"MTV's Alice in Chains Unplugged will always stand as a testament to how great this band was, and having viewed it recently for the first time in years, I almost forgot how heart wrenching it was. From the beginning of the concert, you can plainly see that Layne Staley is high, even as the rest of the band jokes around and plays it off, it still comes off as tragic, but that didn't stop Layne from delivering a booming vocal performance. This Unplugged session was undoubtadly one of, if not the, best Unplugged's that MTV has ever put together. The rest of the band, including Jerry Cantrell, Sean Kinney, Mike Inez, and special guest Scott Olsen, is unbelieveably tight knit. The set list is just about perfect (except there are no songs from "Facelift") including renditions of "Got Me Wrong", "Would?", "Rooster", "Frogs", "Heaven Beside You", "Nutshell", and "Brother", but the best here are the heart wrenching "Sludge Factory", "Angry Chair" (both of which Layne messes up, even though with "Sludge Factory" it is kind of humerous), and "Down in a Hole" and "Over Now" are enarly impossible not to draw a tear over. All in all, this is an absolute must have for any and every Alice in Chains fan. This is music with real emotion and soul; take that Staind."
Alice in Pain, so powerful and beautiful, it's amazing
cd-heaven | ROCK CITY | 01/15/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I do not need to even get into details. This DVD performance is so important to the Alice in Chains legacy. Also, it is perhaps the most meanful MTV Unplugged release of them all. Layne is at his tormented best, so deep in pain, you get chills just hearing him sing. Oh so sad, but yet he makes it sound so sweet and beautiful. Jerry is just equal to Layne, never adding too much nor taking much away. Layne and Jerry I think are the last great dou to emerge from the whole 90's rock explosion. Get this DVD, all you need to do is love music, not even be a fan of AIC's, just love music. Put this DVD in your player, push play, then close your eyes. Let me know how you feel afterwards."
Sensitivhitler1 | Buffalo area, NY USA | 12/11/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After singing the wrong lyrics during the 4th song on the DVD, Sludge Factory, Layne Staley asks the crowd, "What's my motivation here?" Indeed, Layne may have lacked the motivation to fully prepare for the performance, since he was overly reliant on the lyric sheets throughout. Guitarist Jerry Cantrell also seemed a little apprehensive throughout about Staley's ability to perform; he was, after all, beginning to show the symptoms of heroin abuse that AIC's music had foreshadowed. (Check out Cantrell's nervous glances at the beginning of Angry Chair, the one song in which Staley played the guitar in addition to singing...Jerry's so preoccupied with Layne that he almost forgets to start singing). Layne proved, however, that no matter how much havoc heroin can wreak on memory, motivation, and ultimately the ability to sustain life, some things are too powerful to be compromised by any substances. Staley's voice and the beauiful acoustic music he and the rest of Alice In Chains created here are examples of such things. Nutshell is one of my favorite AIC songs, and that was a great way to open. You realize that the lyric "If I can't be my own...I'd feel better dead" isn't much of an exaggeration. Nutshell is followed by Brother, a song that has maybe the most memorable 10 seconds of the entire show when the music stops completely, leaving just Staley and Cantrell to sing the mournful lyrics in harmony. After Brother, Layne greets the crowd, then says "this song is called No Excuses," as if the people there wouldn't be able to recognize one of their biggest hits. After No Excuses, Layne seems to be intensely focused on the lyric sheet while the rest of the band takes a short break. We know why once Layne breaks off Sludge Factory, leading to some humorous banter. Once the band re-loads, Sludge Factory is executed to perfection; Layne compensates for his initial gaffe by singing with some added emotion. The 5th song, Down In A Hole, was possibly the best performance of the set. Just awesome. They seem to hit their stride, and the rest of the show is almost a blur afterwards. One great song after another, a 6-song succession of hits, culminating with their masterpiece, Would. Would rivals Down In A Hole for best in the set; it's an extremely tough choice. The 3 songs after Would seem a little anti-climactic (Frogs, Over Now, and Killer is Me, the last of which was new and surprisingly good).
We live in a time where it is en vogue to praise someone for giving 110 percent. I've always been more of a proponent of "hard work is for those short on talent"; I'd say Alice would agree with the latter statement as well. Save hyperbole for those rare times that it actually applies, such as this show, which undoubtedly deserves 6 stars out of 5."
Possibly the greatest performance ever...
B. Williams | Iowa United States | 04/08/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Being a casual fan of Alice in Chains and a major fan of grunge, I bought this DVD on a bit of a whim, not really knowing what to expect. Let me just tell you I was blown away.Listening to their other songs, I can say that the unplugged renditions they give here are their best ever. For all their musical talent, some of their production sometimes seemed to be lacking, with either the vocals or instruments being drowned out. In this performance, everything seems to blend together so perfectly it seems odd to hear the non-acoustic versions of these songs.If you were thinking about getting one of their CDs, I suggest you try this DVD first. Skip the CD version of this album, because actually seeing them perform completely changes the experience. Now, 2 years after the death of Layne Staley, this beautiful music is more important than ever."
Probably the most talented grunge band there ever was
Colin | Omaha, NE | 12/04/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you have a DVD player and you like rock music, I recommend this DVD. If you have a Dolby Digital 5.1 system, go buy it right now! Regardless of where your musical interests lie, you'll enjoy this disc. My mom, who would normally despise the music of a band like AIC, actually digged this concert! I was visiting home one day and popped it in the player. The second she heard it, she was hooked! Even my dad, who is a classically trained violinist and usually pretty skeptical about any form of pop or modern rock music, enjoyed it. And, of course, if you're already an Alice in Chains fan, it's a no brainer. It's not a flawless performance (Layne may be slightly out of tune or Jerry might hit a wrong note every once in a while), but believe me - you won't be disappointed."