Review Summary: A string quartet, a choir, a cut-glass chandelier and 44 persons involved - when Evergrey record a DVD, they do so in style.Introduction
The night is the 9th of October, 2004. The setting is the Stora Teatern, Gothenburg. The doors open at 9pm sharp.
Outside this 150 year-old venue, a ghostly mist encircles the Evergrey fans lining the doors. The yellow moon above the theater is full. Gothic head-stones of hellish creatures line the pillars outside the theater. The only sign of anything comforting is a dimly lit poster of Evergrey on the side of the building. The awaiting audience is eerily quiet, knowing at any moment they could be summoned through the doors.....One fan checks his friend's and his own ticket to make certain that they are at the right venue. A cold draught escapes from under the doors. The doors are then silently opened without any sign of human hands, and the audience cautiously make their way to the main theater
....."God afton Göteborg......and Good evening Gothenburg"
"Tonight's a very very special night....this is a night to remember for all of you I hope"
"This is why I speak English....is because we are recording this for the world.."
proclaims Evergrey lead singer Tom Englund to thunderous crowd applause.
After some eerie opening music, Evergrey hit the stage and open with the song 'Blinded'
. From the opening song, to the final encore 'The Masterplan'
, this DVD encaptures all that is great about progressive metal, and when handled by a band with unrelentless vision, the results are often astonishing.
Hailing from Gothenburg in Sweden, Evergrey play a dark brand of Power/Progressive metal. They released their first album 'The Dark Discovery'
in 1998, and you can find reviews for Evergrey's albums throughout Sputnik. Shattered_Future
gave the album 'In Search Of Truth'
a full 5 stars in his glowing review of that particular album.
This 'A Night To Remember'
DVD contains material from their first five albums, leaning more towards their recent albums 'The Inner Circle'
and 'Recreation Day'
Anyway, onto the DVD.
Patric Ullaeus, the 'Martin Scorsese' of music DVD directors, has assembled a crack team of cameramen for this DVD. There's no grain of doubt in my mind that Patric Ullaeus is the premier DVD director in Metal. And 'A Night To Remember'
is his Oscar© for 'Best Metal Picture' (if there were such a thing!)
There are at least ten main different camera angles used on this DVD. Each of them are used to create different effects. A birds-eye shot hovers high up above the crowd during the song 'Blinded'
. This shot depicts the atmosphere of the crowd. You can tell they are hungry for some music! Another crowd shot, this time a camera in amongst the crowd is used during 'As I Lie Here Bleeding'
. This shot makes the viewer feel like they're in the mosh pit themselves! Various other crowd shots are used during the concert, so many that I couldn't possibly write about each of them.
Camera-work on each individual band member is visually outstanding. When each member displays a piece of individual brilliance, the camera will stay focused on them for a few seconds longer. Drum patterns and fills by Jonas Ekdahl are all given special attention. Guitar solo's are captured with crystal clear quality. Henrik Danhage's solo during 'Mark Of The Triangle'
is one such example. Facial expressions are caught with impeccable timing. Take a look at the emotion on Tom Englund's face during the ballad 'For Every Tear That Falls'
. You can see every line on his face.
For all of this praise of the camera-work, there are two minor areas that I see as potential flaws. The first potential flaw I see is the main camera shot on drummer Jonas Ekdahl. Compared to the other band members, his respective camera shots are grainy and of a poorer quality. The camera is curiously placed behind and above his shoulders. At times it looks like we're watching him through a tube camera.
Compare this to Martin Lopez's camera angles on Opeth's 'Lamentations'
DVD and you'll get a better idea.
On that DVD, Lopez's camera angle is shown from his left shoulder, capturing the drums at his level
. That is a much better example of drumming camera-work.
The second minor gripe I have is the camera shots of Rik Zander. There isn't a comprehensive camera shot of his fingers actually playing the keyboards. Ah well, can't have it all.
Evergrey's songs focus primarily on subjects such as science fiction, delusion, loss of sanity and other dark matters.
Therefore, it's imperative the lighting show complements these emotions. And on this DVD, it succeeds in doing so.
During the first half of the show, strobe lighting is predominantly used. Colours such as blues, greys and whites shower across the stage. What I particularly enjoyed about the lighting effects is the timing in which they are used. For example, during the chorus of 'More Than Ever'
the lighting lights up the whole stage. Then during the verses, where the music is more brutal, the lights darken to a purple colour.
The lighting effects on singer Tom Englund are oustanding. During the first song 'Blinded'
, the lights darken on Tom, and all the viewer can see is this imposing figure of a big man. You don't see any facial features save for his eyes. It captures his personality to great effect.
During the second half of the show, other coloured lighting is introduced. As Evergrey grow in confidence during the performance, the lighting effects change. During 'Mark Of The Triangle'
the lighting goes from a warm red, to a chilling blue. As the song builds to it's emotional climax, the lights are dancing around the stage. Superb.
I can't mention the lighting show without mentioning the intricate lighting patterns that swarm around the stage. These lighting patterns are used extensively on The Gathering's 'A Sound Relief'
DVD, and they really add to Evergrey's performance here.
