Not bad but could've been better, in particular the DVD
Paul Allaer | Cincinnati | 11/16/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"CD: 4.5 stars; DVD: 3.5 stars
At the conclusion of the ennormously successful "American Idiot" tour, Green Day now releases it's first full-length live album. To entice fans even more, this comes as a CD/DVD combo package.
First the CD: "Bullit in a Bible" (14 tracks, 65 min.) is evenly divided between 7 A.I. tracks and 7 selections from the past. The band sounds really tight and arena-sized, and the sound quality of the CD is outstanding. Favorite tracks for me include "Holiday", "Longview", "Brain Stew", "Basket Case", and "Wake Me Up When September Ends". At 65 min., why didn't they squeeze in two or three more songs, but in the end this is a very enjoyable performance. The DVD is another story altogether (the tracklist of the DVD is listed above in the Amazon listing). Two major complaints: rather than having the show in one section and the interviews with the band in another section, they are all intermixed, severely testing the continuity of the show. Even worse is the incessant editing of the show: the picture shifts to another angle just about every few seconds. I know this is the MTV age of short attention spans, but come on! After a while, it becomes quite annoying. Too bad, as Green Day is clearly at the top if its game musically.
In all, this is certainly not a "bad" CD/DVD combo, but it could've been even better and I know that I will not be playing the DVD all that much. But I'm glad to have the CD in my carousel!"
Is There A Better Live Band Still Touring Today? Probably, B
Andrew Estes | Maine | 11/29/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"You had to figure that Green Day couldn't let their biggest year, 2005, pass by without some sort of celebration. Their great come-back album, 2004's "American Idiot" was not only massively successful and dominant over the radio, but was easily the most interesting and inspiring piece of music to come out of that year as well. So, in comes "Bullet In A Bible," a DVD/CD set that covers Green Day's biggest show to date, a two-day concert at the National Bowl in Milton Keynes where they played to over 130,000 English fans.
The concert/documentary runs at about two-hours long, and spliced in between each song are interviews and behind the scenes footage that document Green Day's rise back to the top and the nervousness that comes with playing to such a large crowd. As far as the performance, the boys are on top of their game. I saw them back in April, and let me tell you: it was the best concert I have ever been to, and I have a hard time imagining any concert I go to in the future being that good. They play roughly the same set that they did for the U.S. "American Idiot" tour, with a few differences. One noticeable omission is their popular cover of Queen's "We Are The Champions." "She," "Maria" and "Knowledge," the song where they bring fans onstage to play, are also missing as well. But what is here is superb. The band blows through nearly the first half of the "American Idiot" album, saving "Boulevard Of Broken Dreams" for the encore, and then gets into some choice older material such as "Longview" and "Minority." "King For A Day" is fused with a cover of "Shout," which is just brilliant (although Billie skips the floor-humping here that he did for us). The final song, "Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)" has Billie Joe going solo with an electric guitar and freshening up a song that got played to death in it's day. It was worth buying this set just to have that version on the audio-CD that is included.
My only gripe with this performance/documentary is Samuel Bayer's direction. I love his videos, especially all he's done for Green Day, but he overdoes it with his direction for the concert. The cameras dart around way to fast, and he inserts so many unneccessary and distracting effects. He complicates something that should have been fairly simple and straight-forward: letting the viewer watch one of the best acts of our generation. But the fact remains, this is Green Day at their best. This concert is a monster, and they pack so much energy into each song, it's hard not to be moved. I was a little disappointed that more "American Idiot" stuff (i.e. Music videos, making-of) wasn't included, but I'm sure that stuff'll surface one day."
Green Day ----- Bullet In A Bible (DVD)
David Foskin | Waterford, Ireland | 01/03/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Note: I received the Bullet in a Bible DVD, but not the live CD that accompanies it for review. The CD is the band's entire live performance of twenty songs. This review pertains strictly to the 115-minute DVD.
One of the band members asks a rhetorical question during some of the backstage footage, and it pretty well sums up the world's view of Green Day. "Why are there no clouds in the sky?" he asks. "Because God
wants to watch his favorite band again." Bullet in a Bible is quite possibly the thing that Green Day fans across the planet have been waiting sixteen years for. Here we have a band that has been around longer than many of their fans are old, and they're rocking even harder than they did way back when. Bullet is a look at Green Day's two performances in the Milton Keynes National Bowl in England on June 18th and 19th. They played to 130,000 fans in the two days, hailed as their biggest shows ever. The DVD covers the majority of the band's set and sprinkles in interviews with Billie Joe Armstrong (vocals, guitar), Mike Dirnt (bass), and Tré Cool (drums). The CD has the complete set, sans the interviews. It's a quite nice balance for any fan.
In the first half-hour of the DVD, the production is admittedly a bit annoying. With the camera switching, the viewer feels like he or she is in a state of sensory overload. They rotate between band members, helicopters, pit cameras, and even color versus black and white in a span of seconds. Luckily this irritating problem seems to remedy itself as the DVD continues-either that or one gets used to it.
