Sound — 9
Upon walking into my local record store High Voltage (yes they still exist), I always skim the new arrivals and the metal/rock sections in search of new DVDs and CDs. I was wondering the W's and came upon a 3 disc set of Whitesnake live in Japan. I'm an '80s era fan through and through. Upon first glance the packaging is pretty well presented. It being a 3 disc set it larger then a normal CD jacket. So it caught my eye quicker than a normal sized CD would have. It's a fold out with a full color booklet and band member photo's imprinted on the jacket itself.
I instantly noticed the band in it's glory playing that set in a still shot. I saw Reb Beach, formerly of Winger, and Doug Aldrich who has played with basically everyone, most notable for me Ronnie James Dio, but countless others including Lady Gaga. This set includes a DVD, CD of the audio of the DVD, and an additional CD of the soundcheck of that night's performance.
The setlist as follows:
1. Best Years
2. Give Me All Your Love Tonight
3. Love Ain't No Stranger
4. Is This Love
5. Steal Your Heart Away
7. Six String Showdown (the guitar solos)
8. Love Will Set You Free
9. Drum solo
10. Fool for Your Loving
11. Here I Go Again
12. Still of the Night
All in all, a decent set list upon first glance without actually listening or viewing the product at least. Used at $10.99, I figured what the hell, plus for me "Give Me All Your Love Tonight" is one of my favorite WS songs, so for that reason upon price and the look of the production I sprung for the purchase and figured it's worth the risk.
As soon as I got back to my house I popped the DVD disc into my Xbox, and I have to say: when the title page comes up to click the option's on the DVD David Coverdale lets out an awesome ball shattering, ear splitting, raise the hair on the back of your neck scream that just got me so excited.
The DVD starts out with the band in a sort of warm up starting lower in volume but really just instantly start to kick a-s after the drummer's four count on the hight hat. Many of the songs on this DVD are from newer albums, so I had never heard them before.
The first song has great harmony vocally, a great rhythm section in the form of Michael Devin and Brian Tichy. The duo of the guitars meld and are so tight its seamless during their two guitar attack, during the unison and harmony attacks. The second song my personal FAV is very true to the original BUT, they also add to it. Normally I HATE THAT, but in this scenario the breakdown and crowd participation after the guitar solo is just amazing and very well put together, as one would expect from a group of musicians of this talented. The WS hits on this DVD were recorded by a totally different band, but the touring group and current line-up of this band represents the older material as well as any other line-up.
The new music on this DVD is not only good, but I think it's great. The song titled "Steal Your Heart Away" starts with a great slide solo played by Doug Aldrich. This song blends the hard rock edge WS is known for and the pop influence of modern country, at least thats how I would describe it. This was a joy to see and hear. The new WS is firing on all cylinders.
The compositions, vocal performances by the WHOLE band, and overall synchronicity of this band just kept dropping my jaw song after song. The dual solo entitled "Six String Showdown" is a solo spot performed by both guitarists in a show of great skill but over all musicality, ending with both of them just really going for it, they play very well together. The drum solo is just amazing as well. Tichy really could play in most any band in my opinion. Since they were in Japan during filming, Tichy breaks out the Asian inspired beats and even plays his drums with chop sticks, and sushi knives.
The DVD closes out with two of the biggest hits WS has ever had. Once again the bands interpretation of the older songs is pound for pound just as good as the original recording. Throughout the DVD David Coverdale proves that age is not a factor for his voice. He hits extreme highs and beautiful lows and mid-range. I didn't hear any cracking or straining in his voice in the entire DVD. He performs like it second nature, actually it's almost scary the precision and effortlessness he performs with.
In closing, this is one of the best produced, in terms of sound and visual entertainment I have seen on a DVD in a long time. The band kicks major butt on it. The song selection, or at least half was foreign to me upon purchase. That being said I was expecting some new songs that could be just OK. WS has proven to me that moving forward their force is to be reckoned with and respected. I would suggest anyone who was or still is a WS fan go out and immediately buy and enjoy this as I have. YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED. I hope this incarnation of the band keep making new music, I look forward to it. I even purchased 3 newer albums based on this DVD and also was so happy with the music.
Vocals: David Coverdale (Lead) All members perform vocally
Guitars: Doug Aldrich/Reb Beach
Drums: Brian Tichy
Bass: Michael Devin
Content — 8
The DVD is a live performance played in Japan and features an interactive song selection list in a very user friendly format. A bonus section with two fan videos with two songs played in the back-round are featured as well. Band slideshows are in this bonus section as well, 3 total. The fan video's are great pic by pic slideshow of people from the crowd that night. The music is of high sound quality as well as the photos that are in each clip. The resolution on my TV is very well coupled and vibrant to the visuals in these sections.
I was initially drawn by my favorite song (#2) and a bit reserved due to the fact that some listed were unknown to me. Actually watching this DVD really changed my mind. The fear was due to the Ballad heavy hits the band is unfortunately know for in the '80s era heyday so to speak. Their new catalog is heavy rocking-hard hitting all around "bada-sness" that really took me by surprise. The new compositions by this line-up are just well throughout and performed hard rock. Although their is some ballads present, the band really owns these and just plays so well its captivating in my opinion.
My satisfaction level just kept rising. The crowd participation is really that of a still ravid and fanatical audience thats is not just older people their for the nostalgia, I can honestly see that a newer younger crowd could really be there for the current line-up's music. For what the DVD offers in the bonus section is pretty cool, their is no games or hidden tracks but I was happy with the bonus features in this DVD.
Production Quality — 9
The production is just amazing. I own a plasma TV and sound bar that have options for different setting, one happens to be music. The mix of the sound is just great, you can really hear the individual band members and the crowd as well. Frontiers Records LLC, the maker of the DVD, have an incredible editing team for both audio and visual aspects. The production is crisp and edgy. Unlike some of the competitors in this market although are great, I think miss the mark that this DVD/Performance provides. The technologies are pretty basic for editing, that being said less is less and more is more. I think when a band that plays this well especially upon the time of recording/filming not a lot of editing is really needed.
I would say that this is the current "trend" of common filming and editing, but with an exceptional band and crew. The thing I noticed is that their is a lot of symmetry with the crew and band during its filming onstage. The visual on this is very well done, the color pops, multiple views are present isolating individual members as well as the whole band. The camera crew who shot this did a wonderful job. Again the onstage symmetry is phenomenal. I can really tell this is live, as their are some mistakes on guitar. Examples are some of the behind the nut squeals Aldrich performs are spot on, others a little flat. But I really dig that. It shows this is not another KISS ALIVE type performance, where the mixing and editing hide those little imperfections.
Overall it's brilliantly made and mixed for the common fan and the extreme critic. At least I think so compared to a lot of DVD's recently made by other band and performer's in this genre.
Overall Impression — 8
This DVD is a cut above most filming and sound productions I have viewed in the past 24 months without a doubt. The bands overall performance and sound is the most impressive quality of this DVD. The CD of the performance and the soundcheck are almost as good played through my substandard car stereo as they are on my entertainment center, the TV is better solely based on its quality.
I love this whole purchase, the entire thing. From packaging to production, and song selection. My only con to this is the amount of ballads on it, but I had my mind changed a bit, the band just kicks so much butt. They really own those performances throughout this DVD. Just my opinion here: WS is unfairly grouped with ballad bands, they are a hard rocking powerhouse that just gets their ballads played a little more. This in my opinion casts a cloud of their rocking credentials. If this DVD was lost/stolen/broken I would continue buying it over and over and over. I highly recommend this DVD.