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on 13 August 2000
Jeff Buckley fans are very lucky to have this sort of a DVD release. It took me a while to really become a Jeff Buckley fan (and now there is no turning back). I remember first borrowing an advance copy of Grace back in 1994 and being seduced by the easily loved Hallelujah (who didn't?) and also So Real, but the rest of that album proved I was unready for such a unique singer. Later on, after Sketches for My Sweetheart the Drunk came out, I became much more interested. Mystery White Boy further solidified my fascination for his way of doing things, and now, with this Live In Chicago DVD, I am completely convinced. A little late, I admit. I wonder, while writing this review, if this is the best place to start, for the new-comer. I think it is. Some might initially be turned off by his fluctuating vocals, but later, I guarantee, that will be precisely what you love about him. His compassionate yodels range from a pigeons coo, to a hyena's laugh, to a goldfish burble, to a puma's roar. And his guitar playing can trigger memories of This Mortal Coil, The Mission, and Johnny Marr (he makes two Smiths references on this DVD, one of which is a parody of a Morrissey-style song about policemen! And on Mystery White Boy he welds I Know It's Over to Hallelujah). Whatever hints of influences glisten through his songs, they are undoubtedly his, meaning: It sounds like Jeff Buckley. He and his band bleed through their instruments to produce a dizzying sonic sweep through the central nervous system. And to see this is amazing. His lyrics are the type that take you a while to realize he is lamenting a certain part of your own life (or at least that's how it feels). Lines like, "My Kingdom for a kiss upon her shoulder" are so intimate and so precise, you wonder why nobody has come up with it before. And I can't help but wonder when he sings "Father do you hear me, do you know me, do you even care?" (What Will You Say) if he is singing to his father, Tim Buckley, who he did not know.
If you are like me and you enjoy hearing different interpretations to songs you already like, then you will love this film. Notable spots are the strange and hypnotic rendering of Big Star's 1975 hit Kangaroo where he ferociously barks, "You're just like Saint Joan..." with sweat dripping from his hair (on Mystery White Boy he barely whispers the same line, mind you), then after the song is pretty much over, he jams wildly unlike any way you can imaging being appropriate for such a song and does this for some time, ending up by the speakers, playing to them creating the type of feedback you'd expect at a Crazy Horse audition. Then there is the surprise Kick Out The Jams, featuring a goofy guy named Crazy Dave (or something) sharing the vocals then doing the un-Grace-ful bellyflop into the front three rows (I think that sort of stunt is always better witnessed on film than in real life, for obvious reasons). Then again, the audience deserved that sort of hurl. They spend most of the time between songs begging for Jeff to play Hallelujah, and he seems bothered by it. He eventually gives them a piece of his mind (which I will not describe) and seems to play most of the remaining set behind closed eyes, as if, for himself.
The DVD is coupled with a documentary/interview that is captivating. He speaks so tenderly about music, like some do about love. And throughout are performances that are equally haunting. Not to mention the two acoustic versions.
Don't listen to those other people. It's good, get it.
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on 27 February 2002
The man is a legend. His voice is more powerful, more beautiful, more enrapturing than any other I have heard, and he really shows it off in this DVD. You might think someone who sings with such precision and yet such flamboyance on CD would surely be talented enough to duplicate it live, and you'd be right.
But he doesn't just duplicate. Rather than singing his way through the set, he feels it. No song is the same as on CD, and it's a thrill to watch him pour himself into each song like it was the first time he had played it in years. The sweat cascading from every gland in his body at the end of the set is a sworn testament to this. There are times when he is in go-mental-and-rock-out-forever mode when you can see perhaps where some of the more unusual moments on 'Sketches' were born from, and others (most notably in 'Lilac Wine', of which he says "A beautiful song I wish I wrote") where he almost seems haunted by the ghosts of the lyrics.
I was introduced to Jeff Buckley years ago by a friend in school who swore by him, but I was not yet ready for the complexities and the rewards he had to offer. In fact it was only after watching the film 'Shrek' and hearing a cover of 'Hallelujah' that the memory of Jeff rose to the surface again. I went straight out, purchased 'Grace' and never looked back.
Let's get one thing straight; If you're any kind of fan of Jeff Buckley, you will not be disappointed with this DVD. In addition to the generous live set, there are two rare acoustic performances of 'So Real' and 'Last Goodbye', and a superbly produced documentary (blanketed in a tasteful sepia tone), composed of intimate live performances, an insightful interview with Jeff and a 'making of' piece among other things, where you are treated to a glimpse of Jeff recording a take of 'Grace'.
