Search - Seen the Lights - A Visual History on DVD

Seen the Lights - A Visual History
Seen the Lights - A Visual History
Actor: Simple Minds
Genres: Music Video & Concerts
NR     2003     4hr 20min

This debut DVD from Simple Minds collects material from both their critical and commercial prime, including 26 promo videos, featuring their best video performances along with unseen footage from their acclaimed 1982 Newca...  more »


Larger Image

Movie Details

Actor: Simple Minds
Genres: Music Video & Concerts
Sub-Genres: Pop, Rock & Roll
Studio: EMI Import
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 12/02/2003
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 4hr 20min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
Edition: Import
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

Similar Movies


Movie Reviews

Good, bad and the ugly
Craig F. Dominey | Atlanta, GA USA | 02/09/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Chances are if you've made it to this review, you're already a fan of Simple Minds and need no convincing that they are much more than the band that recorded "that song" for a John Hughes movie. You also probably fall into one of three camps when it comes to the Minds - either you're a fan of all their work, you think their most creative period ended with NEW GOLD DREAM before they really hit it big, or you think their pre-NEW GOLD DREAM work is too weird and experimental.Me, I fall into the second camp, though they have really made a comeback in recent years with their highly underrated CD CRY, and the as-yet-unreleased OUR SECRETS ARE THE SAME. But the great thing about this DVD is that it really has something for every fan, offering not only their entire (well, almost) collection of promo videos, but remastered live footage and early TV performances. I'm astounded that their record label compiled this vast collection, as they seemed to have given up on promoting their work long ago. Even though this has not been released in the United States, it is well worth ordering from Canada or other sources. You really get a lot of bang for your buck.Disc One contains nearly all the Simple Minds promo videos. And it unintentionally shows what happens when an artsy band is thrust into the commercial spotlight, and all the trappings that follow. The same thing has happened in recent years to Radiohead, and they became even more inaccessible as a reaction to fame. The Minds took the opposite course, which, at least in sales, became their downfall.The videos begin with the singles from SONS AND FASCINATION, and up through the SPARKLE IN THE RAIN period showcase a band - and their hired directors - struggling to make sense of the new medium of music video, with hilarious results. Chances are the visuals you had in your head when hearing these songs are definitely not what made it to the screen. The most hilarious videos are "Love Song," where the band struts into a stuffy Glasgow dance club and fights with the patrons, and "Glittering Prize," where the band performs in a room covered in gold tin foil, and Jim Kerr ends up in a sarcophagus! Although silly and naive, these videos are much more enjoyable to me than the mega-budget, CGI-filled productions that you see today. Maybe I'm just getting old!Then comes our favorite "la-la-la-la" song, followed by ONCE UPON A TIME. Now the Minds were backed by major label funding, and still didn't really know what to do with it. The videos from this period were truly bad, and the most laughable fashions from the 80s - military hats, pant legs tucked into boots, shoulder pads, white trench coats - begin to rear their ugly heads. Of course, fashions always look silly years later, but the Minds (or perhaps their costuming department) threw themselves so fully into the mid-80s fashion closet that it instantly put an expiration date on their work, at least visually.After a long hiatus, the Minds returned with STREET FIGHTING YEARS, and the videos, like the album itself, showcased a stadium rock band taking themselves way too seriously, jumping on the U2/Sting/Peter Gabriel charity-rock bandwagon. They simply weren't meant to be sincere stadium rockers, and it shows. So most of the videos from this period through REAL LIFE are basically the same cliché'-ridden concert videos that were so inescapable at the time, with lots of lighter and flag waving, hands in the air, Jim Kerr shaking sweat off his brow a la Ozzy Osbourne. It says something that their video for "Mandela Day," a tribute to the then-imprisoned leader, features mostly footage of the band performing before adoring, Simple Minds flag-waving fans at Wembley. Only "See The Lights" from the REAL LIFE album - one of their prettier songs - really stands out from this era, beautifully shot in black and white in the Scottish Highlands.The Minds never recovered commercially from this period, with GOOD NEWS FROM THE NEXT WORLD basically rehashing the bombastic production from the 80s - in the mid-90s! - while NEAPOLIS, though a good try, just seemed too much like their answer to U2's POP. The video collection ends with the title track from CRY, a weird piece where mimes take the place of the band. Unfortunately this was the worst song on an otherwise great album, and ends the video collection on a down note.But then the live tracks kick in, and this is where the DVD really shines. Disc One contains performances from the Old Grey Whistle Test TV show, which I'm sure many