The Best Contemporary Concert DVD?

Today the mail lady brought a much anticipated DVD: A Japanese release of The Prince’s Trust ‘Produced by Trevor Horn‘ showcases the work of my all time favourite producer (hey, I spent my teenage years in the eighties. What do you expect from me? Jack White?). Anyway, in 2004, to celebrate 25 years of his bombast pop, he hosted the annual Prince’s Trust Wembley gig, showcasing some of the artists he worked with. And what a lineup that is:

  • Boggles
  • ABC
  • Grace Jones
  • Art of Noise
  • Yes
  • Propaganda
  • Pet Shop Boys
  • Belle and Sebastian
  • Seal
  • Liza Stansfield
  • Frankie goes to Hollywood

Now I have seen quite a bit of ABC, Frankie, The PetShop Boys and Propaganda live over the last two decades, but I honestly say neither of them ever sounded so perfect. This is a gig of massive proprotions to make Trevor Horn’s rich, orchestral sound possible: I am sure that it I still haven’t got them all, but I counted 8 brass/woodwinds, 8 strings, 8 backup vocalists (some people call that a ‘choir’), 2 drummers, Anne Dudley (the Oscar winning Anne Dudley, who also arranged ABC’s strings on the ‘Lexicon of Love’), numerous other keyboarders and 4 percussionists (including the brillant Louis Jardim), Steve Howe and probably half a dozen musicians I forgot.

This is truly a wall of music. I have seen ABC in various incarnations over the last 20 years, but I can not remember ‘Poisoned Arrow’ and ‘The Look of Love’ ever sounding so luscious on the stage.

Frankie (even in the absence of Holly Johnson) sound glorious, Propaganda, Yes and Seal are magnificent and Seal probably gives the best twenty minutes of his life. Grace Jones is amazingly pitch perfect but outrageous as ever. As a bass player myself it’s fascinating to see FGTH’s bassist to punch himself through ‘Two Tribes”s superfast plectrum based lines. That looks ike amazingly hard work.

All of the musicians look like they’re having an enormous blast. Just look at the face of the drummers. They’re so immersed and enjoying themselves, it’s infecting. I’ve caught myself jumping around the living room with my Macbook in my hands, headphones on head.

This means I have now have two favourite saturday morning DVD’s: Jamiroquai’s ‘LIve in Verona‘ and this. And it looks like there’s a UK release in the pipeline as well.

Get it. It’s worth it.

P.S. And to have a little bit more fun: here’s the world’s grumpiest prog rock band.

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