The only negative comment I can make is that I suspect the performance would have been a little bit more special had the crowd not pressed Jeff for 'Hallelujah' after every song he and the band played. He gets increasingly annoyed, and his irritation eventually culminates in a blunt expression of his frustration with a few of the punters. However it is quickly forgotten as Jeff launches into the title track of his first album.
Given the fact that it will never again be possible to see him live, no fan can really afford to be without this sliver of time captured on video. Listening to his music he seems like a man tortured by the emotional lows of love, but over the course of the concert you are also witness to the good humoured, love-for-life side of Jeff, and the two seem to exist symbiotically, exposing the spirit behind the music. It is no wonder it was sold out in every shop I tried.
There are few things for twenty pounds as valuable as this.
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on 22 August 2004
I've only had this just over a week and already I must have watched it more than ten times. In response to the reviewer who suggests maybe Jeff was slighty conscious of the camera crew to begin with and that his unfilmed shows were better, I can only say those gigs must have been out of this world because this is pretty impressive stuff. The amount of times I've heard singers/bands live and they're a bit of a disappointment is beyond count, but the Jeff Buckley experience is completely different, which given the extraordinary vocal abilities he displays on Grace was what I was expecting.
The light show is purely so we can see, no psychedlic illuminations, which is certainly preferable to any epileptics but also to anyone who just wants to hear/see Jeff perform, quite simply Jeff doesn't need any gimmicks like that anyway.
For me, while the whole Dvd is brilliant, the stand out track is Mojo Pin, such a powerful, emotional performance. I really like the instrumental, Vancouver, aswell. What also comes across is Jeff's sense of humour, he's very sharp. Its a new experience for someone to amuse you one minute and astound you with their musical talent the next.
The Dvd also includes a 17 minute film - the Grace EPK - featuring snippets of interview interspersed with live performances (some at Sine and others in the studio - recording Grace) which is very interesting and shot in a sepia hue - it feels like that classy Volvo ad from the late '80s, the little girl in NY. Also included are two in studio accoustic versions of So Real and Last Goodbye, these are knock out - its easy to imagine they're recent performances in a tent at Glastonbury. If only. If you like Jeff's music at all you should buy this, I love it. Also, the band deserve mentioning, especially drummer, Matt Johnson. When he quit he was definately a loss, his skill is very versatile.
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on 30 August 2003
This is a sensational piece of history for all JB fans. I just wish we had some of the same for Tim Buckley.
This is worth buying just for the two bonus accoustic songs--So Real and The Last Goodbye. Brilliant. What else can I say?
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on 5 October 2011
Excellent concert, was unsure on first two watches due to slow intesity of some of the songs, however the more I watched it the more it grows on you, a must for JB fans that have not seen this concert, would highly recommend
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on 24 June 2000
Right, first of all, I'll just say that any Buckley fan that does not own this is missing out. This is a fantastic DVD, featuring a full concert from the Mystery White Boy tour of 1995, showcasing Jeff's talents on an array of brilliant songs, from Grace, Last Goodbye, through to What Will You Say, an instrumental version of Vancouver and even a cover of Kick Out The Jams. While it's true that I have heard better performances of some of the songs on the MWB CDs, don't let this put you off, because every performance on here is characteristically outstanding. But the best thing about this DVD is just being able to see Jeff, alive and well. Since I only got into his music last year, that is pretty damned special.
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on 14 July 2004
True, I am a big fan of Jeff Buckley. I got the DVD of his concert in Chicago to see what he was like as a live performer since we're never going to get the chance now(!) although the recording actually looks pretty dated since it was 9 years ago. The amazing thing is that you can close your eyes and hear his voice and the music and think how amazing it sounds. Then you open them and see how beautiful he was as well. A great great loss. He does tend to experiment with the songs which doesn't sound like it works to those who haven't listened to him much. But for a fan you'll take it on board and love him even more for it. And when he bites back at the crowd he sounds so rock and roll! Sigh... A must for fans.
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on 24 November 2004
Jeff Buckley is an inspiration to all. His music has so much depth and passion and his epic ablum 'Grace'is my all time favourite. This DVD allows us to what an amazing performer Jeff was, which we can know longer see. I would advice any fan of Buckley's to buy this DVD, which is a reflection of his raw and rare talent. Its extra features are brilliant including acoustic videos and the story of Jeffs life told by him himself. Buy it.
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on 11 April 2013
This dvd is just amazing like Jeff buckley voice. The quality of the image and sound is perfect. If you don't have this dvd, my friend, you don't know what you're losing.
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on 19 May 2004
It's just great to see him launch in to the songs. This is a must buy for people who have experienced the rest of Jeff's stuff.
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