fans have never seen before. Now we finally hear songs from LIFE IN A DAY, REEL TO REAL CACOPHONY and EMPIRES AND DANCE, performed by a shockingly young and awkward band, obviously influenced by Roxy Music but beginning to find their own voice. It's hard to believe this is the same band that would fill stadiums years later. But their sound from this era has not aged that badly, and is the distant cousin of what Radiohead and others would be producing in recent years.The second DVD contains the "Verona" concert video, beautifully remastered. Unfortunately, "Verona" was taken from the STREET FIGHTING YEARS tour, which means it's as self-important and bombastic as the album itself. But the older songs are still great, especially pumping through a surround sound system.They saved the best for last, as we suddenly shift back in time again for a Newcastle gig from the NEW GOLD DREAM tour. This concert set really shows the band at the height of its powers, touring behind what was arguably their greatest album - just an awesome performance.So while the promo videos are interesting and at times humorous to watch, it is the live footage that really makes this set worthwhile. And since this is probably the only video collection we're going to get, then it makes the very reasonable price tag even more attractive."
Glittering Prize.
Jason Stein | San Diego, CA United States | 02/03/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Simple Minds were never a visual band. They were more about the music they played and playing live. Jim Kerr was hypnotic but not as creative as Peter Gabriel or David Bowie in his stage act. What you get on "Seen The Lights" is two discs worth of videos and live concert footage plus some dvd-rom extras.I suspect if God had a band in heaven it would sound like Simple Minds. They were, and still are, extremely capable of combining electronic, rock and punk into one penultimate cacaphony of beautiful sound. Often unfairly compared to U2, Simple Minds have established their own sound and niche in the pop/rock music pantheon.Disc One: The Videos. You get 26 videos ranging from 1981's "Love Song" from the "Sons and Fascination" album all the way up to 2001's "Cry" from their last album "Cry". As I stated before, Simple Minds were not a video band, although I did enjoy seeing "Alive and Kicking" and "All The Things She Said" again. At the end of disc one you get five performances from a show called "The Old Grey Whistle Test" and one performance from the Oxford Road Show. The staged performances give you some insight into the band when they were just starting out in 1979. They would of course go on to better things! All of disc one is digitally remastered in 2.0 stereo and sounds great! Here is the track list for disc one:1. Love Song
2. Sweat in Bullet
3. Promised You a Miracle
4. Glittering Prize
5. Waterfront
6. Speed Your Love To Me
7. Up On The Catwalk
8. Don't You (Forget About Me)
9. Alive & Kicking
10. Sanctify Yourself
11. All The Things She Said
12. Ghostdancing
13. Belfast Child
14. Mandela Day
15. This Is Your Land
16. Kick It In
17. Let It All Come Down
18. Let There Be Love
19. See The Lights
20. Stand By Love
21. Real Life
22. She's A River
23. Hypnotised
24. Glitterball
25. War Babies
26. CryThe Old Grey Whistle Test:27. Life In A Day (3/27/79)
28. Chelsea Girl (3/27/79)
29. Factory (11/27/79)
30. Changeling (11/27/79)
31. Premonition (5/27/82)Oxford Road Show:32. I Travel (1/21/83)Disc Two: Here you have Simple Minds live in Verona, Italy from 9/14-15/89. The sound was digitally remastered in 5.1 and is fantastic! The show predominantly features music from "Sparkle In The Rain", "Once Upon a Time" and "Street Fighting Years". At the end of the disc, for those Minds fans that wanted earlier live footage, you get a mini-concert titled Late Night In Concert from 11/20/82 featuring music from "New Gold Dream". The dvd-rom section rounds out the disc with two weblinks, a discography, one screen saver and three wallpapers. Here is the track list for disc two:Verona--Live (9/14-15/89):1. Theme For Great Cities '90 Remix
2. Street Fighting Years
3. Let It All Come Down
4. Mandela Day
5. Waterfront
6. This Is Your Land
7. Don't You (Forget About Me)
8. Gaelic Melody
9. Kick It In
10. Ghostdancing
11. Belfast Child12. Sanctify Yourself
13. East At Easter
14. Alive and Kicking
15. Let It All Come Down (credits)Late Night In Concert (11/20/82):16. Hunter and the Hunted
17. Glittering Prize
18. Someone, Somewhere (In Summertime)
19. The American
20. Big Sleep
21. New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84)All in all, a complete collection of everything Simple Minds, but I give it four stars because they were not a visual band, they were more about the music. Also, the videos could have been remastered in 5.1 as Eurythmics and The Police have already done. I got my copy from Canada, but the back of the box states it's region free. There's approximately 4 hours and 20 minutes worth of material on this compilation. If you're a Simple Minds fan, or just interested in learning more about the band, this is a great place to start."
Career comp the way it SHOULD be done -- but so bittersweet!
