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Mostly Autumn: The V Shows (DVD)

Note to Classic Rock Productions: Mostly Autumn are not "the next Pink Floyd". They are a hugely talented group that deserve better than to be marketed as some sort of Pink Floyd tribute band. This form of false promotion has caused Mostly Autumn to receive an unfair amount of flak from the progressive rock community. The band no longer needs to be validated by Rick Wright of Pink Floyd fame nor his glowing and too frequently cited blurb: "I've been listening to this amazing new band called Mostly Autumn". Public service announcement over.

The V Shows documents Mostly Autumn's May 8, 2004 concert at the Astoria Theatre in London. The band has risen to a new level of professionalism as anyone can see by viewing the new DVD, while the "mind blowing lightshow" is rendered somewhat superfluous by the band's palpable charisma. Yes, the laser effects are indeed impressive but what really makes the concert special is that the chemistry within the band has become so much more powerful since The Story So Far: this group is tight, even if they are not generally regarded as virtuosos.

Disc One is the Passengers album in its entirety but in a new running order that successfully contrasts the band's symphonic rock tendencies with their more overtly commercial songs. The addition of a string section gives the arrangements a hearty boost and now that flautist Angela Goldthorpe is accompanying Iain Jennings on keyboards, songs like "Pass the Clock" and "Distant Train" dramatically come to life. Additionally, Troy Donockley of the band Iona guests on several tracks and ably augments Mostly Autumn's folk rock inclinations.

Disc Two presents the second half of the concert, which is a sort of "best of" selection from their first three albums. The audience is treated to splendid takes of "The Night Sky", "The Spirit of Autumn Past" and the rocking "Never the Rainbow". The encore of Genesis' "Afterglow" is similarly moving and a terrific way to end the concert.

Vocalist Heather Findlay has never sounded better and her soulful voice has become one of the band's most distinctive features. She also possesses an enchanting stage presence and what with her multiple costume changes and hippy chick sex appeal is really the visual focus of the concert despite the lighting effects and film projections. Guitarist and vocalist Bryan Josh may be quite passive on stage by comparison but his playing is anything but inert . Those grand David Gilmour-esque solos are even more emotionally charged in a live environment and his performance on "Heroes Never Die" is sure to send shivers up and down the spine.

The video quality is indeed excellent and there are three audio mixes to choose from. The DVD is attractively packaged with a booklet containing an essay and photos on the inner spine. The bad news is that the 129 minute concert is needlessly spread across 2 DVDs and contains no bonus features whatsoever. Suspiciously, The V Shows is the band's second limited edition double disc set to cost a small fortune only to be made available to the general public 6 months later in truncated form on a single disc for a third of the price. That's right, most of the concert is now available on a single disc-with a couple of bonus videos!

Final verdict: Mostly Autumn's performance rocks but unless you're a completist, you can save yourself a bundle by springing for the abridged single disc version. Classic Rock Productions should be ashamed.

Program Contents

DVD One

  1. Caught in a Fold
  2. Something in Between
  3. Another Life
  4. First Thought
  5. Pure White Light
  6. Simple Ways
  7. Bitterness Burnt
  8. Distant Train
  9. Answer the Question
  10. Pass the Clock
  11. Passengers

DVD Two

  1. The Night Sky
  2. The Spirit of Autumn Past
  3. Evergreen
  4. Never the Rainbow
  5. Heroes Never Die
  6. Mother Nature
  7. Afterglow

Added: January 15th 2005
Reviewer: Steve Pettengill
Score:
Related Link: Official Mostly Autumn Home Page
Hits: 2412
Language: english

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