"Evergrey are actually the most difficult band in the world to mix. That's just how it is. I have spoken to other engineers who say the same thing. In Flames are a walk in the park, by comparison."
says Arnold Lindberg, who is an established sound engineer himself. He mixed the DVD along with Tom Englund, and they both do a stellar job. In the hands of lesser sound engineer, this DVD could've ended up a disaster. But thanks to the special attention to detail, and a near-flawless performance, every element of Evergrey's music is heard in crystal clear quality. This DVD sounds unbelievable
in surround sound.
Lead singer and guitarist Tom Englund
gives a complete performance here. As far as Metal singers go, this guy is in the very upper eschelon. His range is matched only by a select few of his contemporaries. As a performer, he just seems to exude confidence and personality.
He especially shines during the brooding 'Waking Up Blind'
. A mesmerizing performance, especially the ending of the song where Tom reaches far into his own soul.
Another highlight is the crowd participation during the final song 'The Masterplan'
. Dividing the crowd into 3 sections, (a lá an Iron Maiden concert), Tom gets them to chant a line from the song. He even laughs to himself - "I feel like Bruce Dickinson eh!"
. Not to be understated is his guitar playing. He plays his fair share of the guitar solos, and plays them with a lot of character.
Guitarist Henrik Danhage
, very nearly, steals the show on some occasions. Possessing one of the most unique guitar tones in rock and metal, Danhage is a powerhouse guitarist. As i'm a huge fan of the 'In Search Of Truth'
album, I was both cautious and excited to see if Danhage could replicate the guitarwork of that album in a live setting.
'Rulers Of The Mind'
and 'Mark Of The Triangle'
are given some brutal treatment by Danhage, and they sound more sinister on this DVD. Fans of all parts of the metal spectrum should find something to enjoy about Danhage's playing. The song 'Nosferatu'
in particular, features some pretty damn nifty shredding by Danhage.
Dressed like Neo from the Matrix, bassist Michael Håkansson
is not to be missed. He shows us his bass skills during songs such as'Mark Of The Triangle'
and 'Blackened Dawn'
. The chemistry between Hakansson and his band members is evident during 'The Masterplan'
, where they display some cool bass/guitar interplay.
For a man built like a matchstick, drummer Jonas Ekdahl
gives a beastly drumming peformance. As stated in the booklet notes, Ekdahl was handed the responsibilty of composing most of the sheet music for the Gothenburg String Quartet. One thing that stands out about Ekdahl's performance is his stamina. He doesn't lose any skill or finesse throughout the entire duration of the concert, which is no mean feat considering he's playing some pretty demanding music.
The man responsible for the 'X-Files'
type sound on the keyboards is Mr Rik Zander
. The keyboards play a big part in Evergrey's music, and Zander really shines here. I especially like his work on 'Rulers Of The Mind'
. He plays some nice gothic touches during that song. By contrast, during the slow-burning 'Waking Up Blind'
, Zander plays some soft melodies that harmonize with Danhage's guitars.
The live choir of Andy Engberg, Tinna Karlsdotter
and Carina Englund
provide another dimension to Evergrey's music.
All three of them have some serious pipes! They usually provide back-up in the choruses of the songs, to heighten the power of the chorus.
in particular, sounds dark and gothic with the choir chanting "Nos-fe-raa-tuu!"
against a backdrop of frenzied violins and guitars. Carina Englund (who is some serious eye-candy btw) takes a lead role on the duet ballad 'For Every Tear That Falls'
. This song sounds amazing for the first few minutes, but is then ruined when the song turns heavy. A damn shame that.
To top it all off, Evergrey invited the Gothenburg String Quartet
to perform on five songs - 'Harmless Wishes', 'Nosferatu', 'Essence Of Conviction' 'When The Walls Go Down'
and Solitude Within'
. The String Quartet give an authentic feel to the songs, and add a sense of drama to the performance. Of course, Evergrey could've simply just used backing tracks to replace the sound of the String Quartet in their songs, but as we've already learned, Evergrey don't take any shortcuts! 'Nosferatu'
in particular sounds far more darker and more epic than the studio version, and this is thanks to the String quartet.
'A Night To Remember'
is actually a 2-disc DVD. (Yes, thats 2 discs) I've only reviewed the first disc alone! The second disc - 'The Shocking Truth'
is only a small matter of six and-a-half hours worth of bonus material! Such is the sheer content of the first disc alone, I felt it needed it's own review. If my review helps a couple of readers to buy this DVD, then the effort i've put into this review is well worth it. Maybe you've seen this DVD at your local record store, or maybe you've glanced at it on Ebay.com. All I can say to you is, don't hesitate to click 'Buy Now'.
*Band performance is near flawless
*Technical aspects are outstanding - i'll go as far as saying they're the best i've seen in any rock or metal DVD
*With 20 songs to choose from, you get your money's worth
*The set-list covers all of Evergrey's albums
*An eleven-minute encore of 'The Masterplan'
*Camera-work on Jonas Ekdahl, as previously mentioned, doesn't fully do him justice.
*A couple of songs lose focus and meander a bit - 'Essence of Conviction' , 'When The Walls Go Down'
and 'She Speaks To The Dead'
kinda bore me.
*They didn't include 'The Encounter'
or 'Different Worlds'
into their concert. These are two Evergrey songs that would've totally owned that Gothenburg crowd.
Overall rating: 4.8/5