55 of 60 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
If this Blu Ray video demonstrates nothing else, it once again PROVES that those eggheaded, stuffed shirt buffoons at the record company (any and all of them) have no clue about what their customer wants. This video, in spite of how well Ann and Nancy perform, misses the mark on so many issues.
For starters, IMO, when people put down their hard earned cash to purchase a "concert" video, THAT'S WHAT THEY WANT. They want to see the show "as is", not some 'special presentation', not some 'filmed exclusively for' event and certainly NOT some show that has been so heavily edited as this. Take 6 or 7 or 10 cameras, get the good angles, and film a typical concert that the band puts on night after night and publish that for a reasonable cost. The whole idea of editing, re-arranging the songs, cutting out the banter, close ups of heads only and cutting from one member back to the other after a full 2 seconds is ridiculous to say the least.
This concert video starts out weak and, flops around wildly for a bit and then just fizzles out completely after that. There are a few moments where the fire tries to revive itself, but then it quickly fades again before going out completely in the Blu Ray "special features". Opening with what has long been one of their closing and or encore numbers, "Barracuda" comes across mighty lame. No intro, not thundering guitar, no heavy drums, just a "playing" that sounds like it is rolling out of an AM radio. The songs has no fire, no intensity, just a heavy dose of lameness. They even appear to have a hard time getting the 'jam' rolling, though they do get it for a few minutes just before the song ends.
And from there the concert flops around like a fish out of water. All of the new songs are great and they DO blend well with the old standards and hits, but they are played, for the most part, "COLD". There's little to intro for the songs and the songs barely sound different than the studio versions from Red Velvet Car (which is a stunning CD in every regard and perfectly puts Heart back to their rightful position in the 21st century). Allison Krauss performs well, though she does steal a bit of thunder from Nancy by taking away one of her signature songs (leaving her to sing lead only one other time), but the performance seems to waste her talents and there is little interaction between the band members and Allison. She gets a light introduction from Ann, appears on stage, sings and then leaves. Huh?
Also missing from the video, the band. You can see that there is actually someone on the stage with Ann and Nancy, but you never get to "see" them. There is no interaction, the cameras never linger on them, nothing. You catch little glimpses of the band here and there in the background, and there is the occasional full stage shot, but otherwise you get nothing. All in all they come across as paid performers and not members of the band.
And then there's the crowd. To say that they seem "uninspired" would be like calling Michelangelo a 'house painter'. It appears that they are standing in a wide hallway (something the cameras try to avoid capturing), but there is NO interaction between the band and the audience or vice versa. There is barely a murmur when a hit songs is played, there is no "group participation", (no group sing along, no clapping with the music, no raising of the roof) and there's barely a sign of appreciation when the songs end. Everyone appears to be just standing there, as if they were paid for their participation. Probably the most striking thing is how small the crowd actually is.
And with a Blu Ray DVD there should always be more. The special features gives you some lame, and I don't mean to understate exactly how lame they were, "behind the scenes" peeks (ooooo, look, they are actually walking from their limo to their dressing room, how exciting) that were so disconnected as to leave me wondering why they were even included. There are 2 "bonus tracks", both taken OUT of the show and then added back as bonuses. WHAT? What lame-assed stuffed shirt record exec thought that was a great idea? What was the purpose of taking them out if your sole purpose seems to be nothing more than just moving them to a different place on the DVD? And that was it, nothing more.
On the up side.....blah, blah, blah.....good DTS mix.....blah, blah, blah......hit songs......blah, blah, blah....5 tracks from the new album.......blah, blah, blah.
I saw Heart twice on the Red Velvet Car tour and they killed. They were great. They played inspired. The crowds were enthusiastic before/during/after the show. The air was filled with electricity that was palpable, the fans were excited and then band used that to up the ante song after song. Unfortunately there is NONE OF THAT on this video. I love Heart, I LOVE the new album, I love seeing them live and I REALLY looked forward to their release of a concert video, but this falls flat on so many issues it would be extremely difficult for me to recommend this to people with limited budgets. If you happen to have $20 plus tax that you can afford to throw away, you just might not mind spending it on this DVD. If however you are a working stiff without a lot of disposable income, don't disappoint yourself and spend your money elsewhere.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The Camera Eye
- Published on Amazon.com
I've always enjoyed every performance I have ever seen by Ann and Nancy Wilson. Ann Wilson's voice is one of the greatest of all time. This often overshadows what a great singer Nancy is, and even when Nancy isn't singing lead, her contributions as backup vocalist, especially when Harmony is required, always elevate their great songs even further. This does not, however, overshadow Nancy's obvious contributions as guitarist or entertainer. She is one of the great rhythm guitarists of all time and a decent lead player, as well. She shines, as always, on Acoustic Guitar (the more difficult platform), and the intro to "Crazy On You," on this set is one of her best and most enjoyable executions. As an entertainer, Nancy consistently steals the show. Her energy (best exemplified by her punctuating kick as the bend enters on the aforementioned "Crazy on You,") is both contagious and mesmerizing. The slight rasp that Ann's voice has developed only on a few high notes actually adds to the cool vibe of most of their songs, but the fact that the power of her voice is still jaw dropping is what is so amazing. What you hear here only scratches the surface - I saw them for the third or fourth time a couple of years ago opening for Journey & following Cheap Trick, and quite frankly, despite the fact that both of those bands had GREAT performances, Heart STILL stole the show. Why? Ann and Nancy. Period.
With that said, let me move on to make a few comments on the backing band: drummer Ben Smith is rock solid & is the best backup member. There is yet another new bass player, but he gets the job done and the rhythm section is totally there for them. Lead guitar player Craig Bartok is adequate, and has a nice 70's kind of vibe to his playing, but he does, at times, make you wish Howard Leese would return. Specifically, his often loose interpretations of many of Roger Fisher's original leads often stray too far. I've yet to see a live performance to this point where he actually gets the lead fills during "Crazy On You" totally correct, he just plays them too sloppy and it can be distracting. There was also a moment during one of the solos on either "Magic Man" or "Barracuda," where he wandered off into a fast but very sloppy random lick that strayed so far from the key it just defied the harmony and beauty of what the Wilson sisters are presenting. In contrast, if you've heard any live recordings when Leese was the main lead player, after Fisher left, he is extremely aggressive, yet tasteful, and really adds a huge element to the band, standing toe to toe with Ann and Nancy as a live performer, rather than just an adequate backup musician. Finally, Debbie Share on keyboards - she's just barely adequate and I think it is obvious that if she had to pull off more than duplicating the parts from the record she would be lost. Her goofy, nerd-girl, emo look doesn't help and it's in utter contrast to the image of this band. Howard Leese is once again sorely missed.
In conclusion, Ann and Nancy carry the performance, with a rock solid rhythm section, esp Ben Smith, and adequate but far from great Lead Guitar and Keyboard support. This is a 5 star plus performance by ANN AND NANCY (as always) but the lead guitar and keyboards bump it down a star. It would be five EASILY with Leese on Lead guitar and keyboards.