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Portishead - PNYC - Live At The Roseland Theatre  [DVD]
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Portishead perform live at the Roseland Ballroom in New York on 24th July 1997. Tracks include 'Sour Times', 'Numb', 'Half Day Closing' and 'Western Eyes'. Also featured is a previously unreleased short film.
This famous filming of Portishead's first-ever live gig in New York--along with the accompanying album--is now considered a modern classic. The concert itself is a wonder to behold, as Portishead (Geoff Barrows, Adrian Utley, Beth Gibbons, Andy Smith) smoke cigarettes, chew gum, scratch records and behave in a generally hip manner while around them the 30-piece New York philharmonic orchestra and a five-piece horn ensemble do their thing. The performance and subsequent recording of this gig has, in some cases, offered a preferred body of work to Portishead's studio based albums, proving that live gigs do not necessarily equal poor production values. From the haunting "All Mine" to the ever-popular "Glory Box" the energy from the band members and the welcome addition of a live orchestra adds a breathtaking edge to the well-known tunes. The camera adds to the magic of the concert, sweeping majestically across the action and the audience, helping to capture the slow, silky essence of this urbanized opulence.
On the DVD: As well as re-EQ'ing all of the music, the band have provided extra musical snippets, footage from their world tour (which followed this concert), an exclusive acoustic version of "Wandering Star", all of their music videos and the cultish short film they made in 1994. The "road tour" section is quite dull, shot from a car racing around provincial England (Portishead, mainly). The music videos, by and large, are more interesting and artful, particularly the video for "Only You" which is undeniably beautiful. The parting shot is their short movie "To Kill A Dead Man" (directed, shot, acted and scored by the band), which is entertaining, despite the hefty disclaimer that precedes it. All in all this is a very comprehensive overview of one of the 90s' most revered bands and a worthy purchase even for those who have the original VHS edition.--Paul Sullivan
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Top Customer Reviews
Previously available on VHS and Audio CD, and now quite rightly transferred across to DVD (I have been waiting for this for *ages*!), it is an absolute essential purchase. BUY IT!
For those of you who don't know Beth Gibbons, she is arguably one of the greatest female vocalists ever, definitely of the last 15 years. Here she is on fire, filling the opening number with aching sadness before launching into 'Cowboys' with a passion that is quite frankly frightening.
The playlist is well chosen, shifting from the sublime 'Only You' to the sinister and scary 'Over'. This last track shows Gibbons at her most ferocious, with the drumbeats and turntables beinhd her going nuts. When this song crescendos, it's a 'hide behind the sofa' moment. Then they move in 'Glorybox', before launching into an amazing version of 'Sour Times' which ends the main act. All these tracks show just what an amazing voice Beth has, but it is on the 1st track of the encore that you realise just exactly how wonderful she can be. This version of 'Roads' (possibly my favourite track from 'Dummy') is heart-breakingly, soul-achingly beautiful, mournful, fragile, the sort of music you could fall in love in time to.
Overall, this is amazing, superlative live material from a band at their peak. Buy this, their studio albums and Gibbons' solo debut, you will not regret it.
Musically, some of the choons you may be very familiar with sound slightly different here - some of Geoff's big boomy drum samples don't always seem to be as large and apocalyptic compared to when heard on disc - but it's not a gripe, just different. I haven't heard the CD version of this gig so things may be different.
The extras are fantastic. The video for 'Over' is so simple yet powerful and very noir influenced. Great to see 'To Kill A Dead Man Again' after so long! The only true gripe, perhaps others can enlighten me, is the missing Glory Box video. It isn't on this set which I can't understand. Is it hidden or something? Otherwise, a super DVD. Go get it!
If you like Portishead, get this Dvd and then you will love them! That's what happened to me anyway..
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very good live performance well worth buying if your a portishead fan! FantasticPublished 21 months ago by stephen roach
Finally got this again after not hearing for years. If anything, better live than in studio. Brilliant recording, So recommended...Published on 9 Jun. 2014 by dalongbloke
SIMPLY AMAZING! Its a great DVD, i enjoyed it very much i would recommend you to buy it, as a gift or for yourself.Published on 18 Aug. 2012 by Jay