7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
A must for Vai devotees and fans of progressive/instrumental rock,
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This review is from: Visual Sound Theories [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
First off, let me remind you that this is a Steve Vai DVD. Therefore, if you are even looking at this release, you are probably already a fan!
This is a great chance to see Steve doing what only he does in a brand new context - live in Holland with a full orchestra. The group is massive - all the normal orchestral instruments are supplemented with no less than 3 percussionists AND a drummer, plus backup electric guitars, bass and keys. It's nice to hear a real grand piano as well, which is so often missing from modern jazz and rock concerts - i never feel that any of the sampled pianos available to touring keyboardists touch on the dynamics and expression of the real thing.
It's quite bizarre to see Steve's posturing and posing alongside the relatively sedate orchestra, but you can see that everyone involved (especially the conductor) are having a really good time. The sound recording is generally of a very high standard, much better than most live music DVDs, and the film editing is also reasonably good, with a nice selection of camera angles and not relying on the cheesy video effects that often plague these releases. Personally I felt that the drummer was a little low in the mix, but I guess this was a deliberate decision to maintain the originality of the project.
The other thing is that the arrangements are, at points, brilliant. It is constantly a surprise and a delight to see how Steve and his collaborators have reimagined the original compositions to take advantage of the many timbres, articulations and rich, full harmonies available when you have 80 or so musicians on the stage... The songs sound very different but are still very much recognisable. Of particular merit, and for me the standout moment of the DVD is "The Attidude Song" which had me applauding in my living room! In conclusion, this is an excellent DVD if you like this kind of thing, and fans who are worried that Vai will sound out of context or a little weak away from his normal band should rest assured that this is one of his best video releases, certainly a lot more enjoyable than anything else apart from "Live at the Astoria London".