For those wondering exactly how the DVD earned its name, there is an interview with the band at the Imperial War Museum. They walk through the museum, and one of the employees points out a Bible indeed with a bullet through it. This is one of a number of mini-features that divide up Bullet in a Bible and the bands song performances. Sometimes they're just simple interviews with the members about the upcoming song or the album or touring, and other times they're truly a behind-the-scenes look at Green Day. Drummer Tré Cool comes off as an utter goofball with his Mountie uniform and hat during the interview sessions, while Billie Joe is the focused, serious one. Mike Dirnt is most definitely the rose between two thorns. Tré, in one interview explains, "I can count to four and repeat. I'm a drummer." Armstrong later in the performance refers to him as "the best drummer in the history of rock `n roll." While these two statements are polar opposites on the exaggeration scale, he is one of my favorite drummers of all time. He's the real deal-talented, charismatic, and absolutely priceless.
The DVD has something for all walks of Green Day fans. Plenty of American Idiot finds its way into the setlist, but old favorites such as "Longview," "Basket Case," and "Minority" don't disappoint. In fact, in the years since the older songs came out, their live performance of them gives the songs a whole new life. No longer is Billie Joe Armstrong the fresh-faced kid singing about masturbation. He's the nearly middle-aged man singing about masturbation. That's the thing about Green Day; they transcend generations. During a featurette on the band's slightly nutty English fans, one mother tells the camera how her daughter grew up listening to the band because she's been a fan for so long. Their shows aren't just concerts; they're events.
Having seen one of the later dates on this tour when they came to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, I did have a bit of insight into their setlist and performance before watching Bullet in a Bible. Some might be disappointed to hear this, but Green Day choreographs 99.8 percent of their stage show, and their setlists are just about rock-solid. That means that at times the DVD comes off as overly theatrical if you've seen them on the American Idiot World Tour. What it does offer is a chance to see the band close up. You can watch the sweat pour from the band members' faces as they power through a roughly 90 minute set. You get to see Tré Cool's wacky facial expressions and drumstick tosses-all 100 or so of them. For those of us who didn't have front row seats, this was a fantastic opportunity to see them like never before.
I really enjoyed Bullet in a Bible; it's definitely a good way to spend some hard-earned cash, especially if you've never seen Green Day live. They're spectacular and just about flawless. If you can sit down and devote just under two hours to this DVD, it's worth picking up. Green Day has been around 16 years, and with performances like this, they should have no problem doing another 16.
This is not "American Idiot Live!", but it kicks ass!
Daniel Madrid | El Paso, TX via SF,CA | 11/17/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've read many complaints about the "missing six songs." In reality, who cares! BIAB is an attempt, and a damn good one, to capture Green Day's reflections on the AI CD and tour. In other words, it is a documentary. This is a snapshot of the band at this point in time. If you are, as many of you have put it, a "Real Green Day Fan," you what take this package for what it is.
As far as the CD/DVD, it's pretty damn good. You get Billie Joe's insight on many of AI's most important tracks and you get to see the rest of the band reflecting on recording, touring, familym life, etc. You must remember that when an artist/band release a CD or DVD, in the end, it is what they would like you to see or hear. It is also, in the artists opinion, the most important and entertaining stuff they could find. Many of these complaints sound a great deal like the anti-Dookie rabble that permeated the Bay Area once Green Day hit.
BIAB's production and sound quality are awesome. While a concert DVCD cannot reproduce the concert experience, this DVD gives the viewer a great sense of being at a big time rock show. It was nice to see that GD have seem to accept that they are no longer the San Francisco club band that they once were, and take up the mantle of social conscience. While bands like The Clash and U2 have never been shy about the importance of their music, GD have always been reluctant to, in a sense, grow up. Well, the guys have grown up and into on of the great American bands of their time.
So, to those of you who are ready to label Green Day as "Sell Outs," remember your history! This has happened once before to this band and they proved all of their detractors wrong. American Idiot is a great accomplishment for GD and for the american music scene. At a time when questioning the powers that be is extremely unpopular, Green Day not only question but criticize the current administration, and in the end they made a great CD. I think one day when all of the 19 & 20 year old Green Day fans have hit thirty-something like I have they will l;ook back with fondness on to the fall of 2004 when those guys that made "Dookie" finally grew up and really had something important to say. While many of us will forget about GWB, we'll probably still be sitting in our cars, driving to work singing "Don't wann be an American Idiot!" at the top of our lungs. Green Day reminded me that music can still be loud, abrasive and have a point. I saw The Clash on the Combat Rock tour and U2 on Joshua Tree and I am glad to see three punks from San Francisco stand on stage and raise their middle fingers at the small group of billionaires that run this country. I'm not ready to bury Green day just yet."