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Thread: Live DVDs of modern prog bands

  1. #1

    Live DVDs of modern prog bands

    I was poring over a bunch of live DVDs by various newer bands, and I realised while it is nice to have a live document of a performance, I don't care for most of the DVDs put out.

    Let me explain. Classic bands like Yes and King Crimson used to use live concerts to reinterpret their songs. They'd add in new sections, stretch out solos, things of that nature. Nowadays, it feels like live performances are a bit too civilised. Everyone just plays the songs as they are on the album. On top of that, many bands play to a click and backing tracks, so they can't jam out even if they want to.

    Another problem is there's too many live DVDs being released. Bands like Flying Colors and Transatlantic put out a DVD for every touring cycle. What's the point? It's not like there's anything radically different about the songs live.

    The only DVDs I care for of late are ones that actually add something different from the album. I like Anathema's Universal and Dream Theater's breaking The Fourth Wall, because those shows added an orchestra, and with DT, also a choir. But a lot of others aren't that interesting. I have a few DVDs that I bought over the years, which I watched once and have never returned to and will never return to because of those issues.

    What is your opinion of live DVDs by prog bands? Do you watch them? Do you buy them? Do you just buy the live album and skip the DVD? Or do you skip live albums altogether?

  2. #2
    Profondo Giallo Crystal Plumage's Avatar
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    I have a few. I watch them. They add to the experience IMO. I don't get to see many bands live, so a DVD is most welcome.
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    I like many live DVDs a lot, though frankly I buy fewer than I did say 5-10 years ago. There are so many bands I like that I'll never have a chance to see live and the DVDs have proven to be a reasonable substitute.

    One thing I admit I hate is when DVDs are overproduced, with shots changing every second (literally...) from one musician to the other. Can't even watch it after 5-10 minutes. Gives me a headache. So some advice to bands who want to put these out. Keep it simple. No more than 4 cameras are ever needed, some good pro-shots are out there with only 2 (e.g., Upsilon Acrux). Stay focused on one musician at a time for at least 10-15 seconds. Film the guy who's doing the solo. Film the whole solo before moving to a different musician. Make sure the sound is good.

  4. #4
    Member chalkpie's Avatar
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    ^ Agreed 1000000% with this. So many concert films spoiled by constant shot edits. Do they think that's what people do when they go to see a show?

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    Member moecurlythanu's Avatar
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    If I have a choice of buying a concert 2CD or a DVD/Blu-Ray, I always opt for the latter.

    On point to the subject, one that comes to mind is Magenta. I have a DVD by them that is quite enjoyable, and an excellent representation of the live show.
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    Moderator Poisoned Youth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arturs View Post
    I like many live DVDs a lot, though frankly I buy fewer than I did say 5-10 years ago. There are so many bands I like that I'll never have a chance to see live and the DVDs have proven to be a reasonable substitute.

    One thing I admit I hate is when DVDs are overproduced, with shots changing every second (literally...) from one musician to the other. Can't even watch it after 5-10 minutes. Gives me a headache. So some advice to bands who want to put these out. Keep it simple. No more than 4 cameras are ever needed, some good pro-shots are out there with only 2 (e.g., Upsilon Acrux). Stay focused on one musician at a time for at least 10-15 seconds. Film the guy who's doing the solo. Film the whole solo before moving to a different musician. Make sure the sound is good.
    Quote Originally Posted by chalkpie View Post
    ^ Agreed 1000000% with this. So many concert films spoiled by constant shot edits. Do they think that's what people do when they go to see a show?

    Speaking as someone who has edited live performances, there are a few important factors to consider. Ideal pacing varies depending on the type of music, the type of performance, and your audience expectations. Additionally, often times cuts are made because on the quality of the coverage and camerawork. When it’s not great, you are forced into choices you normally wouldn’t make.

    So why not just have a better camera crew and production? Well, you never know the conditions of the recording. You may be in a venue that has restrictions or where you must use their crew and often you “get what you get”. If one key camera angle looks awful, or otherwise not usable, it can throw off the whole outcome. Other times it’s simply a budget issue.

    That said, I know where you’re coming from. For me, it’s about feel than following a strict pace or guideline. The only thing I really disagree with is “you can never have enough cameras.”
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    Moderator Poisoned Youth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aksnitd View Post
    I was poring over a bunch of live DVDs by various newer bands, and I realised while it is nice to have a live document of a performance, I don't care for most of the DVDs put out.

