Where The Wild Things Are [DVD] review by Steve Vai

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  • Released: Sep 29, 2009
  • Sound: 7
  • Content: 9
  • Production Quality: 10
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.8 (18 votes)
Steve Vai: Where The Wild Things Are [DVD]
3

Sound — 7
Just 2 years after his last live DVD 'Visual Sound Theories' Steve Vai returns with 'Where the Wild Things Are' shot live at the Minneapolis State Theater in 2007. Vai has yet again stepped up his game, and to mix things up this time he's taken aboard two impeccable violin virtuosos; Alex Depue and Ann Marie Calhoun. If you need any proof of their abilities simply check out the clip of 'Oooo' on Vai's YouTube channel. It's astonishing how accurately they've recreated very guitaristic techniques onto the violin. That's not to say it's without it's flaws, I wasn't overly impressed with the violin tone. Particularly DePue's, overall it comes of cheap and scratchy, although sporting a flying V violin with distortion may seem cool it ruined quite a few moments in my opinion. Calhoun's tone on the other hand, was brilliant. It's not easy to capture the sound of a violin whilst the performer is intent on jumping about the stage (rightly so of course!) But a very nice job has been done here. I haven't heard the BluRay or surround sound versions but I can only assume they're absolutely mind blowing. It's interesting to see how the production quality has improved over the years, and Vai's playing is better than ever. Aside from a few dodgy violin sections the sound is near perfect, and Vai certainly knows how to put together an amazing band.

Content — 9
There's nothing watered down about this DVD, the concert tops 3 hours, and after that there's still interviews which each band member which is nice if you're a die hard fan. The setlist has all the standard Vai favorites (with a few surprises, and previously unperformed songs), I shan't waste space here but give it a quick search to check it out. The only song I'm annoyed isn't on here is Blue Powder, but that's just personal preference really. It's interesting how the violins have been worked in, one of my personal favorites was a beautiful opening to For The Love of God by Calhoun. There's a very nice acoustic section around the midpoint of the DVD which is a great way to break things up and change things sonically. It's close to having 2 concerts in 1, and nice to hear Vai do a little singing for a change. 'All About Eve' is just magical. If you're looking for value for money, you definitely have it here. While it's a little irritating the concert stretches 2 DVDs, it goes to show how much is there.

Production Quality — 10
This is where the DVD really shines, and bizarrely, where Vai's quirky humor comes into play the most. The lighting is top notch, setting a different scene and providing contrast for the many different styles. There are also a fair few video effects used to make things seem more surreal. Most notably 'The Murder', which is a kind of love/hate affair, but you might recognize it as more of a souped up version of the Bad Horsie solo from Live at the Astoria with plenty of Bells and Whistles added for good measure. What I absolutely love (as sad is it may be) is how the different shots have been edited together. Edited with help by Vai himself, things remain in sync with the music by aren't ruined by jump cuts every second*. There are comical annotations on screen, split views to show different musicians performing at the same time and the like. Some of it might seem a bit gimmicky to you, but I think it adds a nice Vai touch. *If you happen to edit live videos yourself. Please stop using so many jump cuts, it might be cool because everyone else is doing it. But it's not. Stop it.

Overall Impression — 9
It might not be for you, if you're not a Vai fan this DVD probably won't change your mind. But if you're familiar with his catalog, you'll love the live renditions + violin here. I prefer almost much all the live versions to their studio counterparts. (Which says something about Vai's band and his own playing.) I'm really annoyed by the scratchy sounding violin parts though, after all the effort that's been put into all the minuscule details it seems a shame to overshadow them by something easily fixed. In closing if you're a Vai fan, or interested in listening to more. You definitely won't be disappointed by this DVD.

10 comments sorted by best / new / date

    CptRevell
    I just watched Live at Astoria yesterday. The video effects kinda ruined it for me - along with constant jump cuts. Music was good though. Vai is crazy live - interesting outfits to say the least.
    EREV777
    ^SAME HERE.. i was like wtf. is he involved in that movie??? but no thank god he isn't im wanna buy this DVD tho
    Jesus_Dean
    I've seen the adverts for this on YouTube and it's fkken depressing. Just when you think you can play "GUITAR" something like this comes along and takes the wind outta your sails.
    Wolfinator-x
    MOVIEMOVIEMOVIE There, I mentioned the coincidence. I prefer this a hell of alot better than going to go see the movie, though. It's a coincidence, Vai has nothing to do with the movie.
    axeslinger0u812
    100000% agree with the jump cut comment. It's a performance DVD of the band playing it's music live, not a music video. If I was at the show I wouldn't be jumping from musician to musician every other second.
    Kapalen
    For the record it's not a "flying v violin" It's a MArk Wood (OF trans-siberian orchestra) violin. The design is one of practicality, the "v" shape supports the violin without any work from the player. So a violinist can use both hands for whatever and reduces strain on the neck. It is a shredder's violin, I dont know about this guy's but they often have six strings on them. It just happens to look like a flying v.