Joined: Nov. 1999
||Posted: May 23 2006, 18:31
Received my DVD last week having pre-order from Amazon.co.uk; pretty impressed to find it in my letterbox in Ireland on the 17th.
I recently bought the Exposed DVD and the contrasts with 'Live at Montreux' are striking. Where Exposed had a large set with some really talented musicians (like Pekka Pohjola and the Moerlens) there were many others whose antics put them squarely in the 'messer' category. At Montreux, it's the opposite - small group, very versatile, tight set and hard work all round. To me, the result is edgier and more alive than the sprawling spectacle of the Exposed tour, good as it was.
At the Wembley Exposed gig, Mike seems to deliver at best detached competence on guitar. Again Montreux is such a contrast - many have already commented about Mike's energetic and alive guitar playing. It's so different to what now seems such a dull performance eighteen months earlier at Wembley on the Exposed DVD. I wouldn't even dwell on mistakes; it's a long show and Mike's working hard from start to finish. From a musician's perspective, I consider the few fluffs insignificant compared to the strength of his playing overall. It captures what must have been the heyday of Live Mike.
Other things others have commented on: Maggie Reilly is sulking the whole way through and seems thoroughly fed up - her vocals are somewhat flat and apathetic. She mopes on- and off stage like a despondent teenager at times. Interestingly the DVD inlay notes hint at her disdain for Mike's music in the early days; perhaps this led to the pop songs on later albums to make use of her undeniable talent?
Interesting to hear prototype bits of FMO in the QE2 medley section.
Morris Pert - wow! He's givin' it loads! Reminded me of Animal from the Muppets! Like all the band members at the gig, he is a very talented musician but unlike the others, he seems to be feeling every note of the set in strange and unusual ways. Anyway 10 out of 10 for added visual entertainment value.
Rick Fenn, Tim Cross and Mike Frye are the type of talented, no-fuss musicians anyone would love to have in their band; excellent performances and quite understated. MO must have worked hard to put together a small group this talented/versatile who so suited his style.
Tim Cross' keyboards/synth work is particularly impressive; he's got lots to do and needs to switch modes and instruments regularly even between sections of tracks. No programming in those days! Watch what he's doing in the transition between Airborne and the Platinum Theme for example. Also you've got to love that naff '80s Piano-teeshirt.
So I suppose I'm posting to convince people that this is a very strong show and captures a great gig from a great year of Live Mike. I only wish I was at it, but unfortunately I couldn't walk or talk at the time being as I was only 1 year old. ;-)