Reviewed: June, 2020
Released: Frontiers, 2015, Frontiers
Rating: 2.5/5 (Just the DVD)
Over the years I’ve done a number of more ambitious series of reviews instead of simple stand-alone reviews. This is perhaps my most ambitious project yet. This series of reviews was born out of three seemingly dissimilar and unrelated components; my viewing habits, a stockpile and the global pandemic of 2020.
As a habit and personal preference, I don’t watch a lot of TV. I prefer to read and listen to music. Over the years whenever I have bought a CD, often it will come with a bonus DVD. I would listen to and enjoy the CD and because I don’t watch much TV I just started putting the CD’s with a bonus DVD in a pile, thinking to myself, “I’ll watch the DVD….‘someday’. Over time the pile grew and grew and grew.
Secondly, it has long been a personal goal of mine, and Metal-Rules.com, to review every Hard Rock and Heavy Metal DVD on the planet. Over the years we have reviewed hundreds of stand-alone DVD’s, more than almost every other Metal webzine. However these little bonus DVD’s that come with CD’s are often, dare I say it, are largely inconsequential or ‘throw-away’ DVD’s, with not much substance other than a video or two, or maybe a brief ‘making of’ the album at hand. They are neat for the die-hard fans who want to shell out a couple extra bucks for the deluxe version of the CD but mostly they are not a big deal, very often there is not enough true content to release on their own.
At the tail end of March 2020, like many thousands of people, I lost my job due to lay-off’s precipitated by the global pandemic. In my first real full-week of self-isolation, it was April 1st in the evening, and I was sitting thinking, “How am I going to keep myself productive and occupied these next several weeks?” And there it was, sitting on my desk, staring me in the face as it had all these years. A pile of EXACTLY 50 CD’s with bonus DVD’s that needed reviewing! That ‘someday’ had suddenly became, ‘now’.
And so begins… The Covideo Chronicles. (Covid + video…get it?) By the time you read this I will have reviewed all 50 DVD’s sitting in that pile and compiled this series. 50 DVD’s. 50 days. 50 reviews. Some of these bonus DVD’s are full concerts and documentaries, some are merely a few minutes long. My goal was to do a very quick synopsis of the DVD (not even the CD) just the DVD. I’m quite sure many of these albums have already been reviewed over the years here on Metal-Rules.com. In fact, the longest part of these reviews will probably be my rambling introduction.
These are in no particular order. I was thinking of doing them chronologically by release date or maybe alphabetically but in the end I decided to review what I felt like watching that day. This exercise was a simple daily task, it kept me keep me amused and primarily I’m glad to get that damn pile off my desk. Enjoy!
I’ve always enjoyed fellow Canadians Harem Scarem. I saw them back in the very early days in Toronto and have followed their career, ever since, now owning most of their albums.
LIVE AT THE PHOENIX is the bands 8th live album and first for Frontiers Records. They have the usual nicely-appointed, double-digipak presentation that comes with a bonus DVD of the concert. The show was captured on July 11th, 2015 at The Phoenix Theater at their hometown of Toronto, Canada making this one of the very few Hard Rock / Metal albums ever recorded live in Canada, not known for our live albums likely because of our smaller and quieter (polite?) crowds.
The concert is a 20-song effort that relies heavily on their first two albums with nine of the 20 songs pulled from those two albums. Admittedly, this is a pretty plain concert. not in reference to the music, which I love, but the concert presentation was certainly not extravagant. A simple backdrop from the album at the time (THIRTEEN) and there were no extra components. The light show was average, no pyro, no smoke, no solos, no medleys’ no cover tunes, they just busted out 20 songs in a row and then left the stage with not even a farewell triumphant bow! They did have a guest guitar spot from Mike Vassos but I don’t even know who that is!
The DVD itself has no extra features, just the concert. In the final assessment, this is just pretty average. I give it really high grades for the song-craft and performances but in terms of presentation and style it is just another Harem Scarem live album.