First the nuts and bolts; the information you want about what's on this video.
Then, my detailed opinions regarding the three programs.
This video contains, in their entirety, "Lord of the Dance" (LOTD), which was the premiere performance in the Point Theatre in Dublin;
"Feet of Flames," (FOF) the new and improved version of LOTD, performed outdoors in Hyde Park,
and a documentary, "Gold."
LOTD and FOF are on one side, and you need to flip the DVD over to watch Gold.
LOTD runs 1h 37 min, and is in normal TV aspect ratio ("fullscreen" 1.3:1).
FOF runs 1h 54 min, and is in widescreen format, 1.77:1, conventionally, 16:9.
Gold runs 2h 10 min, and is in aspect ratio 1.78:1, described as "anamorphic".
All three say captions in English and subtitles in French and Spanish.
Previous comments have mentioned some problems in the audio of the DVD.
The DVD that I purchased through Amazon is perfect. There are *NO* audio or visual problems in any of the programs.
I had LOTD in commercial VHS, as well as home-recorded of PBS. I find the quality of the commercial VHS rather poor, as if it was recorded in EP mode.
This DVD looks much better.
I cannot conceive of any reason not to buy this DVD, especially considering the price. I paid $13.99 from Amazon, and I cannot think of fourteen bucks better spent. Ever.
That should take care of the nuts and bolts information, now for my criticism.
Michael Flatley seems to have one mode when talking about his work: enthusiasm.
He says in Gold that LOTD was the best performance, that there was magic on the stage.
All I have seen is these videos and a performance of LOTD in Boston.
I believe that he is not exaggerating. To me, LOTD, the opening performance recorded for posterity,
is *PERFECT*. There is definately magic on that stage. Perhaps it is due to the opening show anxiety that Michael speaks of,
but whatever it is, I can watch this program over and over and over again and never get tired of it.
FOF is the 'new and improved' LOTD. As you see, it is a half hour longer. Besides all the pieces in LOTD, several new pieces were added.
Notably, a solo flute performance from Flatley, "Whispering Wind." It brings tears to my ears. It is absolutely beautiful.
Additionally, a second "Siamsa"-style piece is added to the first half, called "Dancing over the Rainbows."
Since "Siamsa" is one of my favorite pieces from LOTD, this is big plus.
I love all of LOTD, but I do have favorites. My *very* favorites pieces are: Gypsy, Stolen Kiss, Siamsa, and the intoroductory piece to "Lord of the Dance,"
where Gillian and Bernadette dance together and are then joined by four men (the part that is to the music of "Stolen Kiss").
I prefer all of these from LOTD to the FOF versions.
FOF may be bigger, but for me it is not better.
Don't get me wrong, I love FOF, but how can you match perfection (LOTD)?
The documentary Gold is an interview with Flatley interspersed with footage.
A great deal of the footage is from LOTD and FOF. Interesting note: The footage from LOTD is in widescreen. Is there a widescreen version of LOTD available? If there was, I'd buy it.
Probably half of the two-plus hours is simply footage from LOTD anf FOF.
It starts with earlier footage, including stuff with the Chieftans. All interesting.
The latter part focuses on a new and improved LOTD/FOF called "Feet of Flames Budapest."
I looked online for this expecting it to be commercially available, but no such luck. What gives?
It was obviously filmed...
Here I get critical.
The setting has been changed. It has an Egyptian motif. The 'bad' girl is Cleopatra.
Neither Gillian or Bernadette are in it.
One of the pieces shown is called "Cleopatra's Spell." This, I would guess, is the replacement for Gypsy.
I must admit, it has really grown on me. The dancer, whose name I didn't catch, is quite a babe. She has a great set of gams, but she's no Gillian.
[Gillian: I AM IN LOVE WITH YOU!]
Later, Michael talks about how he recognizes that his audience expects to see some of the favorites from LOTD/FOF.
This little snippet introduces the new "Stolen Kiss." Michael says something like he kept it because it'a a favorite, but made it bigger and better with new stuff.
Well, I'm sorry, but I have to disagree with Michael here.
I get the concept, sacred v. profane; love v. lust. It is *beautifullay* and *perfectly" portrayed in Stolen Kiss in LOTD.
But here, Flatley wants to hit us over the head with it, and has, in fact, vulgarized it.
In a nutshell, the two female leads do not measure up to Gillian and Bernadette.
I am a person who had/has ZERO interest in dance until, like millions of others, I happened to catch something called "Riverdance" on PBS a decade ago while channel surfing.
I still have no interest in dance, but I worship the ground Michael Flatley walks on.
LOTD is the greatest artistic creations in decades.
Michael Flatley, and Gillian Norris, dancing forever in my heart!