December 27, 2005

He wakes up in the morning

5 out of 5 stars

How about those urges? I'm a very inactive person. Not passive, just not active. I think quite a lot, don't worry, there is a reason I'm at this university, but I tend to forget to write thoughts down and do something with them. Sitting around all day thinking wears me out, but I need actual exercise if I want to sleep at night. Similarly, I need not forget to do some proper thinking on a hard day's work [to me, singing in Revelation or doing a day's Christmas shopping in London or Amsterdam counts as exercise]. Thinking time can be replaced by chilling to the best CD I bought in ages - Carole King's Tapestry [thanks for the suggestion Vix!].

After a day of hard work – the kind of day I have when I have walked the Maths Department – Student's Union path in 5 different ways, only to find out I spend the same amount of time no matter which path I take – it's an urge to listen to something smooth, or to watch something mindnumbing such as Neighbours. I haven't had the pleasure to get into the storylines of the main Australian export product, mainly because fortunately those days don't happen too often.

No, then the opposite: days I just get to sit in the maths common room, trying to find where I forgot the semicolon in my m-file this time, only interrupted by the occasional visit from my supervisor giving another direction to the research. I'm safe on Tuesdays, when the silence is broken by Rev and 2 hours of recharging of the brain by releasing all energy by singing and jumping around pure chaos. But that's just one in seven days. The best way I can recreate the Rev atmosphere at home is – you guessed it – to turn on the taps and put on some Bon Jovi and run through the house singing and dancing along while cleaning dishes. The foam acts as the chaos part here.

Bon Jovi is just an example – anything loud with as much diversity and as much sound as possible will do. On a more contemplative day, Israel will do, and The Killers did a great job last year. While looking for my family's Christmas presents [at Fame in Amsterdam, if for some reason you need to buy something CD/DVD/Game related and you're in Holland, it's a good place to start] I came across the best that would encompass my 1 CD + 1 DVD limit for this year's holidays. It's actually 2 CDs and a DVD, but since they come in one box I thought it'd be ok. And it's more than ok!

Guitar, Bass, Drums, Violins, Brass, South-African voice that can linger – yup, the noise criterium is met. It all comes together in a great sound full of funk and rhythm that would endanger the melody requirement [melody - can't sing along if there isn't a recognizable tune!] if it weren't for the amazing song structures the musicians [or maybe just Dave Matthews] come up with. This particular collection has 27 tracks, 2 of which are part of a documentary [mainly pretty pictures with pretty Dave Matthews Band(DMB) background music, talking about how the concert came together], and 3 contain two songs – I don't know how many songs are on their name now, but DMB have a big enough selection to have some songs beautifully complementing one another.

Where many bands tend to create a great studio sound, but fail to convince us in live sets, DMB's live sets are mostly beyond amazing, where their studio albums usually sound downright dull. Their Central Park Concert suffered from a poor song selection, resulting in me only taking 1 of 3 CDs to England. Using the mirror, it's my loss I haven't given the new songs from those studio albums [Everyday and Busted Stuff] a fair chance. On the other hand, it's the great instrumental intermezzos or elaborations on songs that make the live sessions so great, and apparently they only worked in the older, better known songs. On The Gorge, the band seem to have had enough time to elaborate on those newer songs, and create new 'classic' overlaps with for instance Everyday and Where are you going.

Any DMB - even a studio album – would deserve 3 stars under my regime. A live album with a proper song selection would get to 4 stars, but in this case it's the DVD that earns this collection the ultimate star. I didn't really understand the appeal of music DVDs, and it's mainly the CDs that made me pick this set. But then us poor Europeans will need to pay for a ticket to America to see this band live, and even if only in your living room, with a DVD you get to see the band live. This concert's director has done an amazing job in capturing the essence of the band, where everyone has a vital part and encourages one another. So much fun on stage is mirrored by the crowd, who are ecstatic seeing the best band in the most beautiful surroundings [indeed, the 'gorge', in Washington State along the Columbia river looking over the river's canyons]. Seeing the band is called Dave Matthews Band, it wouldn't be unthinkable to see him 90% on your screen, but instead, the dirctor focuses on the key band member of each phrase, cunningly using the gigantic screen behind the band to capture the crowd or another band member. The Oscar in this case goes to the violinist, who becomes one with his instrument and puts so much drama and energy in his play that he gets the band to center around him on his solos, without ever forgetting to support the rest when his part is absent, even if only plucking the occasional string of his violin. And he never stops smiling.

Get this set if you've ever thought DMB are good. If you're interested in this band, this might be a bit too much to start with, but it's probably their best collection to date. If you'd like to hear a few songs first, I'm not sure if they're on iTunes, but try and find Ants Marching, The Space Between [was a minor hit record a few years ago, I think as part of a Nokia ad], #41, or Lie In Our Graves.

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