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Image Entertainment presents
"Take another second, turn your back on me and make believe that you're always happy.
DVD ReviewIn the two occasions that I have seen Godsmack in concert, I came away from each with the same reaction. The first was virtually a rock fan's dream, as the ever amazing Staind and the promising Cold each played opening sets that outdid Godsmack's overly showy headlining extravaganza. The second was this past summer, as the boys from Massachusetts toured with industrial metal favorites The Deftones as their opening act; again, it was the opening band that impressed and eclipsed the headlining performers. This is not to say that Godsmack fails to deliver an exciting show, but with their over abundant use of pyrotechnics, as well as the constant dialogue shouted by lead singer Sully Erna, their shows play more like theater than excitement.
All of this is disheartening, as Godsmack is one of only a handful of bands that proves that rock is not dead. With the powerful sound of guitarist Tony Rombola and brooding lead singer Sully Erna, Godsmack is, in a way, putting an arm around the collective rock faithful and assuring that this rap metal thing is just a phase. Since their self-titled debut in 1999 that featured four radio hits (Keep Away, Whatever, Voodoo, Bad Religion) Godsmack has become one of the pioneers of the new breed of rock. With biting lyrics ("Stab me in my heart again/Drag me through your wasted life/Are you forever dead?") and strong harmonies, Godsmack looks to have a prosperous career ahead of them, if only their ability to perform live can improve to match the quality of their music.
Godsmack Live finds the band in the midst of their Wake the F*** Up tour from the spring of 2001. Filmed at the Centrum Center in Worcester, Massachusetts on March 2nd, this show stood as a homecoming for the band, and judging by the overly active crowd, these hometown boys certainly did well. With a set that features gargoyles, stone pillars and footage from vampire films played on huge screens, as well as an abundance of pyrotechnics, the band rips through thirteen of their hits:
Sick Of Life
Get Up, Get Out
From the outset it is clear that director Ian Barrett and Godsmack want the viewer to feel as though they are there with the other fifteen thousand fans, and thanks to some creative camera work they are successful. By employing several aerial cameras, as well as thirteen cameras fixed on both the stage and crowd, Barrett gives a sense of "being there" that is lacking from several other concert videos.
Though for all of the technical proficiency and set design grandeur, there is still the nagging problem of the overly clichéd show that Erna and his bandmates have crafted. Sure, the sets look great (a series of timed explosions to the driving beat of Voodoo is especially well done), but there is little that has not been seen countless times at other rock shows. Perhaps I am jaded from having seen so many concerts, but it gets tiresome to hear Erna repeatedly tell the crowd to "make this place blow up" time and time again. Eventually, one hopes for another song to begin so that Erna will leave the kids alone and let them enjoy the show as well as the music.
As it stands, Godsmack Live is essentially a mixed bag. The back to back driving power of Bad Magick and Bad Religion is enough to make even the least interested person have a new appreciation for rock. Though other moments, such as an overly long jam session in the middle of Keep Away in which Erna moves around the stage, his arms out as if asking to be adored, makes the show feel more like camp than music.
Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B-
Image Transfer Review: Filmed on what appears to be digital video, Godsmack Live boasts a very clean 1.78:1 anamorphic transfer. From the beginning, this is a clean transfer that does a wonderful job recreating the purples, reds, and blacks of the Godsmack stage set. Sharpness and detail are each very well done, as the tattoo's that adorn Erna are visible crisply throughout. The only flaw in this transfer happens at the start of several songs where we are treated to a wide shot of the stage. Here, there is an abundance of grain that can be seen in the blue-tinted lighting. A small problem, but enough to lower the grade.
Image Transfer Grade: B+
Audio Transfer Review: It is in the audio department that this disc excels. Featuring both Dolby Digital and DTS mixes, both transfers make the viewer feel as though they are in the Centrum Center. The driving sound of drummer Tommy Stewart is present in the .1 LFE channel, while the heavy chords of Tony Rombola are crisp and clean in both the surround and front speakers. The lyrics largely come crisply out of the center channel with no distortion. The split surrounds are used effectively to convey the ambiance of the crowd, offering an enveloping sound experience.
A head-to-head comparison between the Dolby Digital and DTS tracks yielded no clear result as to superiority. The DTS track does seem to convey a better feeling for the sound of the arena, giving it a slight edge.
Audio Transfer Grade: A-
Disc ExtrasAnimated menu with music
Scene Access with 13 cues and remote access
Music/Song Access with 13 cues
Extras Review: Creative menus and individual chapter stops for each song make up the extra features for Godsmack Live.
Extras Grade: D+
Final CommentsAs my friends and I left the mosh pit at our first Godsmack concert we were bloodied and battered. How nice it is to be able to sit in my home theater and watch a concert like Godsmack Live and not be thrown around unwillingly. Thanks to a booming DTS track, this disc gets a high recommendation if you are a fan of the band.
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