December 20, 2004

DVD Review: Incubus - Alive at Red Rocks

I have been calling Incubus one of the best rock acts around for years now. Ever since I first heard S.C.I.E.N.C.E. for the first time back in early 1998, I have been hooked on their music. They have a great sound, and are great songwriters. There albums just kept getting better with Make Yourself and Morningview, I think A Crow Left of the Murder is a weaker effort for them, but still stronger than a lot that is out there.

I had gotten to see Incubus in concert during the Sno-Core tour back in February of 2000. They played an amazing set. It was amazing to hear how good they were live, and they have just gotten better over the years. I haven't had the opportunity to see them live again, yet, but I have seen their previous DVD's, When Incubus Attacks Vol. 2 and The Morningview Sessions. Each one featuring a better performance than the last. I particularly liked the second, the performance is fantastic. This brings us to their newest DVD which features their best released live performance to date, plus places them in the wonderful surroundings of the Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado.

The band takes to the stage and launches into Megalomaniac. Perfect way to start off a show, begin with an instantly recognizable track, immediately gets the crowd hot. What follows is a perfect blend of tracks from all of their albums, hitting all the right notes and pulling out a few lesser known songs. Mixing up the hard rocking tracks and the more mellow paced songs. Highlights of the set would be Idiot Box, Wish U Were Here, Vitamin, Stellar, and Green. Each member gets their chance at a solo, each getting to show off the unique piece of the puzzle that they bring to the unique Incubus sound. The set closes with a three track encore. It begins with Brandon playing solo for the first half of Pantomime, then the band comes in to finish the song and move into The Warmth, before playing, possibly their biggest hit, Pardon Me.

Overall, the performances here are top notch. There is nary a bad performance in the lot. In addition to being excellent song writers, their live show shines, each member playing their role and still standing out individually which is helped by the good mix provided here. But this disk is much more than just a music performance, there is also a video side that can be looked at.

The Red Rocks Amphitheater is an incredible site. This disk is the first time I have seen the venue, and it looks like a great place to see a concert. The stage is spacious giving the band members room to play their roles. The night sky, the towering rocks, the gigantic crowd, all helps build the energy of the crowd and the show.

The concert was filmed in hi-def video with ten cameras. The end result looks great. There is smooth editing giving all of the members screen time, plus footage of the crowd and surroundings. There is a nice light show going on the stage which comes up sharply on the video. Great looking disk.

This is a two disk set, in addition to the DVD you get a 5 track CD featuring unreleased tracks. The CD is highlighted by Moments and Melodies, a slow paced song about lost love. There are also a pair of live tracks recorded earlier in the tour. A nice added bonus to an already great concert disk.

Video. Like I mentioned earlier, the video looks spectacular. It is presented in anamorphic widescreen, with a ratio of 1.78:1. Colors are sharp and vivid throughout the show.

Audio. Presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 and sounds great. I used the 5.1 mix for this viewing. Nice use across the available space giving a wonderful full sound to the show.

-Visuals. Five tracks have alternate angle computer generated visuals: Just a Phase, Here in My Room, Pistola, Sick, Sad Little World, and The Warmth. They are also accessible through the extras menu. These are kind of neat, but I don't see myself watching them much.
-Backstage and Soundcheck footage. About 12 minutes of footage of the band preparing for the show and of excited fans awaiting entry. Nice collection of footage.
-Photo Gallery. About three and a half minutes of photos set to music. I would have liked to be able to scroll through the pictures at my own pace, but still has some good pictures.

Bottomline. Overall this is a great set, the performance is the best yet released by the band. The setting and video quality are also excellent. The bonus CD is also a welcome addition. It's hard not to enjoy this disk, especially for fans.

Highly Recommended.


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