Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Jon Anderson Tour of the Universe|
Actor: Jon Anderson
Director: Robert Garofalo
Genres: Music Video & Concerts
Good new music by Jon Anderson...hurt by commercial interrup
Jeffery K. Matheus | Indianapolis, IN United States | 09/28/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Being a major Yes fan for almost my whole life, and having never seen a Jon Anderson solo show, I was very much looking forward to this DVD - a performance originally recorded for XM Radio. I hoped that this DVD would capture the essense of what one of Jon's intimate "Solo Work in Progress" shows was like for those who attended. Unfortunately, the producers had other ideas. What we get instead is part live performance, part pre-recorded music, part XM infomercial, and part visual experiment. As it is, you don't see too much straight-forward footage of Jon performing his songs. Every piece is given an elaborate visual presentation, some with special effects, animation, staged scenes with actors, nature photography, time-lapse video, etc. Actually, the whole directing style seems to go overboard with abrupt jump cuts and erratic changes of style. On occasion the visuals are nice, but more often they are distracting and seem to have little to do with the songs...And even worse?...the commercial interuptions!!!!...Yes, I had read about them in previous reviews, but I was holding out hope that either the early reviews were exaggerating, or that the offending adverts would be cut from the finished product. As it is, the commercial breaks are still there, and quite annoying! They appear between songs, and in at least one or two instances, appear DURING songs! (check out the DJ's voice speaking over the instrumental break of "Bring of the Day". He says "Fine Tuning, the World's most interesting music" - this is an overt plug for an XM show called "Fine Tuning".) Also, with the choppy way that this show is edited, it is nearly impossible to forward over the commericals without also missing bits & pieces of Jon's songs. I personally find the commercial breaks (as well as a few "infomercial"-like segments where an unpleasent XM spokesman rants about the "mediocrity" of other radio stations and the superiority of XM) to be completely unacceptable, even insulting. People tolerate commercials on TV because the shows are presented to them free of charge. But this is a DVD that Jon Anderson's fans are PAYING good money for! Many folks (me included) buy/rent home video SPECIFICALLY because they do not care to have their movies/shows/concerts interrupted...What's next? Beer commercials during Yes albums???...Now that I've got that off my chest, let's move on the one and only reason to buy this DVD, Jon's music!...Almost all of these pieces presented here (aside from a couple Yes/Jon & Vangelis/solo classics) are previously-unreleased Anderson songs, and only available on this DVD . As far as I'm concerned, these new songs pretty well steal the show anyway - even if most are on the short side. One standout is "Harmony", an etheral/haunting piece that will appeal to fans of Jon's new age music (I also think it would make a nice intro for a Yes song..are you listening, Jon? : ) Other favorites include "Father Sky"/"Standing Still"/"Bring on the Day" (a trio of folk-ish tunes that segue into each other, and are flavored with some subtle electronic sounds), "White Buffalo" (a folksy piece that shows Jon's interest in Native American culture. Yes diehards will notice snatches of "Footprints"/"My Eyes" incorperated into the melody), and lastly, "This Is" (an upbeat spiritual song that that would not be out of place at a interfaith service, with its lyrical references to different World religions.) As for the Yes tracks covered, the ones I like best are those performed simply with acoustic guitar and Jon's voice (namely "No Sommes Du Soleil", "And You and I", Your Move".) In this bare form, we get an insight into what these songs probably sounded like the day that Jon wrote them. On the other hand, the melodies & chord structures of "The Revealing" & "Your is No Disgrace" are so different from their popular versions that, were it not for the familar lyrics, they would likely be unrecognizable. Yet another Yes song, "Show Me" (recently included on the "Songs From Tsongas" DVD) features a pre-recorded piano part from Rick Wakeman, and an excellent vocal from Jon. In fact, Jon's voice is in prime form throughout the DVD, and I continue to be blown away by what an amazing, one-of-a-kind instrument he posesses. Now, as much has already been said in previous reviews about the lectures & spititual content found here, I guess I should weigh in, too...Although I myself am a Christian (or 'follower of Jesus', as I prefer), I always try to be respectful of other faiths. I sincerely believe that all the major World religions have elements of truth, and can produce good, loving, moral people. However, even I was a little taken aback by Anderson's unconventional spirituality. At one point Jon speaks of "extraterrestrial energy" in an unidentifiable dialect (we see English subtitles.) At another point he talks of his fascination with "the Golden Mean", a metaphysical concept that Jon describes as "the gateway to all interdimentional reality". There are also two lengthy lectures about the Golden Mean (neither by Jon) which can be found among the special features. While I hate to make light of anyone's sincere faith journey, perhaps all this exlains why Rick Wakeman once said of Jon, "He is the only person working to save this planet, who is not actually FROM this planet" : ) ...In closing, I am rating this DVD at 3 stars, solely for the talents and creativty of Mr. Anderson. But I must subtract other stars because of the choppy/haphazzard production style. The commercial jinglers and XM executives get zero stars for showing so little respect to a true artist and his fans."
Great Music -- Too Much B.S.
J. Brown | Grand Junction, CO USA | 07/29/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I heard the original XM radio broadcast of this concert and had high expectations for this DVD release. This is some of the best music I've ever heard from Jon Anderson... majestic, insightful, spiritual.
Unfortunately, this DVD contains promotional audio spots for XM radio between almost every song (sometimes DURING the song). I paid for this DVD to hear Jon's music, not to listen to some pointy-haired executive talk OVER Jon's music about how great satellite radio is.
Much effort went into the visuals accompanying the music. Occasionally they are quite appealing, other times just cheesy.
This DVD is very much worth watching, especially if you haven't heard Jon's new music. But personally, I'd prefer a disc of just the concert, without all the BS."
SOLO TOUR OF THE XM RADIO INFOMERCIAL
Michael E. Conlin | CHICAGO | 11/30/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"THERE IS NO QUESTION THAT ALL YES FANS WILL ENJOY THIS DISK. AS YOU KNOW IT IS PEPPERED WITH XM RADIO EXPLOITS. AS TO THE MUSIC PURE UPLIFTING JON ANDERSON. I SAW HIM LAST WEEK AT THE HOUSE OF BLUES IN CHICAGO. PURE MAGIC. BUT AS HE EVEN SAID THAT NIGHT TOUGH TO GET A CONTRACT, SO WE HAVE TO GET XM PLUGS TO HEAR A LITTLE ANDERSON, OH WELL."
Buy it for the Audio
Kevin Caffrey | Fredericksburg, VA | 11/23/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD is a rather strange beast. For some reason, it is NOT simply a full-length live performance from Jon Anderson's solo shows from 2004. Instead, performance footage is mixed with nonstop plugs for XM Satellite Radio, as well as rather cheesy graphics. Sometimes the graphics work, but more often, it just looks like some high school/college AV student fooling around and trying out different graphics. There are no extra features of note, and as a "DVD" -- I'd probably rate it 1 1/2 stars. Now, the one redeeming feature of the DVD is that you can just choose to listen to the audio of the songs (from new songs like "Harmony" to Yes classics done simply by Jon on acoustic guitar or piano to Jon & Vangelis songs)--which is great since these versions aren't available on CD. The lyrics are also displayed as the audio plays. So, if you are looking just to "listen" to Jon's work from his solo tours--this is fine. If you're looking for a captivating DVD live performance, this is not it."