Review Summary: The holy grail for Coheed fans.Coheed and Cambria are one of the greatest live acts today. Claudio and Co. don't let their lofty concepts and penchant for progressive flair hold them back. In fact it was their live show that made me a fan some six years ago. Having never even heard of the band, I stood in awe of the beastly figure that stood at center stage. Veiled behind a mass of hair and wielding a Gibson Explorer, Claudio Sanchez looked like the modern incarnate of some 70's rock god and his distinctly high pitched vocal delivery cemented it. Although Coheed and Cambria were stuck with an opening slot that night, their short opening performance managed to bleed more emotion and give off more energy than any of the bands that followed (With those bands being Thrice and Thursday, that's no small task!).
On October 22nd, 2008 Coheed and Cambria unveiled their Neverender
concert series at the Terminal 5 club in New York City. For four consecutive nights, they treated a hometown audience to the retelling of "The Amory Wars", the unifying concept behind all of Coheed and Cambria's work, by performing their entire discography one album at a time, starting with their 2002 debut The Second Stage Turbine Blade
and eventually ending with Good Apollo I Am Burning Star IV Vol 2 : No World For Tomorrow
. While the Neverender
tour eventually moved on to Chicago, Los Angeles and London, the band chose to document the New York performances in the form of the aptly named Neverender
DVD set. The DVD set comes in two forms, the standard 2 disc set that contains just the concerts, and the 9 disc Children of the Fence
limited edition that contains both CD and DVD versions of the New York Neverender
along with a bonus DVD that includes the documentary The Fiction Will See The Real
, a short Q&A session, and clips from the opening "performances" including former Death/Iced Earth drummer Richard "I'd rather piss myself than miss any of Coheed's set" Christy, bassist Mic Todd's verbal history of the band, and guitarist Travis Steever's Davenport Cabinet project.
The performances on Neverender
not only document the entire vision that singer/guitarist Claudio Sanchez has manged to mold his music around, they capture the band doing what they do best: tearing up the stage. The abundance of camera angles and the crisp production do an astounding job at capturing how the audience feeds off of the band and how the audience in turn reciprocates that energy back to the band. Furthermore, every note on Neverender
is exactly how it was played on the night of the performance. Unlike many current concert DVD's, Coheed and Cambria resisted the temptation of doctoring their performances with studio overdubs. As Claudio describes in the liner notes "Though of course these recordings were mixed, there were no overdubs after the fact... These are the shows as they were played, and yes there are mistakes, but we wanted it to be authentic and we are proud of what we achieved."
The occasional crack in Claudio's voice or missed note only help to add to the personality of the recordings.
Throughout the performances, Claudio gives the crowd insights to his creative process and how he fits into the story of his prog-pop opus. During the performance of In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3
he makes a special mention of the character Al the Killer. Just before the Velourium Camper series is set to begin, Claudio notes how the creation of Al the Killer was spawned from a short but nerve wrecking relationship, and that it was the first time that he tried to write what was currently happening to himself into the storyline. Claudio opens up further during the performance of Second Stage Turbine Blade
as he talks about how the concept of Coheed and Cambria was created during a trip to Paris and was intended on being based off of his experiences in a foreign land, but as the story progressed he realized that it was no longer about just him and that the characters of Coheed and Cambria were his parents. He delves even further when he describes how their debut got it's name. "The Second Stage Turbine Blade might have this sci-fi kinda name, but it was actually a part my dad worked on at a factory"
mentions Claudio right before he thanks his family from the stage.
For the DVD's of the Good Apollo...
series, the encores are included providing some of the greatest moments to be found on Neverender
. The encore for Volume 1
includes one of the hallmarks of Coheed and Cambria's live performance, the Everything Evil/Devil In Jersey City medley. The band stops short of the climax in "Everything Evil" for a blistering cover of Iron Maiden's "The Trooper". Claudio and Travis trade off verses before jumping right in to Devil In Jersey City. Just as it seems that it's over, Claudio kicks in with the thundering closing of "Everything Evil" as you can hear the entire crowd singing along "I wish, god dammit! We'll make it if you believe!". The biggest treat comes at the end of Volume 2
. Gov't Mule mainmain Warren Haynes joins the band for a cover of Bob Dylan's "I Shall Be Released" sung by Travis Steever. Hayes sticks around to close out the show, and the DVD, by adding some of his tallent to a flawless performance of "Welcome Home". A fitting way as any to end on.
brings the story of Coheed and Cambria to a fitting close. With only the beginning of the Coheed and Cambria saga yet to be released, it makes you wonder, what's next for the band? Whatever it may be, with all four of their album's performed live for this set, Neverender
may very well be the defining moment of Coheed and Cambria's career.