Where The Wild Things Are
ChucklesMginty, on october 19, 2009 3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Sound: 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. // 7
Content: 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. // 9
Production Quality: 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. // 10
Overall Impression: 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. // 9
Sound: Great overall band level. He harmonizes so well with the violins and other guitars. The only bad point is the whole DVD is in the starting two songs his volume seemed to be turned down but that was soon fixed. The band mix was spot on there was no cloudyness or over compression in the sound, it just sounded raw and beautiful. // 10
Content: This DVD is great value for money anyone thinking about buying this DVD should grab it as soon as posible. It contains the songs:
01. Paint me your face
02. Now we run
04. Building the church
05. Tender surrender
06. Band intros
08. The Crying machine
09. Shove the sun aside
10. I'm becoming
11. Die to live
12. Freak show excess
13. Apples in paradise
14. All about eve
15. Gary 7
16. Beastley rap
17. Treasure Island
18. Angel food
19. Earthquake sky
20. The Audience is listening
21. Ther Murder
23. Whispering a prayer
24. Taurus Bulba
27. For the love of god // 10
Production Quality: Great Quality. Well worth all the hours practice. He realy has a perfict setup, when you take in all the things happening at once you realy appreciate all his talent. Whether it is just the simple things like pushing down on a stomp box at the right time that you don't get that sudden fuzz or shreading in an complicated key with a complicated timeing he can just do it all. // 10
Overall Impression: This DVD rocks. I brought it trying to see if I liked Steve Vai... I do. He has now convinced me to buy a Digitech Whammy pedal because of the way he uses it. The new band members are also great, the use of violins realy adds to the atmosphere. Any real Steve Vai fan needs this DVD. // 10
Where The Wild Things Are
Guitar2theface, on february 16, 2010 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: The whole band is excellent, most obvious of which, is Steve Vai, of course. Every single member of the band are definitely virtuosos of their chosen instrument. New to this concert, however, are the two violinists, Alex DePue, and Anne Marie Calhoun, in addition to the standard "rock group". They add a different sound to the whole concert, and at some places its subtle, but other places its extremely obvious, and it adds a very new twist to old classics from Steve Vai.
The songs on the concert themselves are not any better or worse than the studio versions of them, but they certainly are different. Most songs have extended solos. The extended solos themselves are about 30 seconds long or so. // 9
Content: The DVD has of course, the concert. 2 hours and 40 minutes of pure music. Not only that, it has a large amount of extra content such as interviews, behind the scenes, etc which adds up to another hour or so.
The 27 song setlist has almost all of the standard Vai favorites, including Tender Surrender, Die to Live, The Audience is Listening, and of course, For the Love of God. Some songs that aren't on the DVD are Bad Horsie and Blue Powder. There are also some songs that have never been released before, such as Now We Run, and Paint Me Your Face. Also, several members of the band play songs that they've composed, such as Dave Weiner's Shove the Sun Aside. The concert starts off with mostly heavy songs, such as Building the Church and Now We Run. Then it goes into the softer stuff, like Die to Live and All About Eve. After All About Eve, it goes into an all acoustic set for a while, and the end is peppered with a variety of different styles. The concert has a lot of diversity, and never at one point did I feel that I was bored of hearing the songs. // 10
Production Quality: Production was nothing special, the camera focuses on whoever's the center of attention, most often being Vai or the two violinists. Lighting was used interestingly, moving with the rhythm and shifting the spotlight to grab your attention, and punctuating certain notes, but other than that, there was nothing that was obvious. Sound quality is good, I don't know what the bitdepth was but it sounded good enough. // 7
Overall Impression: This was a solid DVD, and it kept me entertained for a good while. It was neither better nor worse than Vai's studio albums, just different. Hearing a different take on my favorite songs from Vai was great, though I will admit some of the extended solos feel like they drag on for longer than they should. The violins add a new dynamic to his music, but they don't feel out of place, as if the songs were written for violins in mind. I go back to it every once in a while to listen to it, and if I had the CD album I'd probably put the MP3s on my iPod, but I don't, and I don't want to pay $14 for the album itself. I feel the DVD was excellent, because seeing Vai play live in good quality is rare, but the visuals are important to this DVD, and I would not buy the album. // 9