Anyone who likes the music of Claudia Brucken, Onetwo, Act, Heaven 17, and, of course, Propaganda will want this DVD/CD package, which features the best known songs from all of these plus a few cover versions.
Special guests include Glenn Gregory, Andy Bell, Martyn Ware, Andrew Poppy and two of the original members of Propaganda, Susanne Freytag and Ralf Dorper.
The house band is excellent and so is the sound thanks to Paul Humphreys, who was the musical director, producer and did the mixing.
While the integrity of the original studio recordings is maintained (the Propaganda tracks actually include samples licensed from ZTT, we are told), there are some nice "live" touches like the brilliant guitar solo at the end of "Cloud 9".
The CD omits a few of the tracks featured on the DVD though in my opinion the best ones were included. The DVD extras are minimal but that didn't seem to matter - these days the music is what counts.
Everyone on stage seems pretty relaxed and generous. It appears as though both the musicians and the audience were having a great time that night.
This one-off Claudia fest that took place at the Kings Cross Scala in March 2011 is pretty much everything a CB admirer could wish for - it features the best examples from her career both as a solo artiste and as part of Propaganda, Act, Andrew Poppy duo, Onetwo (collaborator Paul Humphreys was musical director of this concert), played live and immaculately throughout. Solid support from all the musicians in the special band, plus rather striking backing singer/feature dancer Melissa D'Arcy.
Special guests popping up include Susanne Freytag and (a rather unenthusiastic looking) Ralf Dörper from Propaganda, Andy Bell, Glenn Gregory and Martyn Ware of Heaven 17, and minimalist composer/pianist Andrew Poppy. CB herself never flags through the performance, although she looks a tad unrelaxed to begin with. The voice is as lyrical, powerful and assured as ever.
One was, however, left wondering how commercially successful a venture the gig turned out to be on the night. The impression is that the attendant audience did not actually fill the Scala to the rafters, and such shots of the audience that are included tend to reveal a highly appreciative crowd of blokes of the more mature variety (such as me), getting with the beat: is such CB's fanbase these days?
CB has been having somewhat of a renaissance over the last two years, but has it come too late to turn on new and more contemporary audience to her iconic status among certain sections of the cognoscenti? The CB cognoscenti, meanwhile, should purchase this release at all costs (well, to the value of ten quid, say) and with all speed. You will not be disappointed.
A tiny quibble is in the picture formatting of the DVD. Although almost certainly originated on video - possibly even HD video - the producers seem to have followed the trend of applying a post-production filter so that the the look has a 'filmic' quality. This for me always dulls the sense of viewing a live event. It also to an extent creates a slight dissonance between the 'as live' soundtrack and 'as recorded' visuals. Yet this is the customary way of presenting concert coverage these days; I'd rather have the raw video experience, to be honest.
This aside, a brilliant record of a charismatic performer who clearly has many more strengths to go to.
To tie in and celebrate the release of Claudia Brucken's 'Combined', the CD covering the greatest songs of her career, she, band including Paul Humphries and guests Susanne Freytag and Ralf Dorper of Propaganda, Glenn Gregory and Martyn Ware of Heaven 17, Andrew Poppy and Andy Bell performed for one night only on March 2nd 2011 at the Scala, Kings Cross London.
Amongst the Propaganda, Act, Onetwo and solo songs performed the highlights are the 'Heaven 17' trio of songs, including an early version of 'Temptation' where Glenn Gregory puts on a fine performance, the gorgeous take on 'In Dreams' with Andrew Poppy, the crowd's reaction to the introduction of P:Machinery and the jewel that is 'Duel'. Rather cute is Susanne's awkwardness just standing there for sometimes minutes at a time doing nothing. Bless her! Dancing was never her strong point!
It shows a wonderful, intimate, relaxed and friendly night; and is a wonderful DVD to have, and of course a compulsory purchase if you are a Propaganda or Claudia fan and an interesting one for 80s fans too, showing the wonderful talent Claudia has and the varied career she has had. The band, thanks to director Paul Humphreys, sound tight and they even do the Propaganda songs justice, mixing samples with a great live sound.
Three little annoyances; firstly, someone should have told that bloke in front of Claudia to stop waving his arms about like that. There's always one to take your eyes away from the stage! Secondly the backing singer's moves during Duel are very questionable. I was waiting for her to get her kit off! Lastly, and more seriously, I do not know why they included 'Dream Within a Dream' on the CD when Claudia does not feature and exclude 'Delicious' with Andy Bell.
I love Claudia Brucken. From when Propaganda first came out through her solo album and collaboration with Thomas Leer and One Two. Her voice is wonderfully rich and exotic and, for me, is reminiscent of the 30s Weimar Kabarett singers. I was lucky enough to meet her briefly when she came to the recording studio I was working at to record Baby Sigh on her solo album and I have seen her live with OneTwo when they supported Human League a couple of years ago. Therefore, I was very keen to get this DVD as I really wanted to see her sing all of her classic songs live, together with guest singers. The concert is great and all the hits are here and more. I loved the duets with Glen Gregory who is always a star but, for me, the highlights were the Propaganda songs with Susan Freytag and Snobbery and Decay which is one of my all time faves. The DVD also comes with a CD so you can listen to it all in the car too which is great. My only slight disappointment with the DVD is the bonus material which is just a series of behind the scenes photos with one of the live songs as a background. Not that this is a major problem but I would have loved to have seen a proper interview with Claudia or a documentary on her career. Oh well, maybe next time.
Claudia sounds great, after slight faltering start, and the cameos by many relevant collaborators makes this extra special. Suzanne and Ralf pop up and assist with some Propaganda classics (no Mr Mertens though). Andy Bell sings a duet on the DVD, though space meant this was dropped from the CD, as does Glenn Gregory and Andrew Poppy (on piano, not on vocals).
A very wide range of styles and material make this a must have for Claudia/Propaganda/80s music fans, particularly whilst its under a tenner! The DVD extras are a little disappointing but as the real ticket was for the gig, having the bonus CD more than makes up for this. Psul has done a great job with the sound mixing, and is clearly happy at the controls.
With news of a new CB album waiting in the wings this is all very promising.....
What can I say? This blew me away. Lovely arrangements by Paul Humphrys of OMD fame, Claudia's great vocals throughout and fantastic guests including most of the classic Propaganda lineup. Susanne Freitag's contributions are a revelation and reinforce the fact that she was a powerful member of Propaganda.
First off I do really like Claudia and propaganda and her work with Paul humphreys, but even so when it comes to complex electronic music being played live and vocal performances it can sometimes be a let down and spoil the utopian vision you have of the artist. This is most definitely NOT the case here....Claudia's vocals are unbelievably superb....WOW. Excellent arrangements and back up band.....do not hesitate in buying this....
I was at this show at the Scala and what a night it was and was just like having a gig in your own front room ,too many highlights to mention but will say seeing Suzanne Freytag and Claudia on the same stage was a thrill ,then they went and repeated this show last year at the Bush Hall in London with Andy Mclusky from OMD appearing instead of Andy Bell and performing Messages with Claudia which i also attended. This DVD/CD is an absolute must for any Claudia Brucken/Propaganda fans
Can't really complain about anything on this CD, except that I wish some of the DVD songs had been the choices on the CD... like Andy Bell duet. The sound is great! Claudia sounds great! The music is spot on. Glenn Gregory has sounded better, but a well, so have I! You'll be happy with this quality release! I was/ am!