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End of the beginning
on 16 November 2007
For many Keane fans this live DVD will be a mixture of joy at seeing their beloved trio once again and a little sadness that the 'early' years feeling of intemacy & informal style shows must surely now be drawing to a close.
Having been fortunate enough to see a preview of this release I have to say that the homely charm of a close & slightly wobbly set such as was seen just at the end of last year at places like Alexander palace has been replaced with a hugely well oiled& slick set that no longer consists of the odd silent interval as the band ready themselves for the next song or Tom chatting away with the audience but rather the set segues seamlessly from one tune to the next. All 3 band members seem to have gained a huge amount of confidence from their world tour so that now they seem more than capable of effortlessly filling a large arena like the O2 with ease.
The set list will offer no surprises to anyone who has seen or heard Keane live before but thats not to say this is stale. Far from it the band inject a lot of energy into titles like 'Crystal ball', 'Is it any wonder' & 'Somewhere only we know' so that it's easy to forget there are just 3 people up there,while the quieter parts of the set list retain their gentle, close feel without being swamped by the arena.
The scale of things have certainly been up-scaled with the now obligitory walkway into the audience which provides a useful way of keeping the band connected to the audience during slower numbers & staves off any feeling of detachment a large venue can so often create.
Throughout the set Tom is in fine voice. He seems far more confident & at ease with both himself & the ever increasing audience. Tim continues to drive things forward with both his,(much improved), vocals & the keyboard skills which set the foundation of the Keane sound,(it's appropriate that the band start their live shows with his moody solo piece 'The iron sea'),. Meanwhile although often seeming like the quieter of the 3 onstage Richard continues to set the pace with the expert timing & rythmn that the best drummers provide to the bands they're in.
The 'live show' continues to grow & improve with the band & the excellent artwork for 'The iron sea' album by Sanna Annukka continues to be used to great effect with rear projection & a 'wraparound' screen providing visual flair to the proceedings.
The choice of Dick Carruthers as director was an inspired one as his live work with such legends as Led Zeppelin,Aerosmith & the who means he has a lot to bring to this live set. He manages the difficult balancing act of many different, close stage shots of the band that nobody would normally see that provides a sense of intemacy while at the same time he keeps the feeling of this being a big live occasion by panning along behind the audience or brief close ups that make the viewer feel part of the audience but without distracting from the performance itself.
This is a lively & involving live set that has been captured well. The DVD is about as close as you're going to get without actually being there. It captures well a band that while still in touch with their,(fiercely), loyal fans has grown a great deal over the last year.
All in all this a turning point for Keane, their first full on live DVD and with an eagerly awaited new album on the way,Amazon's description of them as an indie band may well be somewhat redundant as although they may not be about to join the mainstream of the music world,(no bad thing), the combination of this DVD & the new album is likely to see them expand their fanbase by some margin.
If you are new to Keane or just recognize a few of their tunes then this is a great place to take a closer look as this is a very impressive band onstage & never more so than here. If you're a dyed in the wool member of the Tom,Tim & Richard fanclub then get ready for what is likely to be a year of even greater heights & enjoy them at their best,live & entertaining the fans. 1 negative point is that the multi-angle icon stays on throughout the concert. Not only is this a distraction but if you own a plasma then this is going to burn. Lazy & pretty stupid really.