Focus fans can now rejoice with the release of this essential DVD from Classic Rock Productions. Culling rehearsal, studio, television, and live performances from 1971-1974, as well as a few snippits from the current incarnation of the band, this package is a treasure chest of vintage Focus, hosted by non other than keyboard/flute mainstay Thijs Van Leer.
Totaling approximately 90 minutes, the DVD is broken down into a few sections. The first is a documentary/retrospective that goes through the history of the band, splattered with lots of footage of the band in rehearsal (working on songs that would later become part of the album Moving Waves), as well as performances from the Old Grey Whistle Tests television show.If you dig tunes like "Sylvia", "House of the King", "Eruption", "Hocus Pocus", or "Fucus I-III", you will be in heaven here. Jan Akkermann's guitar playing is simply a marvel to behold, as he mixes jazz and classical styles with hard driving progressive rock. In fact, I think one of the first examples of the modern "sweep picking" guitar technique can be seen here from Mr. Akkermann. Thijs Van Leer is the man on the Hammond, trading intense unison lines with Akkermann as well as firing off sone potent flute passages. One thing is apparent throughout most of the performance clips, and that is that Focus had lots of turnover with drummers and bass players early on. You'll catch many different players throughout this DVD. There is also footage from the short-lived Philip Catherine era, after Akkermann left the band, which shows Catherine's fine, McLaughlin-ish guitar chops.
The other sections include a full medley from the Old Grey Whistle Tests in 1973, and an amazing performance of the "Hamburger Concerto" from 1974, which in my opinion is reason enough to have this DVD. This is a highly recommended addition to your progressive rock DVD collection!