In Live Concert At The Royal Albert Hall
EpiExplorer, on october 01, 2010 7 of 9 people found this review helpful
Sound: Finally after 5 months of recording the thing, Opeth have released the footage of their fantastic concert at the Royal Albert Hall in this 5 disc DVD set. As a fan of their music and an attendee at said performance, I just had to buy it ASAP which I did: Pre-ordered on the 27th of August. When it came, I just played the entire DVD section alone to myself for 4 hours. And again. Infact I think I've played it about 4 times since Saturday.
As an experience, seeing one of the biggest bands in the metal scene playing in such a place as the RAH was inspiring. On DVD format, I can watch the experience and relive it all over again and again.
The live performance was spectacular (use my review from the actual concert on this site as reference) with every single song played to perfection. Classics such as 'April Ethereal' and 'The Moor' have never sounded so well made. Infact, the sound quality itself is so good, I'd choose the live version over the studio version for normal listening (which is good, because the box comes with the live tracks on CD's as well).
Everything that happened that night is captured with not a single second of sound cut out nor the breaks between songs left out. Its a perfect capture of that magical night, including every flaw and misshap (such as Mikael's and Frederik's guitars cutting out, twice for Mikael) which now has made me reconsider buying PRS.
Although the playing was tight, there was a degree of improvisation going on, instead of using accoustic guitars like on the studio albums, Frederik and Mikael chose to use clean channels and flangers to create a somewhat softer and almost serene sound while everyone just stood/sat in silence and took it all in and in 'Hope Leaves', Fred and Mike took turns for some nice soloing instead of the traditional outro for the song. // 10
Content: The set list of the night was a good one indeed, the band (as mentioned in my review of the actual concert which probably should be used as a reference) played the entirity of Blackwater Park followed by a song from each album in chronological order. On the DVD, both halves were split onto 2 discs (Titled Observation 1 and 2 respectively) with bonus features.
01. The Leper Affinity
04. The Drapery Falls
05. Dirge for November
06. The Funeral Portrait
07. Patterns In The Ivy
08. Blackwater Park
with a 40 minute interview of Mikael Akerfeldt at the end with the questions being provided by fans instead of the 20 minute break between 'observations'.
01. Forest of October
03. April Ethereal
04. The Moor
06. Hope Leaves
07. Harlequin Forst
08. The Lotus Eater
at the end in the special features section contains a 45 minute tour documentary with the band in between gigs for their Evolution XX tour from Sweden to Germany to London etc.
The setlist is probably the best that could've been chosen. As well as performing what most would consider their best album and the songs that are considered Opeth classics and fan favourites, it won the crowd over entirely.
As mentioned before, the DVD case came with 2 DVD discs of the actual concert and 3 CD's of the live tracks (as songs alone) which is all that would be needed for the perfect live DVD package (when you also take into consideration just how long those songs are). If their are any Easter Eggs, I wouldn't be able to tell you. // 10
Production Quality: Its an old thing to say that a band sounds better live than in the studio which is rarely the case these days. But Opeth have an entirely different presence from the studio when they play live and both aspects of the band are brilliant. Listening to the live version of Blackwater Park is a different experience from listening to the studio version even though both are played to perfection by the band.
With new equipment and PA systems being able to record sound better, its no wonder that an increasing number of bands from the 90's are releasing live DVD's. Immortal for example just released 'The 7th date of Blashyrkh' and to my mind, its better than any studio release they've ever done, purely because of the sound quality and although its not really the same case with Opeth, they still sound better on stage. // 8
Overall Impression: As a band, Opeth are generally uncomparable. Apart from one obscure band from Brighton (Stone Circle, check them out) who sound very similar, Opeth have a monopoly of their undefinable genre.
As a purchase for any Opeth fan or fan-to-be, its definitly worth every bit of money. The DVD itself in its entirity is by far one of the most impressive things I've heard. Its a pretty organic thing too, taking a good look at the band thats been through a long, almost grueling career with numerous linups and being financially crippled in the early days. Although 4 and a half hours (excluding the CD's) is a bit demanding for a DVD, its rewarding as well in turn.
There's not much else to say but to buy it. // 9
In Live Concert At The Royal Albert Hall
UG Team, on october 06, 2010 5 of 8 people found this review helpful
Sound: Choosing the god-damn-Royal-Albert-Hall to film a DVD in is a wise move. The sound will be excellent and the fanboys will reflect on how Opeth's music totally deserves to be aired in the same auditorium as that of the loftiest classical works. Besides, it might just be illegal for an Opeth DVD to be filmed outside of Greater London. The Royal Albert Hall is a stunning room, deceptively large, and truly the only detail detracting from its beauty that night was...the stage. Not to worry, the focal point of the film is the music and if some of the venue's grandeur is lost in translation then so be it.
The most attractive things about this DVD are, of course, the setlists: one satisfyingly balanced retrospective, and one full album performance, both to mark the band's 20th anniversary. There are cases to be made for Still Life' and My Arms, Your Hearse', but it was only ever going to be Blackwater Park' that they'd play in full, and it happens to come together very nicely in a live setting. There are very few disruptions; among them are an obtrusive ride cymbal on Patterns In The Ivy', some patchy screams and numerous exclamations from the crowd. (Over the years, many a punter has yelled a song name or hilarious remark at Opeth, and it seems each and every one of them decided to descend upon the Hall for this. Unconvinced by airings of ever-requested songs, their incessant bellows disrupted the sanctity of the room far more than any amount of death metal could) // 7
Content: It's quite a package, this. Along with the almost three-hour concert, there's an almost three-hour audio version, helpful for people who want to listen to the music without having to look at Per Wiberg's moustache a tour documentary and an interview with Mikael kerfeldt. The documentary is barely worth watching but the interview is insightful, entertaining and very well made.
As performance goes, this isn't the most exhilarating stuff we've had from Opeth, so it's not the oft-heard songs (The Drapery Falls', The Lotus Eater') that stand out but the more elusive pieces from their back catalogue. As was the case with the last film, The Roundhouse Tapes', it's the Orchid' and Morningrise' material that's given the best treatment. Forest Of October' and Advent' have been squeezed through fifteen years of technological evolution and several lineup changes, but the dreamy mystique remains not necessarily intact, but as effective as ever.
The issue with the Blackwater Park' set is that a good two thirds of the album has been seen on DVD before, so some of the better tracks do not have quite the same impact. On the plus side, this puts a spotlight on the crushing Dirge For November' and a very 70s rendition of Harvest', complete with organ and chorus-drenched psychedelia. // 8
Production Quality: Filmed by thirteen HD cameras from the ever-reliable Dash Productions, the presentation is classy as you'd expect after major label backing. Technical hitches (guitars cutting out) during the second set were admirably displayed on the DVD but the Lotus Eater incident' was abridged on the CD to avoid further awkwardness. // 8
Overall Impression: In Live Concert...' is a fairly expensive box, adorned with...lovely typography and packed with good tunes. Is it perfect? Well, no the magic is sometimes missing, as is the guitar signal but it's worth the price, particularly if you were lucky enough to attend one of the Evolution XX' shows. It seems like Opeth might be filming a DVD for each new record now, but it seems unlikely that they'll ever make one with as grand a scenario, setlist or setting as this. // 7