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Niacin: Live in Tokyo (DVD)

The cramped stage and relaxed aura of this brief DVD capturing bassist Billy Sheehan, Hammond B3 organist John Novello and drummer Dennis Chambers in concert at Tokyo's Blue Note in 1997 belies the mammoth music that the mighty instrumental trio known as Niacin makes. Positioned almost on top of each other onstage, with even Sheehan taking a seat for the entire set, the band seldom slows down the pace or the intensity.

(Buyer beware: Live In Tokyo is the same video as Live: Blood, Sweat & Beers, released in 2003 by Image Entertainment. Why?)

In case you missed it the first time, though, this DVD offers a concise showcase for a band equally adept at fiery soloing and deep grooving. Niacin airs much of its debut album here, plus their interpretations of Weather Report's "Birdland" and the Supremes' "You Keep Me Hangin' On" all without the band getting too self-indulgent. Extreme close-ups of the players' animated faces and fingers enhance this viewing experience, with "One Less Worry," in particular, showing off each musician's strengths. This DVD's main weakness in addition to the 57-minute running time, lack of bonus features and the fact that it's already been released under a different title is choppy between-song editing, which cuts off the audience in mid-applause and eliminates practically all band banter. Still, that annoyance does not detract from the music, which is some of the most enthusiastic and best-played fusion you'll likely ever hear. Four-and-a-half-stars for the performances on this DVD; two for their questionable presentation and repackaging.

Track Listing:
1) No Man's Land
2) Do A Little Dirty Work
3) I Miss You (Like I Miss The Sun)
4) One Less Worry
5) Pay Dirt
6) Klaghorn
7) Birdland
8) Niacin
9) You Keep Me Hangin' On
10) Three Feet Back (played during the credits)

Added: July 17th 2005
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Official Niacin Web Site
Hits: 2790
Language: english

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