What an infuriating mess of a DVD this is! I was really hoping to have a definitive representation of Nektar's performance at the annual Nearfest in Trenton, NJ. I attended the concert and for anyone else that was there, most will agree that Nektar's performance was exhilarating and exhausting. The band played for nearly 3 hours and one would never know that the band had only started rehearsals a week before. Though I expected Nektar Live to be somewhat abridged, I had no idea it was going to be so absurdly presented.
The DVD starts off promisingly enough as Taff Freeman sounds off the organ introduction to "A Tab in the Ocean". I could feel the hairs standing up on my arms as I did at the festival. But just after the main theme of the piece gets into high gear, we are given monochromatic 8MM stock footage of the members of Nektar riding bicycles somewhere in Germany in the early 1970s! Worse yet, during the course of the song "A Tab in the Ocean", black and white rehearsal footage is slapped in over the concert itself. But most annoyingly of all, the band members are briefly interviewed after the song ends. Make sure you have the remote handy so you can turn the soundtrack down. Ouch!
Unfortunately, that's pretty much the pattern of the entire DVD. Each performance is interrupted by rehearsal/vintage footage and/or computer animation along with the occasional liquid light display to remind us that we're looking at a Nektar concert. The editing is possibly the worst I've ever seen of a concert film. Did the producers think that the concert itself wasn't exciting enough and they just had to throw in extra padding to maintain our interest? At 92 minutes, the concert is certainly trimmed down quite a bit.
I haven't even gotten to the worst part of the disc yet! During the course of the DVD, Liz Steen, "The Norwegian Rock Goddess" interviews various band members. This is all well and good but most of these interviews are repeated in the bonus section of the DVD!! Now I appreciate sexy women as much as the next guy, but it seems to me that the director simply had to ogle over Liz Steen one more time! The only true extra material is when she puts her arm around a few concert attendees and asks them questions about Nektar. This was actually the best part of the disc. Some of their responses are hilarious.
If you think I'm perhaps overemphasizing the director's decision to include more of a "feminine" touch to the proceedings, cue up any song title on the disc. The cameramen focus on the female backing singers as much as they do on guitarist Roye Albrighton and bassist Mo Moore. In fact, shot for shot, the backing singers get more attention than do the keyboardists and percussionists!!
So is Nektar Live worth the trouble? If you are a Nektar completist, then I would say yes. But if you are hoping to relive the concert or want to know what you missed out on, forget about it. Remember the Future, the band's masterpiece, has been nearly excised altogether for a second DVD release. I must say that the music is excellent and there is a double live CD planned for release. But when I caught myself hoping for Roye Albrighton to move out of the way on more than one occasion so I could get a better view of the curvy backup singer in red, I knew I was in trouble.