Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|12 Girls Band Miracle Live|
Genres: Music Video & Concerts
Asia exclusive release, 12 Girls Band play traditional instruments with a groove. Huge sensation in Japan. NTSC/Region 0. Features 21 tracks including the bonus music video for 'Freedom'. 6.1 extended digital surround soun... more »
Cultural revelation and an audio visual spectacular event.
Chris Zee Shutterbug | Baton Rouge La | 12/13/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
Initially I saw "The 12 Girls Band" on an HDTV program in a Chinese Restaurant. It was not the same program that is in the "Miracle" DVD, the HDTV special was perhaps better still. The memory of that program kept coming back to me, and the more I thought about it, the more I needed to see "The Girls" again. It is indeed fortunate that Amazon and partners had access to this DVD which does not appear to be published in the USA (I am willing to bet that after the recent East Coast concert series that situation will be corrected shortly, they were all sold out).
The Girls play traditional Chinese and Jazz fusion melodies on a scale that evokes a Grand Philharmonic spectacle. I enjoyed the traditional material and the occasional venture into remake of the classics like in track 12, the New Classicism (Beethoven et al) more than the Western style "Take Five". Do not get me wrong, they are all spectacular both sonically and visually, the traditional material is just more "right".
This concept of "right" is very interesting, all of the girls are stunningly beautiful, and they play the music with precision, maybe too much precision. There are hardly any un-necessary gestures or even smiles. When the enjoyment of doing something well comes across, it is in their eyes. Before the program is over, each of the girls will have her unique personality imprinted on your mind. Therefore, the "traditional" music seems to be more "right" with the "restrained" presentation style. On one track though, #19, "Happy Valley", two of the girls do what can best be described as an oriental drum percussion hip-hop number, by playing an overturned metal desk. Here they hand clap, play the bongos, dance, interact with the audience and look quite extroverted, something for everyone?
So the music is superb, the artistry is inescapable, and the presentation is? Pretty good actually, the stage is mostly flat with terraces for groups of performers, the uppermost and rearmost one reserved for the backing band. Yes, there are some electronic keyboards, guitars, and a very capable drummer backing the main band. The stage lighting is mostly monochromatic blue or red, with mostly sound synchronized motion. At times there are background visuals like butterflies or fish (the live fish I believe are projected on a muslin see thru screen stretched in front of the stage). Live fish being what they are did not swim synchronized with the music and so some of the harmony of sounds and visuals was lessened somewhat.
There are bound to be comparisons with "Bond live at Royal Albert Hall". Both are semi classical music, both are "girl" groups, but the presentation could not have been more different. One is classical Eastern, one classical Western. One is over-produced, while the other is under-produced (makes you feel like as if you are at the forefront of a cultural discovery though). In case you want to try an interesting experiment, consider that both Bond and 12 Girls cover the same song number "Victory" on their respective DVDs, Girls on track 11, while Bond does it on their track 12 and their Grand Finale. BOTH are fun, just different. Enjoy them both. I keep wondering what a mixture of "Renaissance", "Rick Wakeman", "Yes" and "Emerson Lake and Palmer" may have looked like when updated and performed by 12 Girls. This was pure unadulterated fun.
And finally, some technical notes. I have seen both the Japanese and the Hong Kong version of the "Miracle" DVD. The Hong Kong version is by far the better of the two. It has a 2 track digital stream, a 5.1 Dolby Digital track and a 5.1/6.1 DTS sound track. I have never heard DTS sound so pronouncedly better than Dolby Digital. The 2-track DVD audio only, on the Japanese DVD has a lot of audience noise and talking in the right channel. The Hong Kong (Universal) disk also contains the Bonus track "Freedom" music video. The music video is poor quality video transfer though. The wide screen main program video quality is better, but still not top notch. For now, I am willing to overlook this, as the subject matter is THAT good.