Quite apart from the band's breathtaking performance, the quality of the filming and sound recording really sets this DVD above most other concert footage - it truly looks like properly directed and coordinated piece of film, while seeming to retaining the organic, super charged atmosphere of the day. All the shots of the band, and the pan-outs of the whole concert are expertly pieced together, and in some places, even livened with some Matrix-like special effects to make this concert as pleasing to the eye as to the ear. If you doubt that the visual quality really adds to enjoyment of the music, watch and have your breath taken away by Don't Forget Me and By the Way, or witness the almost touching chemistry between the band, particularly John and Flea as they jam and play out the hits.
Musically, the band are on fire. Anthony's singing is the best I have ever heard it, both John and Flea milk their instruments for the most inspired and flawless solos (see The Zephyr Song or Don't Forget Me)and Chad remains the funk master. John's backing vocals at this show take the songs to a whole other level- his studio harmonising pales next to his live singing. By the Way, Otherside, Venice Queen are all given new feeling and depth with Frusciante's amazing voice. I really hate to talk down other Chili Pepper work, but this performance makes Hyde Park seem slap dash and amateurish!
Here are a few comments on a random selection of the songs played:
Scar Tissue - more upbeat than the album version. Crisp and clean and broken up with 3 great solos. It's also seriously cool the way it flows on from By the Way via an outro jam.
Universally Speaking - stripped of it's superflous studio effects, it's leaner, meaner and punchier. Even although it's quite a simple song, John and Flea play brilliantly, and John's little guitar licks make you want to bounce thru the roof when the chorus hits.
Don't Forget Me - just amazing. It's so expertly done, both by the band and in terms of the filming, that it sends shivers up my spine. Anthony's vocals are top notch, and John rips the air apart with some devasting guitar playing. The extra solo that he adds onto the end of the song is haunting and very affecting - just watch Anthony's face as Frusciante tinkles it out across the sea of swaying lighters.
Otherside - maybe my favourite performance on the DVD. Like all of the tracks, it's given extra life by Flea and John's clever licks. Great harmonising, and another simple but affecting solo.
The above though are by no means the best tracks, just ones that I chose to say something about. Every song is brilliant, each with it's own distinguising feature - e.g. the class intro to Parallel Universe, the unbelievable harmonising in Venice Queen, the great solos in the Zephyr Song and Around the World. The list goes on. Well, if you havent guessed yet - this is the best DVD ever produced.
The only things I would say against it are that 1) set list is heavily based on Calaforniacation and By the Way - there's not a lot of older material and 2) after hearing it, when you go back and listen to the album versions of the songs, they seem so stale in comparison!
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