FOR THOSE ABOOT TO ROCK: LIVE AT THE COMMODORE…this release is somewhat special to me. The reason being, this is the first concert that I have ever attended that was recorded and released commercially. With opening bands 3 Inches of Blood and The Heavils getting things started, the show was an absolute madhouse, with The Commodore Ballroom ready to burst at the seams and the band apparently wishing to tear the roof off. Loud?!? WOW! My ears rang for at least a day afterwards. In a silly, oversized foam cowboy hat, SYL mainman Devin Townsend was in fine form peppering his between song banter with witty quips (regarding “Aftermath,” social studies was his favorite subject in high school because it was…after math!) and master skinsman Gene Hoglan absolutely terrorized his drumkit. The 75-minute set was relentless from beginning to end and left everyone in attendance exhausted, sore and drenched in sweat.
Why then does this DVD carry all the energy of an asthmatic senior citizen??
On a visual level, the show is presented in split screen with up to four and five panels that resemble a comic book (the Anthrax DVD, MUSIC OF MASS DESTRUCTION, had a similar look), but it is the audio that really brings the recording down. Rather than offering a spiffy 5.1 Dolby Digital mix, instead we get a 2.0 stereo track that just doesn’t have enough oomph to make the viewer feel like he/she is at the show. That aside, the band is at their best running through most of 2003’s SYL release and adding in old favorites like “Oh My Fucking God,” “Detox,” “In The Rainy Season” and others. For “Far Beyond Metal,” Devin asked anyone in the crowd who knew the chorus to come up and sing it on stage. One guy””Drew””took the challenge and in what may be the biggest embarrassment ever caught on film, knew NONE of the words and “sang” (I use that term loosely) a bunch of strung together gibberish in a high-pitched wail. As Devin so eloquently puts it, “Everyone…Drew shit the bed!” Funny thing is, with all the chaos and mayhem, his ineptitude was completely inaudible to me at the time and I actually thought he nailed it at the show! Unfortunately for Drew, the DVD filters out all the noise and his monumental screw up is here in all its glory. This public shaming may well be worth the price of the DVD itself!
As for bonus features, they are sparse. Music videos for “Detox” and “Relentless” and a short interview segment with the band and crew is about all there is, though a hidden photo gallery can also be unlocked by hitting the right arrow key four times at the “Extras” menu.
FOR THOSE ABOOT TO ROCK: LIVE AT THE COMMODORE is not what I expected from the notoriously fastidious Devin Townsend. I thought that nothing less than a crystal clear audio reproduction and a slew of goodies would be included but for around $12, I guess one can’t expect much. For me, I’m just glad I have the memory of the killer live show rather than this tepid recording of it.
**For those interested, here is my review of the actual show (www.metal-rules.com/concerts/ThreeStrappingHeavils-Feb2004.htm).
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