Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Getting back in touch
David Below | Ann Arbor, MI, USA | 12/26/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Being a huge fan of Level42 since the 80s, I welcome a video such as this. I'm very glad to see bassist/singer/leader Mark King carrying on the music with integrity. Each of the concert videos produced in the last 4 years (since Mark acquired the rights to the L42 name) have been healthy reprsentations on the entire L42 catalog.
It's true that this video is not the same lineup that was Level 42 at their peak fame and success. However, for all the misunderstood perceptions of Level 42 as a one-hit wonder band, this concert video (like all their others) does wonderful justice to their musical and playing ability. If you like very good bands that can play, with an overiding pop sensibility, this band/video is for you. Like Sting, Peter Gabriel...good music, performed with spectacular musicianship. Plus some good jamming. L42 music is not like Sting's and PG's, I'm saying you will get the same calibur of musicianship. If you are new to Level 42, and appreciate pop music with a foundation of funk, fusion and jazz elements in the playing, Level42 will be a nice surprise for you. (Don't let their only two U.S. hits "Something About You" or "Lessons In Love" persuade you this band is wimpy and can't play ferociously.)
Varying the setlists per their small tours enables true fans the chance to hear the more intense adventurous compositions of the band's early years, as well as the refined pop gems of later. And it keeps the band fresh and inspired. Thus, this video (like the recent Live at The Apollo from 2003) lets the band work through songs that Level 42 haven't played live in over 20 years.
But I must say, I have to disagree with the reviewer Mr. Osgood who believed that "the book should be closed" on Level 42. I feel his review was much more indicative of what he likes and not what the video/performance was. (Granted, the lighting was minimal, the venue small, and the audience sat most of the time. It did not take away from the band's ability or zest.)
His review said more about his tastes regarding L42 than it did the taste of the video. And I also disagree that they "limped through the titles." The band performed these songs as they are (and were) from the original lineups days. If anything, there's more player-performance from this drummer Gary Husband and Mark's brother Nathan on guitar than when the Gould brothers were in the band (for this batch of songs). The Gould's leaned even more to a subtle, nuanced groove playing style than the current lineup. I don't understand where Mr. Osgood is finding such fault.
If a fan is in it for the music (as should be), here's the music, being done it's justice by players who truly beleive in it. Would you rather L42 not do anything at all just because its not the original 4? Or would you like to hear the music, played live for you, by fellow fans of the music (i.e. the current lineup) who WANT to play it? For themselves AND you?
I'm simply glad Mark is taking the time to go out and play. If it was a lame, play-the-same-setlist-as-they-did-in-1987 arrangement, it would last 3 months and never happen again. Fans want the band to play, because they did it very well. If real fans support the band, and respectfully offer that support thru purchasing the products the band uses to keep the machine going, it allows the band more leeway to do what they want for the fans. Like, change the setlists around to pull out the hits AND the deep cuts for the diehards who like to watch the band play those challenging pieces.
Plus, if you would love to see the original lineup play together again, there has to be a tangible market out there to prove that the demand exists for this music. If we all give up on L42 the music because we get mad that we didn't get what we wanted some times, why would MIke Lindup and the Gould Brothers have any reason to make the effort to reform, write more music, and go on tour to play (for no one) if the word is spread that no one should care about them anymore?
If Mr. Osgood believes a "book should be closed" on L42, or ANY band for that matter, he should close the book just for himself. Don't fool others who might actualy like it to beleive your negativity so they lose/avoid a chance of discovering they might actually like Level 42. Don't get in their way. Spend your energy on sharing info with others regarding bands you DO like. That helps the world much more.
If L42 truly IS that bad now, people will figure it out for themselves in time. Mr. Osgood's help in steering them away is a needless waste of his time. If he feel's it is so bad now, why was it worth his time and effort to talk about it? Surely since it's so bad it will naturally be ignored and die since it's sustenance (i.e. fan support) will cease, thus causing Mark/Level42 to stop? Right? Then why interfere with that natural progression? By posting his negative review, it caused someone such as myself to come to L42's defense to tout their merits. Now this product is back to 50/50 for the Amazon surfer. It sucks/It's great. People get to decide. ( My review is genuine and honest.)
Good art survives."
Technically sound but emphasis on fusion more than pop
Vorthog | Ontario, Canada | 05/24/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Tracks:1. Hot Water
2. Love Games
3. Sooner Or Later
4. Why Are You Leaving?
5. Play Me
6. You Can't Blame Louis
7. I Want Eyes
8. The Sunbed Song
9. A Floating Life
11. Mr. Pink
12. The Sun Goes Down
13. Something About You
14. All Over You
15. Foundation And EmpireAfter a 6-year hiatus, Britain's Level 42 regrouped for this Dec. 2001 concert at Reading Concert Hall. While in the 80s they were cleverly marketed as part of the "New Wave", seeing them again after all these years I realize that we were had. What they actually are is one great jazz-fusion unit which managed to masterfully traverse the border line into pop, much as Steely Dan had been able to accomplish a decade earlier. But whatever label one may choose to slap on them the fact is that I like their music, with its characteristic twangy funky bass and bouncy beat. The focus in this DVD is entirely on the music, with all on-stage banter being cut out and the screen fading to black between songs. While this may be seen to eliminate distraction, I feel it also greatly removes the human touch from the concert, and I found myself wishing they had just left everything in.The concert hall reminds me of a church, and adds to the classy atmosphere of the band's music.As for the actual music in the concert itself, although I consider myself a fan and own one of the band's greatest hits extended mixes CDs, I found that I only recognized a few of the songs out of the 15 in this set. The emphasis here seems to be on the band's jazz-fusion side, and its forays into pop stardom are kept to a minimum. They are very proficient at the music they do play, and even the instrumental track here "Mr. Pink" is very hot and impressive. But somehow I found myself missing some of their more familiar hits which I so enjoyed listening to on CD, such as "Children Say", "The Chinese Way", "Running in the Family", and especially "Lessons in Love".I am happy that this DVD exists and that I own it, and especially at this price I found it to be an amazing bargain. But I feel that the song selection here may cause some disappointment to those who are just casual fans of their music. I cannot fault them for what is a technically perfect performance, but you should be prepared for and looking forward to a concert which clearly showcases their jazz-fusion side."