    Let me explain. Classic bands like Yes and King Crimson used to use live concerts to reinterpret their songs. They'd add in new sections, stretch out solos, things of that nature. Nowadays, it feels like live performances are a bit too civilised. Everyone just plays the songs as they are on the album. On top of that, many bands play to a click and backing tracks, so they can't jam out even if they want to.
    I think you are on to something. I am less interested in seeing the a “live” studio version and like it best when it varies from the original when possible.

    Oddly I don’t get much from watching full concerts. I prefer single songs and clips on YouTube to full performances. There are some exceptions, but largely I own very few live DVDs.
    WANTED: Sig-worthy quote.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by arturs View Post
    I like many live DVDs a lot, though frankly I buy fewer than I did say 5-10 years ago. There are so many bands I like that I'll never have a chance to see live and the DVDs have proven to be a reasonable substitute.

    One thing I admit I hate is when DVDs are overproduced, with shots changing every second (literally...) from one musician to the other. Can't even watch it after 5-10 minutes. Gives me a headache. So some advice to bands who want to put these out. Keep it simple. No more than 4 cameras are ever needed, some good pro-shots are out there with only 2 (e.g., Upsilon Acrux). Stay focused on one musician at a time for at least 10-15 seconds. Film the guy who's doing the solo. Film the whole solo before moving to a different musician. Make sure the sound is good.
    It's even worse when they cut away for interviews in the middle of a song! 3 Sides Live, Viva Santana etc.

  9. #9
    The worst I've ever seen was Yessongs. Middle of Steve Howe playing Clap and the camera is focusing on his leg and foot stomping while he's playing. WTF? 1970s production at its finest. Compared to what they did in the 70s, concert footage today is 100 times better.

  10. #10
    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    I’ll sometimes take a few concert DVDs and just watch a couple of songs from each and simulate a video playlist. Those bite sized chunks can be easier to watch.
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    I'd like to recommend Glass Hammer's third DVD "Live at the Tivoli". It was compiled from two concerts performed on October 17th, 2006 at historic theatre in Chattanooga, Tennessee. A big stage, the string trio and again a huge choir in the background. Musically, of course, what is offered is completely in order again. Everyone involved has their own musical qualities, which are fully exploited. Glass Hammer bring their symphonic widescreen sound to the stage with just as much sympho-rock and neo-prog tones and the sound of the DVD is correspondingly full. The DVD comes exclusively in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound, but it also sounds very good on stereo equipment. The 5.1 mix is ​​very successful, sometimes you're in the middle of the band, sometimes in the front row in the middle.
    Fred Schendel delivers lots of powerful keyboard work, from soaring synthesizer and strong Hammond organ to lavish Mellotron waves. David Wallimann's guitar-work is another great thing that features some fantastic solos and amazing interplay with the keyboards. The atmosphere spans from dreamily and melancholic with acoustic guitar and violins to blustering, upbeat and optimistic, with extremely enjoyable work on keys and guitar. The string ensemble makes its big appearance in the intro to "Knight of the North". Overall, an excellent work.







  12. #12
    Member rickawakeman's Avatar
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    Enjoying the new Magenta CD/DVD set. Props, costumes, actors, projections on the big screen...great show. Aryeon DVDs are always a spectacle. Recommend the Electric Castle live.

  13. #13
    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rickawakeman View Post
    Enjoying the new Magenta CD/DVD set. Props, costumes, actors, projections on the big screen...great show.
    I was watching this last night, and now I'm watching their "We Are Seven" live DVD. Chris Fry's guitar playing is so impressive and enjoyable! They have way too many live DVDs, but they ARE good.
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    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moecurlythanu View Post
    If I have a choice of buying a concert 2CD or a DVD/Blu-Ray, I always opt for the latter.
    ditto. A DVD over a double live CD, though I recon that I won't get as much mileage from the video as I would from the audio-only.

    Quote Originally Posted by Poisoned Youth View Post
    Speaking as someone who has edited live performances, there are a few important factors to consider. Ideal pacing varies depending on the type of music, the type of performance, and your audience expectations. Additionally, often times cuts are made because on the quality of the coverage and camerawork. When it’s not great, you are forced into choices you normally wouldn’t make.

    So why not just have a better camera crew and production? Well, you never know the conditions of the recording. You may be in a venue that has restrictions or where you must use their crew and often you “get what you get”. If one key camera angle looks awful, or otherwise not usable, it can throw off the whole outcome. Other times it’s simply a budget issue.

