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This review is from: Sebastian Bach - ABACHALYPSE NOW (Audio CD)
OK, I think Alive & Kicking, the last studio album by Seb is excellent, so I was excited enough about this 2CD + DVD live release to pre-order it.
First the good - the packaging is great and Seb's commitment and energy live on stage remains as high as I remember from seeing him live, both with Skid Row, and again on the "with friends" tour in 2004.
Now the not so good:
Seb has admitted online that much like some of the great live albums of old these live performances have been "touched up" with studio work to improve the quality after the original gigs. The trouble is, it's too obvious that this is the case. There are moments on the CDs when you sense the studio stuff kicking in, and then cutting back to the "original" live recording. Seb is adamant that the DVD versions haven't had the same treatment, but to my ears the DVD soundtrack sounds like the CD audio overlaid. I have too much respect for the man to suggest he's fibbing, I'll let you judge for yourselves, but I swear there are bits on the DVD where he finishes the note, pulls the mic away, but the soundtrack has the singing note held. The final set on the DVD is the only one where I believe the sound is all original, but as Seb mentions when he introduces it, the poor weather played havoc with the recording equipment so it's pretty up and down throughout that set. Kinda like a good-ish bootleg.
Secondly, as has also been reported online Seb and Nick Sterling (the principal guitarist who co-wrote a significant chunk of Kicking & Screaming) have fallen out over a contract disagreement prior to a TV appearance in America. Possibly as a result of that Nick is hardly shown in any of the DVD footage, and is completely missing at the Nokia LA gig. There are plenty of shots of the other guitarist, the drummer, and of course Seb, but only glimpses of Nick's guitar in close up, the frets, etc. In addition some of the live festival footage was clearly filmed by the organisers of the festival rather than a dedicated crew. There are plenty of moments where the camera is on the wrong bit of the action, eg we're watching the rhythm guitar whilst missing a blistering solo on the other side of the stage. Still, the two girls at the front of the crowd at one of the festival gigs get plenty of air time, certainly more than Nick Sterling!
In summary, the quality of live DVDs has come on leaps and bounds in recent years, so perhaps I've been spoilt by Alter Bridge's bar-raising Amsterdam and Wembley DVDs by Daniel E Catulo III. I'm sure I'll stick the CDs in the car in the summer for the Friday afternoon drive home from work, and I'll forgive the tinkering. I cannot whole heartedly recommend the DVD release however.
Not wanting to stoke the argument about Skid Row reunions etc, but I watched this DVD on Saturday last, and then had the pleasure of seeing Skid Row at Cardiff Uni the same night. There's room in my CD rack for both Seb and Skid Row, but based on Saturday's experience I would happily have paid for a live CD of that gig - no touch ups required, Solinger's voice was excellent.