Released: 2005, SPV/Steamhammer
Despite my well-documented love of Iced Earth, this 2-DVD set was a major disappointment. The rating above is not at all a reflection of the music, but based solely on the DVD itself. Considering how long fans have anticipated this DVD release, what we get was definitely not worth the wait.
This 2-DVD set is less about the band Iced Earth, and moreso about Gettysburg. Do not buy this DVD if you are looking to watch the band, the only member on the DVD is bandleader, songwriter, and guitarist Jon Schaffer. Ripper is nowhere to be found on here or anyone else from the Iced Earth camp (unless you count the 2 videos). The epic "Gettysburg (1863)" trilogy from 2004's THE GLORIOUS BURDEN is as it was in 2004, a milestone in the career of this fine band. On the DVD, is a 5.1- surround-sound mix available in either “metal” or “orchestration”. The music for this is set to what looks like a very cool windows screen-saver. When I got settled to watch this portion, I was expecting something to keep me interested in watching. Instead, we get visuals of a map, fading in and out pics of generals, bodies, cannons, and a few fake explosions superimposed on misty morning footage of key battlefield areas. This continues on for the duration of the three songs and by the end of it, any sane person would be quite tired of watching. From now on, this shall only be turned on for listening. After the "Gettysburg (1863) trilogy, there is a way too long documentary with Jon and ‘tour guide Ted’ walking throughout the battlefield. The first thing I thought was “where is the wind guard for the mic?” It appears to have been done with a handy-cam. Although Ted is a fount of knowledge on the Civil War, and on Gettysburg, his dialog gets very boring very quickly. Part of the reason is because even though I am interested in history, US Civil War history has not been something that has interested me greatly. If this portion was done with a little more drama, some reenactments, and a better camera/mic, I could accept this as a DVD BONUS FEATURE, not as part of the main centerpiece of the DVD….so as Ted continually says “think about that”.
The other DVD filler was the questionable to infomercial on Jon’s “Spirit of 1863” store. The idea is kinda cool for those into history and into expensive, very detailed “action figures”. Again, this interview kept my attention for about 5mins, then it had me wondering…where is the Iced Earth? That was up next with the interview with Jon which is conducted by Mark Briody of Jag Panzer. As an Iced Earth fan, the interview was very interesting. Jon is opinionated but does not come off as an asshole at all. He talks about the last album, Ripper, his love of history, and about his interest in US Civil War history. Oh how I wish there was a 2hour live performance on here…sadly this is not a BAND DVD, but a DVD by a band member about a topic that he is very much into. Maybe this would have been more successful if it wasn’t an Iced Earth DVD but was sold and marketed as a DVD about just Gettysburg that happened to feature some Iced Earth music in the background. You could argue that the 5.1 mixes of the trilogy make it worth having. However, I listen to my music in 2.0, not 5.1, and I have the Gettysburg trilogy form the deluxe version of THE GLORIOUS BURDEN......hmmm.
The interview and the 2 videos from songs from THE GLORIOUS BURDEN were cool, but considering I paid nearly FIFTY BUCKS Canadian for this (with shipping and taxes in) I am pretty upset. The question to ask is – when will this ever be turned on again? The answer…. perhaps never again, and if so, it will be for listening, not viewing! Consider yourself duly warned.