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Keane: Live In Concert - From O2, London [DVD] [2008]
Keane: Live In Concert - From O2, London [DVD] [2008]
Dvd ~ Keane
Price: £9.99

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tom's magnificent voice, 29 Mar 2009
This is only about the second review I've submitted to Amazon of a product I've bought, but after seeing and hearing 'Keave Live' I felt the need to say how magnificent this DVD is.

I'm very critical of live recordings in general, particularly regarding the quality of band performance and sound quality - the two elements that matter most to me.

The audio and visuals are extremely good, and the band performance is faultless to my ears. There were numerous cameras filming the occasion, and they capture the excellent visuals the band has to offer, visuals that augment the music very well. There is also a 'CCTV option' that offers a fly on the wall view of the performance. This is interesting but you'd probably only want to watch it once.

The most important part, the 5.1 mix (there's also a stereo mix) is utterly magnificent. It is astonishing that just a drum kit, an electric piano (plus assorted pre-programmed keyboard and bass tracks) can make such a big sound. The crowning glory to this is Tom's voice, a voice that has always been one of the best out there (miles stronger than Chris Martin's nasal whine; but then Tim Rice-Oxley's songs are better as well), and which has now been brought out even clearer and stronger than on their CDs. Tom's emotional punch on some of these songs is really immense, without him ever losing control of his voice. Tom's voice on 'Try Again' and 'Atlantic' are better than the CD versions in this reviewer's opinion. Three of the songs also benefit from their new acoustic guitar accompaniment, notably 'Your Eyes Open', 'The Frog Prince' and 'Broken Toy'; each of these sound stronger than their originals.

This concert is from July 2007, so only covers the first two albums. In my opinion these are their best albums so the concert is all the stronger for that. The whole of the second album is covered, including the Pink Floyd-esque instrumental 'Under The Iron Sea', which opens the concert in great ethereal style. Rick Wright, RIP, would have approved. Most of 'Hopes And Fears' is included, apart from 'Untitled 1', 'She Has No Time', 'On A Day Like Today' and sadly as it is my favourite Keane song, 'Sunshine'. A minor quibble of a superb concert.


Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar
Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This remaster sounds much better, 16 May 2008
Well known for years to be a magnificent exploration of the electric guitar with modern musical motifs, this remastered box set version is a must for those who previously had the initial double CD that came out around 89/90. The sound of this box set has greater clarity and a much wider dynamic range.


Snakes & Arrows [Jewelcase Version]
Snakes & Arrows [Jewelcase Version]
Price: £9.76

4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Guitar overload, 2 Mar 2008
I came to this album as a lifelong Rush fan, one who still enjoys listening to their 70s and (particularly) their 80s output.

Despite their primary classification as a 'rock band' their best work (which counts as the vast majority due to their extraordinary consistency between 1975 and 1989) went much wider than this simple description. This is because their music always had light and shade, a lively complexity and original dynamic. There was a space between the instruments. They could play as heavy as anyone if they wished but the reason why most of us like them is because they were not just another rock band.

So it's a shame that Snakes and Arrows portrays them as just that. Their best albums always had the individual instruments competing equally for space within the sound stage. The result was that the complexities of their music were distilled into clearly defined sounds. The bass (so often buried in the mix of many other bands) was always a highlight to listen to (and not just because of Geddy Lee's mastery), but its place in the mix was no greater than the guitar, keyboards or percussion. On Snakes and Arrows, the electric guitar sounds often flatten the bass and percussion, making them almost periphery instruments. The bass guitar is still there but it is definitely playing second fiddle (so to speak), and as for the percussion, well it is criminal that the peerless Peart should be treated in this way. An unkind comment would be that Alex Lifeson mixed this CD on his own. The guitar playing is very fine, however, and it is good to hear him playing acoustic again. The acoustic also adds some welcome relief from the overall distorted bombast of this CD. If I want to hear lots of distorted guitar, I can play some Neil Young and Crazy Horse.

The mix is one thing, but if the music is good enough it mostly makes amends. There are certainly some nice sequences on this album but, at 62 minutes in length, they are far too spread out to be ultimately satisfying. 'The Main Monkey Business' and 'Far Cry' are the only tracks that would make the grade on their 70s and 80s albums (bar their debut in 1974). Just two out of thirteen tracks.

My last point concerns keyboards. Many fans have been overly diverted by whether Rush used too many keyboards in the 80s. I like both guitar and keyboards, but the essential requirement is the quality of the music and not the instrument playing it. So the fact that there is only a tiny bit of mellotron on this album is just fine. Sadly it is the music (and mix) that is not.


Hysteria
Hysteria
Price: £6.04

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Their best album, 1 May 2007
This review is from: Hysteria (Audio CD)
Let's get serious for a moment. Hysteria is the Human League's best album. Following on after a huge selling album is, to some ears, impossible and I suspect the knives were poised before it was released. 'Dare' was an outstanding album, with at least four great pop songs - but 'Hysteria' is more consistent over all ten tracks. The introduction of guitar and bass guitar gives the sound more breadth and gravitas. Indeed, the bass-lines on this album are some of the most impressive ever committed to recorded music, particularly 'I Love You Too Much' and 'The Lebanon'...well, all of them really. If your ears are attuned to low frequencies you'll love this - 'Dare' sounds a bit plastic and tinny in comparison. The whole effort is very tight and, while it doesn't offer as great a song as 'Don't You Want Me', you never feel like reaching for the skip button. I can only think that it appeared to be a disappointment upon first release because of the three year gap from 'Dare'. Of course nowadays three years is de rigeuer, even after top selling debut albums.


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