Theme Thursday – Concert DVDs
Personally, I am huge fan of a live show. I love the energy, the performance, the roar of the crowd, and most importantly the decibel level of my favorite songs being played by talented metal musicians. I like being in a crowd of peers; people who have at least one big thing in common with me…the band! I like looking at all the band shirts and sparking up conversation about the shirt you are wearing. It is all well worth going to work the next day red-eyed and ears ringing. The only bad thing about a live show is that the things I love about them rarely translate well to film. Some concerts have serious production value which is always cool, but in the end a DVD/Blu-Ray concert just does not do a show complete justice. Does that stop me from buying them? Hell no, it’s the next best thing to being at the show. The theme this week is about some concert DVDs that I think are so well made that, if you are a fan of the band, these are must buys.
Opeth – Live at the Royal Albert Hall
First up is my most recent love DVD performance by none other than Opeth. I think the exact title goes like this…Opeth, in love concert at the Royal Albert Hall “Evolution XX – An Opeth Anthology” composed by Mikael Akerfeldt and Opeth. The Loyal Disharmonic Orchestra Conducted by the Powers that Be. This show, one I could have attended, but didn’t for now viable reason, was recorded live on 5 April 2010. Opeth is one of the few genuine metal bands that have been able to play at the esteemed Royal Albert Hall. The show itself is great. As the title implies, they did an anthology, so the audience got treated to a song from every album plus Blackwater Park in its entirely. Yes, I kicked myself many times for not going. This DVD, above all, is one you need.
Machine Head – Elegies
Machine Head has really become a force to be reckoned with. Their last three albums have catapulted them to new levels. They do put on a great show, well worth the time, money, and logistics getting to the venue. Elegies is a 14-track set list (including the intro). It spans their discography up to Through The Ashes of Empires. They really don’t get into the middle career much from Machine Head’s rap/rock-ish days. Included with the 90-minute live set, you get interviews and videos to go along with it. The show was recorded live at London’s Brixton Academy in December 2004. When I saw them last December, they filled up London’s Wembley Arena. Not bad for the California quartet. And to think this band almost called it quits…
Slayer – Still Reigning
There is really no way to capture the intensity of a Slayer concert on film…maybe unless it was recorded with IMAX film. Slayer is a unique live performance and if I ever got into a pit again it would probably be during Slayer. Slayer has recorded a few live DVDs, but the one I am featuring here is a very short set because it is Reign in Blood live in its entirety…something many bands are doing these days. The thing that stuck out on this one was the fact that they did all of Reign in Blood live, but they literally had raining blood during the last song Raining Blood. Seeing is believing. The lucky fans of Augusta, Maine got to be part of this live experience in July 2004, forever captured on this short, but powerful DVD.
Chimaira – Coming Alive
Chimaira puts on a good show and I think I will always do my best to get to their shows. On their last live DVD, they seriously got some high-level production value. This DVD is no joke; a 16-song set list, plus countless hours of interviews and backstage stuff that took me three sittings to get through. I fear the future of this band is shaky based on the huge turnover in the last couple years. Despite all their problems, Coming Alive recorded at Chimaira’s 10th anniversary Christmas in Cleveland show. As far as DVD packages go, this one is well worth the money. I got mine with a T-shirt package set and I think I only paid $30.00. You get the DVD with the live show; another DVD with everything else; and also the live show on CD so you can terrorize your neighbors as you depart for work in the morning.
Big Four – Live in Sofia, Bulgaria
The sad thing about festivals and bands that play during daylight is that you lose the lighting effect. Despite this, the Big Four is four huge bands all on one DVD with awesome set lists. Let’s not forget the collaboration at the end of Metallica’s set for Am I Evil. All of the bands played their classic songs and it is a great watch. I had the pleasure of seeing the live feed to movie theaters around the world. They had the show available here at a theater near me and it was really cool to see live. It was friggin loud too; I think the workers at the theater said the adjoining theaters were empty because the sound bled through the walls. I hope this is a feature that occurs more often with metal bands. If you happened to be sitting in a theater to see this show you know what I am talking about.
Paradise Lost – The Anatomy of Melancholy
Paradise Lost doesn’t do much at their live set. They don’t have fire, dragons, or jump from the PA stack. What they have going for them is a meticulous live show. They get up there and play their music as you would hear it on a CD. This DVD was recorded at Koko’s in London on April 12th, 2007. The set list was a whopping 21 songs which is a lengthy set that covers a wide range of their discography up to 2007. There is also band interview footage and also some stuff with the fans. One thing I thought was cool was as they were interviewing fans it became evident that Paradise Lost fans will travel the whole of Europe to see the show. Fans admitted to traveling a long way from as far as Greece to catch this particular show. That’s some serious dedication. At the last Paradise Lost show I went to, an American fan I met traveled from the West coast to catch six Paradise Lost UK shows.
Megadeth – Rust in Peace Live
Megadeth is no stranger to having their show recorded for DVD. They have done it several times including their Big Four set from Sofia. This one is especially worthy due to the production value and that Megadeth played what many consider their best album, Rust in Peace, in its entirety. It was recorded in Hollywood, CA on March 31, 2010. In addition to the live show, there is behind-the-scenes footage and also the rest of the songs they played at the show in addition to Rust in Peace. Megadeth is another band that relies on precision vs. dragons and PA stack jumping. For the fans of Rust in Peace, this is a must-have live show.
Dream Theater – Score
Dream Theater – the epitome of the live concert performance. These guys put a lot into making a great live DVD. I heard the most recent release was much more raw than what you see on Score, Live at Budokan, or Metropolis. I actually didn’t buy it for that reason because after watching something like Score how can you watch them recorded with less production value? I feel like a snob for saying that, but when you watch Score you might know how I feel. Score brings us a set list of 8 songs then another 6 songs with the Octavarium Orchestra. It is an awesome show well-captured on this DVD set. There are also 5 other songs recorded from other shows; a well-rounded package. I would like to see another live recording with Mangini on drums and some of their new music.
I hope you enjoyed this theme of the week and maybe found a bit of inspiration to explore some live sets. I know there are more bands out there with awesome shows, Maiden, Priest, Rush, to name a few. The DVDs on this list just happen to be ones I own, so there will more than likely be a part II in the future.