Jewel - The Essential Live Songbook - DVD review
Up until spending 4 hours (that's four hours) watching this double DVD offering of 2 entire Jewel concerts - "Goodbye Alice In Wonderland" and "Live At The Rialto Theatre" - my knowledge of Jewel was skimpy, to say the least. Most famous Alaskan, ever (at least until the last few months). Lilith Fair. And a vague recollection of fan furore over the 'Intuition' song, when she went all poppy and scantily clad. Not really a sound basis for devoting an entire night to the DVD player.
And for the first half hour, my preconceptions were well founded, as Jewel and her acoutic guitar plucked their way through some sweet but largely insubstantial songs. Sure, she is a fantastic singer, although she sometimes veers over into cutesy pie and girly, seemingly forgetful that she is now in her thirties, and she seems very engaging, personable and chatty in front of an audience. But my boat remained unfloated. Until her band arrived, turned up the amps, rocked the house, and turned the first concert into an absolutely fantastic experience. My gob was thoroughly smacked as she headed off into some fabulous performances including 'Love Me, Just Leave Me Alone', 'Break Me' and the aforementioned 'Intuition'. The final hour was entertainment of the highest order, right down to the closing 'Yodel'.
Part of the Soundstage series, this first DVD is rounded off with a brief, ten minute interview and the video to 'Stephenville, TX'. For those who don't know, the PBS series Soundstage predated music television as we know it in its original run from 1974-1985. Then in 2003, the series returned in brand, spanking new high definition format.
Over on the second DVD, I found things harder going as the "Live At The Rialto" remained resolutely unplugged. Although I'm sure all the people who snapped up copies of her largely acoustic debut "Pieces of You " all those years ago will take issue. To be fair, there aren't many tracks duplicated (only 11 out of nearly 50), so die hard Jewel fans will find plenty to enjoy, but it wasn't until the chamber orchestra arrived for the last half hour that things really grabbed my attention. As well as turns at Jewel favourites like 'Hands' and 'Satellite', she also took the opportunity to throw in a touch of Cole Porter on 'Anything Goes' and even took a spin at 'Somewhere Over The Rainbow'.
Four hours is a lot of Jewel to handle at one sitting, but as an unbeliever, I found myself converted to the cause, thanks to an unbeatable combination of good songs, great singing and a captivating performance. As with all the Soundstage releases, the sound and vision quality are unbeatable, and her fans should be snapping this up in droves.
:twisted :twisted :twisted 1/2 / 3.5 out of 5Buy From Amazon