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4.3 out of 5 stars
8
Live At Montreux 1974/84 [DVD] [2007]
Format: DVD|Change
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on 11 June 2017
I've enjoyed the 'radioland' period so much more after viewing this incredible collection of live recordings- though please someone dig out some more and give it to us!
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on 8 February 2016
Apart from the discs being labelled the wrong way round. Great show.
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on 29 September 2007
What a festive year 2007 has been for Mahavishnu fans,with 3 brilliant and very diverse tribute albums: Mahavishnu Project, radio.string.quartet and Colin Towes/Billy Cobham. But this excellent DVD proves the wisdom of the old saying: Ain't nothing like the real thing.

Here we get two fantastic shows. The first from 1974 with MO2 showcasing what might have been John McLaughlin's best band ever and the most musically challenging compositions from his hand. Funk, Miles Davis, Indian, classical melting together in a spiritual and cosmic whole. John's opening solo in "Wings Of Karma" being worth the price of admission alone, the dynamics, the phrasing, everything just right, each note giving its own special treatment: vibrato, glissando, in a way only Jerry Garcia could rival.

The atmosphere is loose and intense at the same time, and the band tight, anchored by a young Narada Michael Walden at the drums and the unsung basshero Ralph Armstrong playing some impressive fretless (2 years before Pastorius burst on the scene). The doll-looking Gayle Moran in pink - soon to become married to Chick Corea - plays some Carla Bley-like keyboard and occasionally lifts up her slightly shrill soprano. While Jean-Luc Ponty delivers some intenese violin. And augmented with both string quartet and a two man horn section, this is unique, visionary and mind-expaniding music of the highest calliber.

The sound is not outstanding, but certainly fine enough. And the four last tracks are audio only (so you can enjou your own inner pictures).

The 1984 show is a lot more polished effort, some slightly more mundane fusion. Though actually this somewhat underrated incarnation of the band certainly also covered quite a lot of musical ground. From muscular funk to delicate ballads like the beautiful "Nostalgia". The highlight being McLaughlin's moving tribute to another musical giant Joe Zawinul "Jozy".

The talent of the band is amazing, Bill Evans on some versatile sax, Mitchell Forman, a very creative keyboard player. Danny Gottlieb grooving hard and subtle, and the star of the show: the mighty bassman Jonas Hellborg, a great artist and technician. And quite a showman too, looking like a vampire in a silent movie. While John mainly plays his synclavierguitar broadening his sonic palette, and of course playing some great solos on this generally inspired performance from the whole band.

Essential for all lovers of John McLaughlin and creative music in general.
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on 6 October 2015
Bought as gift
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VINE VOICEon 15 October 2007
You'll soon get over the frustration of there only being 50 minutes of 'visuals' from the 1974 performance, I think. To have anything at all in the way of decently-shot footage of Mr Mclaughlin from this period is a treat indeed. These are measured, thoughtful, extended workouts of material from the 'Apocalypse' album, which I seem to recall got a general thumbs-down at the time, which I could never ever understand ( 'running headlong over a spiritual cliff' I think one review said ! ). Whilst this version of the band maybe sidestepped the sheer pyrotechnic thrills of it's work with Jan Hammer and Billy Cobham, that's not to say that this isn't some of the best work that John McLaughlin ever produced.

With regard to this actual performance, Jean-Luc Ponty's playing is every bit of a match for McLaughlin's, and his then-new and incredibly fresh-faced rhythm section are a joy to behold. With music that relies more on structured scores, the string and horn sections do sound a bit off in places, but then that just serves to remind you of the kind of 'pushing at the envelope' risks that bands like this took in these times on stage. I miss that now, I really do.

As for Brother John himself, no doubt critics will still trot out the usual guff about how playing with that kind of felicity and speed doth not make for sincere expression. I pity these people - all I get watching the man performing is the communication of pure, distilled emotion.

The whole '74 performance makes for almost two hours together with the 'audio-only' tracks - well worth the laying out of a brown one in my book.
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on 1 March 2008
I was very disappointed by the 1974 DVD, which shows only 50 minutes of the filmed concert (the rest is available as "audio only").
This is a shame, since the rest of the footage actually exists and a very good quality version of the concert is available on a DVD from the "Silver Stallion" label (unofficial), with about 2 hours of the concert (114 minutes):
- Power of Love
- Wings of Karma
- Smile of the Beyond
- Narada drum solo
- band intro
- Vision is a Naked Sword
- Hymn to Him
- Bass solo

Why did they decide to cut more than one hour of these priceless archives for the official DVD?...
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on 23 November 2007
I was a musician of the seventies that was totally inspired by the first version of this band. They were all incredible players and I was pleased to be around at this very innovative time for jazz/fusion/rock etc.
Having been in a reasonably successful band myself, and then reading the sleeve notes on the 'Forgotten Tapes' new cd (a present from my son) I was devastated to read of the bickering and partitional stuff going on that broke the original lineup ( having undergone that scenario myself).
I couldnt believe my personal Gods were capable of such behaviour.
I love this bands music in every form but the original lineup is the best. Cobhams playing on 'You Know You Know' (inner Mounting Flame)is still quite a startling piece of drumming, not the usual drumhero pyrotechnic thing but a tour de force of pure musicality/musicianship/interpretational adventure.
Sorry to waffle, not having seen this vid but just thought I'd add my opinion
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VINE VOICEon 28 October 2007
I got so excited when I heard a Mahavishnu Orchestra DVD was coming out and then got totally diappointed when I found out it was the mark 2 version. What fans really want to see is the original 5-piece MO. They were absolutely incredible. I would love to see them performing a 13 minute version of 'The Noonward Race' which I have them performing on the Mar-y-Sol pop festival album. It is staggering - you have never heard such incredible interplay between McLaughlin and Cobham on this version.
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