Review Summary: The Color Spectrum Live exemplifies everything that a live album should be.The Color Spectrum
was my first exposure to The Dear Hunter. It was one of those albums I downloaded on a whim after reading an article that name dropped it, and really, I had no idea what to expect of it. I pressed play, and within the first minute and a half of "Never Forgive Never Forget" I knew I was in for a treat. But I didn't expect the near two and a half hour long 36 song behemoth of music would quickly become one of my favorite albums (if you can call it just simply an album.) It also ended up being the soundtrack to a transition period in my life. During that summer, I started dating my girlfriend, I went off to college, and I began to find myself as a person. Sparing you more sappy bullshit, the album has a certain emotional significance in my life.
When I saw that they were going to perform it in its entirety, I wanted to do all I could to go, but to my chagrin was unable to. However, their announcement that they were to record the show and release it on DVD alleviated some of the disappointment. The Color Spectrum Live
did a better job making me feel as though I had
been there than I ever could have imagined. The shooting is brilliant, the sound is crisp, clear, and incredibly sharp and well mixed, and leaves very little to be desired. The camera of course focuses mainly on frontman Casey Crescenzo, and why wouldn't it? He's the brains behind the whole act, and it's hard to peel your eyes off of him as he croons through each track.
The first few songs off of black are relatively straightforward and are probably the most boring of the whole performance. But as you start to get into the bulk of Red
, which is, to my surprise and elation, accompanied by Andy Hull himself, the band starts to get into its groove. Every member of the ensemble is right on point, and Casey's vocals are just as fantastic live as they are on record, perhaps even better at times. Somehow, his voice remains intact, strong, and unwavering for the entire almost three hours. He also showcases his aptitude as a musician by playing some of the solos off of Red
and playing piano on some of the tracks later in the Spectrum.
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the performance is how certain tracks came alive in the live setting, most notably a lot of the tracks from Blue
. This EP was thought by many to be one of the more inferior ones of the collection, and honestly, I can't blame them. But the live setting really lets the emotion on these tracks shine, particularly on "Tripping in Triplets." Throughout this song, the emotion is almost palpable, and is ended with Casey embracing one of the guest musicians. The atmosphere on the EP as a whole is just so much more powerful than on the studio recordings. Also, Yellow
closer "Misplaced Devotion" has quite the impact with its pounding drums and booming chorus. The tracks of Indigo
are also recreated startlingly well, complete with a string quartet that performs on the last two EPs as well.
Even the banter with the crowd is entertaining. As most crowd's do, they constantly yell things at Casey, some of them endearing (the ever present "I love you Casey") and some of them vulgar ("I'mma suck yo dick") but Casey actually responds to them as best he can. He even allows an engagement proposal to happen mid concert. His humor and obvious love for his fans makes the live DVD feel like much more than just moving pictures on a screen, but more like a personal thank you for all the support.
In essence, The Color Spectrum Live
is everything you could want in a live album, and a little bit more. The music is brilliantly replicated complete with some improvisations, frontman Casey Crescenzo adds a personal aspect to the performance, and above all, the live DVD doesn't feel like a group just going through the motions. It feels like a group up on stage having a blast and doing what they love and doing it damn well. It gives everybody like me that didn't have a chance to witness the performance to still experience its grandeur, even if not first hand. For me, I really couldn't ask for more.