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(161:01 DVD+CD, EOS)
TRACK LIST: DVD + CD: 1. Starboard 8:34 2. The Other Room 4:33 3. Full Power 5:07 4. Endless-1 3:34 5. Endless-2 6:48 6. Amber Waves 7:58 7. Home Away from Home 3:54 8. Mousetrap 7:03 9. Boxless 4:35 10. TFAY 5:00 11. The Seed 6:19 12. A Different Machine 6:08 13. Errol McSquisitor 9:41 DVD bonus track: 14. Geograph New Mix 6:33 LINEUP: John Whyte guitar; vocals Dan MacDonald bass; vocals Adam Rabin vocals; keyboards Ornan McLean drums, percussion
Prolusion. The US band ELEPHANTS OF SCOTLAND (EOS from now on) was formed back in 2011, and has fairly quickly established itself as an up and coming band in the US progressive rock circuit. They have three studio albums to their name so far, as well as a live CD/DVD package. The name of the latter is "Good Morning Gettysburg"; it was self-released in 2015.
Analysis. It is kind of intriguing to review a live DVD where the footage is taken from a concert you attended yourself. The reality captured by the DVD doesn't quite match the memories you have of the event, and it is intriguing to see how the use of camera, angles and editing creates a concert somewhat different in scope from what you actually experienced. The Majestic Theater in Gettysburg is a fairly well-sized one, with a stage fairly large and an audience capacity of close to 800 people. On this DVD the whole setting comes across as a rather more intimate affair however, where by accident or design the stage comes across as smaller than what is the actual case. The two-dimensional aspect of video footage obviously plays a part there, but also the manner in which the camera focuses on sections of the stage and provides relatively few full-stage scenes emphasizing a more close-up and personal concert than what was actually the case. If this is by accident or design I don't know, but it certainly has the effect of bringing the band closer to the audience watching this live DVD, that's a certainty. Otherwise this is a budget DVD in many ways, even if a good job has been done in the editing department to disguise that fact. Professional people handling the cameras in action obviously also comes with some dividends, but it is apparent that the DVD is made by a relatively small band with a small budget. The difference between these and large budget productions isn't as dramatic as it was only a few years ago however, and in terms of visual quality this production is far superior to a mid-range concert DVD made 10 or so years ago. The equipment used for productions of this nature today is high, so the end result will be of a decent quality for most professionally recorded live DVDs in this day and age, which this one certainly is. Those who watch a lot of live productions of this kind will notice certain quality issues though, even if ever so minor and subtle of character. The image quality is decent to good throughout, and the sound quality is impeccable. The Rites of Spring Festival has a seasoned hand at the soundboard, and that is easy to tell from the audio captured here: good balance, good levels and a good mix. A slight negative is the volume for the talking in between songs, which is a tad too low; otherwise there's nothing to fault here. In fact, this live recording sounds better than what I can recall the concert actually was. As far as the music goes, EOS live comes across as a band very much in the vein of early 80s Rush, with some nifty drum details here and there, subservient keyboard textures and a nice bass and guitar interaction very much reminding of the Lee and Lifeson partnership, up to and including engaging bass-lines, firm but melodic guitar riffs and a guitarist eager and willing to craft delicate, atmospheric effects with the guitar. While EOS isn't at the quality level of Rush as far as material and performance goes, they play music in the same general vein. Hence why they have become such a popular band in such a short amount of time presumably. The main drawback is the lead vocals however, as Rabin and Whyte in particular have some shortcomings in that department, at least as far as this live performance is concerned. Bassist McDonald has a more stable voice when doing the lead vocals. That he chosen to leave this band some months back is a loss for this band, at least when it comes to the quality of their live performances. The slight amount of bonus material on the DVD, basically video footage of the drums being recorded for a song as a visual illustration for a specially mixed version of the final version of the song in question, doesn't add all that much to the value of this package. Nor does a HD digital copy of the DVD that can be played on computers. It's nice to have it though, same for the higher quality mp3 files, but it's not something that, in itself, will add further commercial interest in this release, in my opinion.
Conclusion. Live DVDs were quite in fashion for many years, and are still treasured by some. How many more that will be released in physical format remains an open question however, as streaming services are taking over this field of the entertainment industry big time. As for this one, fans of EOS should find it to be a worthwhile investment, and those curious about the band will get a good quality live performance to enjoy. Neither the DVD nor the performance is of the highest quality however, so for those beyond the established fan base contemplating getting this one it would have to be those with a special interest in products of this nature that might fancy getting this one. Otherwise the studio albums by the band will be a better place to start.
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