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Buy it for the DVD only
on 8 October 2009
I have owned "The Isle Of View" on CD since the week it was first released in 1995. Shortly after the release, the performance movie was shown on UK television and I had wanted to buy the film ever since.
The chance to buy a fresh copy of the CD along with the precious DVD arrived with this (US released) package. Not only that, the track listing on this new CD was slightly different to my English and 1995 vintage copy. A chance to see and hear The Pretenders performing "Creep" by Radiohead was simply to good to miss!
The good news: the DVD is how I seem to remember the TV broadcast, but seems to be an even longer. Possibly the Beeb (I think it was them) showed a slightly abridged version all those years ago, but there certainly seems more. In this case, more IS more, with every track a gem. Fine performances by the band, the Duke Quartet on strings, and Damon Albarn on piano for one track. Great stuff.
The bad news; the CD is The Pants. The track editting sounds like it has been conducted by some amphetamine-fuelled monkey. Every track seems to start with an ultra swift transition from silence to full-volume, but only when the band are actually into the song. Similarly, no sooner has the first ripple of applause heralded the beginning of the end of the song, then the song is cut to silence in double-quick time. The concept of segueing the applause in order to maintain the mood is clearly wasted on whoever was allowed to cut this mix. Amateur hour at Warners!
If you want to see The Pretenders performing some wonderful songs in a different manner to their original record release, then buy this release for the DVD alone, or try to to get the DVD on its own if it is at all available.
On the other hand, if you want to hear the songs as Stephen Street and his production team originally intended, please do NOT buy this package. It's a duffer and you are better off trying to get the original CD only release, which I think is being imported and is available.