Vorthog | Ontario, Canada | 05/23/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"As the band that recorded my #1 favourite album of all time (Sons and Fascination/Sister Feelings Call), Simple Minds hold a very, very special place in my heart. Along with their albums "Empires and Dance: and "New Gold Dream", these 3 albums represent for me some of the most amazing, unforgettable music ever recorded, and I have continued to listen to and love these songs all these years. Thus this career compilation DVD was a kind of dream come true for me.But as another reviewer has noted, fans of this band seem to be very clearly split into 2 groups: those that love their music up to their 1985 commercial breakthrough with "Don't You Forget About Me", and those that are fans of what came after. I most definitely belong to the former group. Although I still loved "Alive and Kicking", "All the Things She Said" was about their last decent song for me, (EDIT: OK, I did like "Let There Be Love") and after that point I became so disillusioned by everything I saw and heard from them that I totally lost interest and let them slowly disappear off my radar screen. Years later, I was quite excited to hear Simple Minds were back with a new song. But when I saw the video for "She's a River" I was like "WHAT is this?? -- Simple Minds trying hard to fit into the grunge age?" There seemed to be no vestige remaining of the innovative and risk-taking electronic-influenced sound I had so loved. After that I never heard of them again and assumed that the group must finally have bitten the dust. Now with this compilation, I have learned that in fact they have been together all these years, quietly putting out music. Going through all the loads of material here has been a welcome but bittersweet experience.Looking over their whole career, it seems as if Jim Kerr has had 4 very distinct singing styles. The first phase spanning their first two albums is represented here by rare 1979 footage from British TV and a New York club gig. I am not a fan of the group at this point, as I always found his voice here to be an annoying whine.Next we have my favourite phase, when his voice changed to a deep and mysterious throaty echo. From this period, we have not only the videos from my favourite 3 albums, but also TV footage of "I Travel" and the most precious thing in this entire DVD set for me, an all too brief but mind-blowingly good 6-song concert performance from Newcastle City Hall in 1982.I see a foreshadowing of his next vocal style already at the end of "Speed Your Love to Me" (--"You go to my HEAD~!"). But he didn't really move into this 3rd style until after they shot to fame, when his singing very abruptly changed to what I can only describe as an "over the top" exuberance which reminds me of Bono and even at times (yuck!) Bruce Springsteen. It is from this period that the bulk of material on here comes, including Disc 2's beautifully-shot concert, "Verona". Watching "Verona" brought a pang of regret, as I wished such a thorough and polished portrait of them could have been made earlier in their career when they were at their ground-breaking best. Out of the 14 songs played, I only like 3 ("Waterfront", Don't You Forget About Me", "Alive and Kicking"). Watching the band in their "rock star" uniform jeans and t-shirts doing all the traditional "rock star" moves and playing such incredibly hackneyed licks is actually painful, and makes me wonder anew just how much of the genius of those albums I so love is Simple Minds, and how much is due to producers such as Steve Hillage. It is almost inconceivable that a band can so change and deteriorate in such a brief few years. My most hated songs of all, "Belfast Child" and "Mandela Day", showcase the band at their most overblown, pompous and pretentious stadium-rocker worst. Yech!! (*spits*)Next we enter the 4th and latest phase of Kerr's singing. Someone must have told him "tone it DOWN, buddy", so he went to the other extreme and began singing in a very weak, subdued and quiet voice, which continues through their 90s songs to the present day. Out of these most recent songs, only one stands out for me here. Actually I think it is the video for "Glitterball" that I like more than the song itself. Whoever made this video for them seems to have really understood and appreciated the kind of urban, futurist, nocturnal feel that once made them great, and this atmosphere permeates it. But unfortunately Kerr's vocals are just too weak now to really make it work. Listening to this, oh how I wish he could return to his truly GLORIOUS voice of the early 80s!With their most recent video, "Cry", I find myself unable to connect with where the band is coming from with either the song or video. Sadly, one of my absolute favourite bands of all time seems lost in the wilderness. I feel like yelling to them, "Don't break up. Just come back to where you belong. Remember what once made you great."Despite the fact that I can't stand some of the material on here, I am still very, very glad to have such a complete record of the whole (sad) story. I only wonder if there were never any Top of the Pops appearances by them? I am happy to give this set my highest recommendation for fans both old and new. All bands should be as lucky to have as thorough a compilation as this. Very well done!"
Five stars are not enough for this magnificent set!
H. Yu | 02/09/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Finally, after all these years, we get a dream come true! I won't go into the details of this spectacular double-DVD set except that if you are a hardcore Simple Minds fan (like I am), you should definitely buy this. You can't go wrong with 26 promo music videos and a full live concert!"