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SBB: Live In Theatre 2005 (DVD)

As big a name as S.B.B. have proved to be in Poland, I must confess to finding this DVD a little disappointing for a number of reasons that would not become apparent to someone merely glancing at the DVD's cover. Although the set list includes no less than 15 long songs as well as some additional bonus material, the songs being played simply lack a lot of dynamism or coherence between the 3 players.

Despite Jόsef Skrzek being a formidable keyboard player, reasonable vocalist and sometime bass player, it's not always possible to accomplish all three tasks really well simultaneously while performing live. Sure, you could easily overcome the shortage of available musicians in the studio but when Jόsef has to continually swap his bass guitar for his piano, then for his bass, then for his moog, and then back to his bass after almost every song, it becomes a little tedious to say the least. As a singer, Jόsef really is probably past his prime as he often fails to reach the higher notes comfortably despite his conscious efforts to do so long after it has become apparent to the audience that it ain't gonna happen with this particular song.

Similarly, the guitarist, Apostolis Anthimos, often plays with a somewhat lacklustre attitude as his playing finds too many errors and softer sections where he delivers only a snippet of what I am sure he could ultimately achieve given some additional impetus from a guest bass player or back up vocalist as there is little evidence of a wall of sound so often experienced with live performances. For this reason alone, the performance is somewhat sterile and certainly not indicative of a band in its prime. In reality, you'd be forgiven for thinking this was a reunion of some old geezers who hadn't played for over a decade. It's not that they can't play. Nothing could be further from the truth. However, I often found some sections of the concert to be a little soporific so I am putting this down to being caused by a less than riveting selection of songs to be included in their set list rather than any particular inadequacies in each musicians ability.

If it were not for Paul Wertico's unusual but entertaining drum solo, this would have been more of a let down as it provides one of the better aspects of the overall performance. Given the incredible history this band has developed over many decades of playing together and with Jόsef's remarkable talents, it would take a lot more than this performance to convince me that S.B.B. were as good now as in their hey day.

The DVD features a smattering of new songs from the band's 2005 release called "New Century" as well as some older classic tracks in addition to some songs from Jόsef's recent solo album entitled "U stόp krzyża" All in all, this is not bad as an overall package but far from the best example of this bands potential. The highlight track for me was "Wojownicy Itaki" which has a beautiful melody and a easily recognisable familiarity of a song I could have sworn I had heard previously.

Considering this bands prodigious output with either studio or live CD's and with a 22 CD boxed set under their belt, their first live DVD will be surely snapped up by their army of devotees but might be bypassed by a casual listener with an enquiring mind. This is just adequate but certainly not essential unless you are the serious collector of everything this band has produced.

Track Details:

1. Stary czlowiek w milczącym ogrodzie
2. Odlot / Carry Me Away
3. Wolność z nami
4. W kołysce dloni twych
5. New Century
6. Wojownicy Itaki
7. Całkiem Spokojne zmeczenie
8. Paul Wertico's Drum Solo
9. Memento z banalnym tryptykiem
10. Golden Harp
11. Z ktόrych krwi krew moja
12. Music Is My Life


13. Walkin' Around Stormy Bay
14. Pieśń stojącego w bramie
15. Rainbow Man

Added: August 5th 2006
Reviewer: Greg Cummins
Related Link: Band's Web Site
Hits: 2374
Language: english

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