    That said, I know where you’re coming from. For me, it’s about feel than following a strict pace or guideline. The only thing I really disagree with is “you can never have enough cameras.”
    Well the problem is that unless someone in the professional filming crew (or sound & light crew at the mixing desk) knows the the band's music quite well and has the set list and takes the recording team leadership, most of the cameras are not warned of what's to come up next. Of course with sufficient cameras (and proper lightning) everything on stage will be caught and therefore well-edited when it comes to studio montage. I've seen too many times badly mixed concerts or spotlights totally missing the soloist.

    With my buddies' different bands, I've sometimes been behind the mixing desk and warning the light operator (yellow spot on the KDdist) and sound engineer (flute solo, for ex) of what's to come up next so they could prepāre or even anticipate. And these were definitely the band's best shows. At first I felt some rejection from the "pros", and they were grudgingly following my indications, but in general when the show ended they felt very glad I was there to help them.

    One of the best sounding concert I've ever witnessed was in Verviers' Spirit of 66 (generally average sounding place) with After Crying and their flutist/narrator playing and controlling the sound & light operator staying at the mixing desk. The sonics were stupendous.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wah3 View Post
    It's even worse when they cut away for interviews in the middle of a song! 3 Sides Live, Viva Santana etc.
    Dislike that too. Put them afterwards if you must include them.

    Quote Originally Posted by flowerking View Post
    The worst I've ever seen was Yessongs. Middle of Steve Howe playing Clap and the camera is focusing on his leg and foot stomping while he's playing. WTF? 1970s production at its finest. Compared to what they did in the 70s, concert footage today is 100 times better.
    Do you realize that Steve Howe's foot-stomping in The Clap is a major draw of that short instrumental.
    Generally the audience foot-stomps in unison with him.
    But of course it's nice to see his finger picking as well.
    Last edited by Trane; 08-02-2021 at 06:47 PM.
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    Member moecurlythanu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rickawakeman View Post
    Enjoying the new Magenta CD/DVD set. Props, costumes, actors, projections on the big screen...great show.
    Is that the Angels & Damned release? I just ordered that a couple days ago.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by JKL2000 View Post
    I was watching this last night, and now I'm watching their "We Are Seven" live DVD. Chris Fry's guitar playing is so impressive and enjoyable! They have way too many live DVDs, but they ARE good.
    I did not buy the We Are Seven DVD when it came out. I have been looking for it ever since without finding it. Only once have I seen it on Discogs and it was quickly bought, maybe a couple of hours, I was at work and couldn't pull the trigger. I thought it was on Vimeo as a digital download and for rent, but haven't seen it there either. I emailed the band and no reply.

    If anyone wants to sell their copy I'm interested. Sorry for using this thread, such is my wish to get this DVD.

    On subject, don't know how "modern" it is but I enjoyed Collage's Living In The Moonlight DVD. The songs are pretty close to the album versions but just having a live document of this band is something I'm grateful for.

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    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    Did you try emailing Greg Walker at Syn-Phonic?
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    Quote Originally Posted by JKL2000 View Post
    Did you try emailing Greg Walker at Syn-Phonic?
    I just got a 9 CD batch from him last week. I checked his website, knowing that it's not regularly updated, and it had the double CD of We Are Seven but not the DVD. I think for that reason it didn't occur to me to ask him about the DVD.

    I'll inquire about it this week as I have a list of other titles I'm interested in. I'll post back once he let's me know.

    Greg is a great guy and I enjoy doing business with him.

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    Member rickawakeman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moecurlythanu View Post
    Is that the Angels & Damned release? I just ordered that a couple days ago.
    That's the one. My only complaint is that the innards came torn, one of my pet peeves.

  20. #20
    Member moecurlythanu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rickawakeman View Post
    That's the one. My only complaint is that the innards came torn, one of my pet peeves.
    Mine arrived yesterday. Nothing torn, but the spine is creased. Looking at it, it was poorly designed. The width of the spine is more than the 2 folded sections put together, making the crease pretty much inevitable.
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  21. #21
    Member rickawakeman's Avatar
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    I think this is where the special edition booklet (which I paid extra for and came outside the CD package), fits in.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Monet View Post
    I'd like to recommend Glass Hammer's third DVD "Live at the Tivoli".
    I second this. I miss this DVD so much - I had to sell it for my divorce fund. Great songs, great playing, and cute gals with amazing voices.

    It's now $65 on Amazon for a used copy; I may have to take the plunge.

  23. #23
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    In my humble opinion, what Close to the Edge the album is for Symphonic rock, that is Metropolis Pt. II - Scenes From a Memory for Progressive metal & for 'modern prog' in general, and this is a great live DVD of that amazing album. Dream Theater perform the entire "Metropolis" album here and also stage it in a multimedia way.

