkled with diversion, keeping the DVD dynamic and endlessly intriguing. In
In between live performances, we're treated to behind the scene moments with E--in all of his cynical glory. We want to love this man, sit down with him and hear all about his idiosyncrasies. The only disappointment is that it seemed too short, but that could be because the entire series of performances was nothing short of astounding. It defies time, bringing the listener into the realm of pure musical nirvana. The concert outro's with the pajama wearing band on stage playing an abbreviated version of Mr. E's Beautiful Blues from the Daisies of the Galaxy album (my all-time fave). I could not think of a better way to end the concert.
I would have like to hear a few more songs from other albums, but that is a minor quibble. This is a concert experience not to be missed. And thanks to this DVD, you won't.