Center Stage [DVD] review by Tommy Emmanuel

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  • Released: Oct 14, 2008
  • Sound: 9
  • Content: 9
  • Production Quality: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 7 (3 votes)
Tommy Emmanuel: Center Stage [DVD]

Sound — 9
The energy of Tommy Emmanuel is what makes his songs. On this DVD he shows us once more that he doesn't play music: he IS music. The sound quality is very, very good. The concert has been recorded for surround sound so it will 'hurt in the back as well as in front' like Tommy himself mentions during his concert. Perhaps the songs could have had some more bass in it, but apart from that it's just perfect.

Content — 9
The DVD features footage from three concerts Tommy gave three days in a row in Chico, California. It has been montaged together, so it looks like one concert. The entire DVD has been filmed in HD-quality. The setlist features some of Tommy's older songs, such as the fast 'train to dusseldorf' and a speedrecord-breaking version of 'the tall fiddler'. A couple of new songs are included as well, such as the peaceful 'ruby's eyes' and 'I go to rio'. His variation in incredibly fast songs, as tall fiddler, and slow and melodious songs like morning aire shows the incredible talent of Tommy Emmanuel. It can also be noted that Tommy plays four songs with harmonica player Bob 'dangerous' Litell: workin' man blues, georgia on my mind, house of the rising sun and a blues-influenced version of amazing grace. The combination of guitar and harmonica sounds remarkably good, especially when Tommy takes the role of drummer on him as well. As for the extra content: apart from the concert Tommy explains three of his songs in more detail. He mentions how he came up with the song and how it developed during the years. He explains mombasa, lenny bro' and initiation. Unfortunately the DVD shows us less jokes from Tommy than previous DVD's, especially the Sheldon Hall one. There is also less interaction with the audience. This makes that I can't give it a perfect 10.

Production Quality — 9
As I already mentioned, the entire DVD has been shot in HD-quality and surround sound. There are less changes of viewpoint, making it more comfortable to look at, unlike the Majesty's Theatre DVD. When filming Tommy, there are always other camera's in view. This may sound disturbing, but it actually gives you a feeling of being in the audience yourself, because you can see everything that's happening around him. The camera's managed to capture Tommy's fun and energy in playing as well as the sound itself. There are more close-up's of Tommy himself, apart from his guitar.

Overall Impression — 9
Overall I think this album is an excellent replacement if you can't go to a Tommy concert yourself. Just the song initiation would be worth buying the DVD for. This DVD shows the versatility of Tommy. He can play in hyperdrive, yet play very gentle songs. He can play guitar, yet he can play drums as well. He can sing, he can play with other people. It only lacks some interaction with the audience. Not that he doesn't talk at all, but if you compare it to the Sheldon Hall DVD, he cracks less jokes and doesn't give the audience a personal 'guitar lesson'. The DVD guarantees you 1,5 hours of fun and amazement. I would definitely buy a new copy if I were to lose the one I have (not that I would lose this version, since I received it out of the hands of Tommy Emmanuel himself).

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