    The narrator / hypnotist reads the introduction and the end on the stage, LaBrie begins his singing lying on a couch with his eyes closed, film sequences are repeatedly faded in or morphed with the images of the musicians and kaleidoscopic CGI sequences are played. All of this ensures that watching is always interesting and varied. But it's really fun to watch the musicians. John Myung is extremely agile and impressively fast on 6 strings on the fingerboard. Sometimes you have the feeling that he is playing the electric guitar. Craziness. Mike Portnoy is a machine. At the beginning the almost inhuman precision is almost a bit annoying, in the course his playing becomes more and more exciting, the almost two-minute drum solo over an ostinato by the other musicians towards the end of the concert is terrific. Jordan Rudess is also a crack at his manual and is gifted with quick fingers. He has many a duel with John Petrucci, in which the two complement each other perfectly and harmonize excellently with each other. During "The Dance of Eternity", Dream Theater also reveal their sense of humor here. Rudess in particular is known for its funny and loosening sprinkles, but whoever hears his ragtime solo for the first time in the context of this piece should only come to one conclusion: there are obviously magicians at work here. Otherwise, you should lean back, count the time and tempo changes and just listen to the deconstruction of Metropolis Part One, which is newly created in the musical equivalent of an "impossible" Escher's lithograph.

    Finally, Petrucci is felt most often in the picture and also convinces with virtuoso playing. Watching the musicians' fingers and sticks at work is exciting and somehow makes the music much more noticeable and tangible. With this DVD, the perfect studio album has gained even a little more for me.
    Watching "Metropolis 2000: Scenes From New York" is hell of a ride. Grandiose finale is probably the best live version of "A Change of Seasons" that they have ever done.
    Definitely, this DVD is a must have to every prog-head.








    Attachment 15324

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Monet View Post
    In my humble opinion, what Close to the Edge the album is for Symphonic rock, that is Metropolis Pt. II - Scenes From a Memory for Progressive metal & for 'modern prog' in general, and this is a great live DVD of that amazing album. Dream Theater perform the entire "Metropolis" album here and also stage it in a multimedia way.

    The narrator / hypnotist reads the introduction and the end on the stage, LaBrie begins his singing lying on a couch with his eyes closed, film sequences are repeatedly faded in or morphed with the images of the musicians and kaleidoscopic CGI sequences are played. All of this ensures that watching is always interesting and varied. But it's really fun to watch the musicians. John Myung is extremely agile and impressively fast on 6 strings on the fingerboard. Sometimes you have the feeling that he is playing the electric guitar. Craziness. Mike Portnoy is a machine. At the beginning the almost inhuman precision is almost a bit annoying, in the course his playing becomes more and more exciting, the almost two-minute drum solo over an ostinato by the other musicians towards the end of the concert is terrific. Jordan Rudess is also a crack at his manual and is gifted with quick fingers. He has many a duel with John Petrucci, in which the two complement each other perfectly and harmonize excellently with each other. During "The Dance of Eternity", Dream Theater also reveal their sense of humor here. Rudess in particular is known for its funny and loosening sprinkles, but whoever hears his ragtime solo for the first time in the context of this piece should only come to one conclusion: there are obviously magicians at work here. Otherwise, you should lean back, count the time and tempo changes and just listen to the deconstruction of Metropolis Part One, which is newly created in the musical equivalent of an "impossible" Escher's lithograph.

    Finally, Petrucci is felt most often in the picture and also convinces with virtuoso playing. Watching the musicians' fingers and sticks at work is exciting and somehow makes the music much more noticeable and tangible. With this DVD, the perfect studio album has gained even a little more for me.
    Watching "Metropolis 2000: Scenes From New York" is hell of a ride. Grandiose finale is probably the best live version of "A Change of Seasons" that they have ever done.
    Definitely, this DVD is a must have to every prog-head.








    Attachment 15324
    I couldn't agree more. The elephant in the room has always been James LaBrie's voice. I won't beat a dead horse. I personally think that if you're a talented and creative enough band, vocals shouldn't detract from the sum of the parts. The first tattoo I ever got was DT's majesty symbol, in no small part due to hearing Scenes From a Memory followed by this live document a couple/few short years after the gig and being flabbergasted. Then they followed it up with Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence!
    'The smell of strange colours are heard everywhere'- Threshold

  25. #25
    One of my favouties is Mike Keneally - Bakin at the Potato - No fancy vdieo or rapid edits just a great performace and really fantstic audio mix.

    I think that the video production companies/record companies want something eye catching to sell the band rather than something that will please the fans.
    This discussion has reminded me of the awful unecessary canned cheering throughout ARW's Live at the Apollo. Phewee

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