Shivers down my spine.
After months of messages about cancer, refused treatments, chemotherapy
and the extremely necessary benefit concerts, the sight of a happily
grinning Chuck Schuldiner, conjuring one brilliant solo after the
other on my TV-screen, is pretty emotional. It's sad to think that
this image may be part of the past forever. Although it's wonderful
of course that at least one good concert of the later Death is preserved
for posterity. Nuclear Blast states that this DVD/video/CD/double
LP was never meant to be released, but that Chuck's current financial
problems and the switch over to Control Denied made the label change
The DVD "Live in L.A." was recorded
on December 5th 1998 at the Whisky A Go Go. A venue in Los Angeles
where concerts are always to be watched through an internal TV-circuit
and, as appears now, are being saved on video. Although the picture
at times is somewhat pale and blue and the sound is a little slackened,
this almost 80 minute live performance, shot with several cameras
paints an excellent picture of the qualities of the latest Death
incarnation. The sound was taken right off the soundboard and
thus sounds super clean and direct. A little roughnesses in the
guitar play show immediately, but are compensated very well by
the professional presentation and the impressive performances
of the four musicians (what a drummer!).
Compliments for the excellent production:
besides Chuck, the other three band members are pictured abundantly.
During the solo's the relevant musican is being shot immediately
and due to the many close-ups of facial expressions and guitars,
the viewer quickly gets the feeling of actually being at the concert.
The set during the show is excellent. The band songs musics from
every album and with the obstinatly played "Charlie's Angels"-
theme in the run-up to "Pull The Plug" there's also room for a
less serious moment. Nagging about the sober artwork and the simple
DVD-menu seems inappropriate. In the meantime it got around that
Nuclear Blast will also be releasing the Dynamo 1998 Death-show
this way. More of that later.
Apart from the shortened intro and some shorter pauses in between
tracks, the CD version of "Live in L.A." is the soundtrack of
the live DVD (which is reviewed elsewhere in this magazine). The
CD version is sounding as direct and raw as the DVD. The artwork
is as sober. And the music, of course, is brilliant. Personally
I prefer the DVD version, because of the visual aspect. Richard
Christy's very heavily mixed in, complex drum work and the complicated
finger work of the gentlemen Schuldiner, Hamm and Clendenin WITH
picture just gives the audio an extra dimension. Those who do
not yet have a DVD player will still get one of the most honest
and overwhelming live recordings of recent years.